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How to Remove Your Own Gel Polish (and Not Wreck Your Nails in the Process)

As much as we love treating ourselves to a good ol' gel manicure, we don't always like having to pay for two of them. (You know, the requisite manicure after the manicure just to remove the gel.) So for all you thrifty ladies out there, we took notes during our last salon appointment. These are the four definitive steps to removing gel nail polish at home.

What you need: A nail file, cotton balls (ones that you can pull apart), acetone nail polish remover, aluminum foil (cut into small squares) and a cuticle pusher.

Step 1: Take your file and lightly buff the top of each nail. This breaks up the outer layer of polish and allows the remover to seep in better.

Step 2: Pinch off a small amount of cotton and soak it in the remover. Place it over the entire nail and wrap your fingertip in aluminum foil to keep it in place. Repeat on each finger. Relax and let the magic happen for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 3: Slide the aluminum foil and cotton off one finger. The polish should be peeling up around the edges. (If not, wrap that baby up and let it soak longer.) Use your cuticle pusher to lightly lift off any remaining polish. It's OK to apply a little pressure, but try not to aggressively scrape the nail. Repeat on each finger.

Step 4: Once all your polish is off, take the file and gently buff away any final ridges left behind. Give your hands a good lather in the sink and finish up with a hydrating cuticle oil or heavy-duty hand lotion.

Voilà! A salon-worthy treatment without ever having to put on a bra.

RELATED: How to Make Your Gel Manicure Last for a Full Month

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