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How to Remove Rubber Base Gel Without Damage

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So, it’s been about 2 weeks and you are ready to remove your rubber base gel. But how do you remove your rubber base gel without damaging your natural nails? Below, I’ll break down the full process for removing your rubber base gel properly and common mistakes to avoid. Let’s dive in.

How to Remove Rubber Base Gel without Damage

How do You Get Rubber Gel Base Off without Damage?

The key to getting rubber base gel polish off is proper technique. You want to ensure that you are using products and tools that help the gel soften and lift off from your plate. Picking gel and rough removal is what leads to nail damage.

Can You Soak off Rubber Base Gel?

Yes, you can soak off rubber base coat. The key is to get a soak-off gel. If you get hard gel products, this will require e file removal which I don’t recommend using as a beginner(leave that to the nail techs for now). So make sure your rubber base mentions that it is either a soft gel or a soakable gel. A rubber base gel that I really like is from a brand called In.Hype from Amazon. See Here

Do You Have to do an Acetone Soak?

You don’t have to soak off your rubber base gel in acetone. There are different ways you can remove it. the 1st method is with nail drill removal. This is a more advanced technique. You take a nail drill and use it to remove your gel product. I wouldn’t recommend using nail drill as a beginner(let’s leave this to the nail salon). 

The 2nd method is doing something called an infill. You take a regular hand file and file your gel to the base(leave a thin layer of rubber base on your nails). You then prep your nails again and apply your rubber base gel again. This is especially good if you want to avoid overbuffing your nails week after week. Remember, too much buffing will thin out your nails. More Info on Buffing for Natural Nails.

How to Remove a Rubber Base Coat

When it’s time to remove your rubber base gel, here are the following steps I recommend to avoid damage.

1.Start off by using a 180 grit nail file to gently file off the top coat of the gel. Do this until your gel is no longer shiny, but has a matte finish. Doing this step makes it easier for pure acetone to soak through and soften your gel.

Note: Please don’t use a file of a grit less than 180. A grit of 100 would be way too rough for natural nails.

2.Soak cotton pads in 100% pure acetone and place it directly on your nails. You can secure it by wrapping each finger with aluminum foil or by using nail clips. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes to allow the acetone to break down the gel.

Note: You can also use a lint-free wipe. I wouldn’t recommend cotton balls though because the fuzzy material can get everywhere

3.After the soaking period, gently remove the softened gel by using a metal cuticle pusher. Be careful not to force or scrape too hard because this can damage your nail plate.

4.Finally, to restore moisture and nourishment to the surface of your nails, consider using cuticle oil or doing a nail oil soak. The nail oil soak recipe is here. Below is a list of my favorite cuticle oils from Amazon that will bring moisture back to your nail surface.



Bliss Kiss

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid

If you are removing a rubber base gel manicure for the first time, here are 5 common mistakes that I want you to avoid so you can have a smooth rubber gel removal process.

1.Using Regular Acetone Nail Polish Remover

Regular acetone nail polish remover will not soften your gel. If you use nail polish remover with acetone, you will be waiting all day to remove your rubber gel. It is incredibly important that you are using 100% pure acetone to remove your gel. This is the only thing that will remove your gel. A really great brand of pure acetone that I recommend is Pronto from Amazon. Check it out here.

2.Not Filing Off the Top Layer of Gel

If you just try to soak off your rubber gel without filing the shiny top layer off, your removal process will take a lot longer. Filing off the top layer breaks the gel seal(gel topcoats don’t allow water and liquid to pass through easily). This will make it a lot easier for acetone to soak through which will save you a ton of time in the removal process.

3.Not Applying Cuticle Oil at the End

This one is huge. When you soak your nails in acetone, it will really dry out your nails. If you don’t apply moisture to your nails or go straight in with gel again, you will have weak nails. That is why I highly recommend applying cuticle oil or doing a nail oil soak after your gel manicure. I also recommend not removing your gel and immediately reapplying after an acetone soak. This will keep your nails in good condition

4.Peeling Off Your Gel Polish

I know this can be tempting, but peeling off your gel will thin out the surface of the nail. When you pick your gel off, you will take layers of your nail with it. This can cause brittle nails over time. It’s always a good idea to remove your gel nail polish properly with filing and acetone. If you don’t believe me, check out what happened to my nails when I picked off my gel polish. Let’s just say my nail was chipped.

5. Using Hard Gel Polishes 

There are a ton of gel products on the market that serve different purposes. There are hard gel products for sculpting extensions and soft gel products like rubber base gel for strength. Before you buy and gel product, please make sure it says soft or soakable. That will allow you to remove your gel with acetone. A mistake you don’t want to make is accidentally getting a hard gel product. Hard gel products are not soakable. You would have to go to a nail tech and get it filed off. So please check your gel product descriptions before purchasing. A good soft rubber gel you can get from Amazon is from In.Hype


Can I use gel polish remover?

You may have seen these gel removers on Amazon. These are the products that claim they can burst your gel open. I have never used these before, and here is why I wouldn’t recommend that you use these products either. The ingredients in these burst gel polish removers include methylene chloride and methanol.

These ingredients are typically used to remove paint from buildings. So, they are pretty harsh. If you scroll through the reviews, you’ll notice people reporting a burning sensation when this product touches their skin. These products are not safe and I definitely don’t recommend using them. Your nail health is everything.

Can You Heat Acetone to speed up the process?

I would not recommend doing this(I’ve seen those acetone heaters on Amazon). Although heating your acetone will speed up the process, remember, that acetone is very flammable. This means that it can catch on fire pretty easily. Saving time is great, but not if it could result in a potential fire.

Can I Soak My Gel Nails in Water, Oil, and Dish Soap?

I would not recommend this method for removing gel polish. Remember, you need acetone to break down gel polish. Water and oil can not do this effectively. However, this is a method that is great for softening and removing glue on press-on nails. Adding, warm water, dish soap, and oil to your bowl and soaking your press-ons in it will help them lift from your nails. See Video Here

Why do Certain Gels Take Longer to Remove than Others?

Great question. This all depends on the brand of gel that you are using. I find cheaper gel products much harder to remove than high quality rubber base gel products.


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