UV Gel Manicures Proper Removal for Continued Nail Health

UV gel manicures are used to cosmetically beautify natural nails. These safe and useful salon services require proper application, maintenance and periodic removal, followed by reapplication of the nail coating. 

During the removal process, the goal of every nail technician should be to exercise great care and avoid techniques which may damage the natural nail. The purpose of this communication is to convey additional information that can help nail technicians minimize the potential for certain types of nail damage possibly associated with improper removal.  Clients expect that wearing UV gel manicure coatings will not damage their natural nails, therefore proper and careful removal is necessary to meet this expectation to ensure clients will continue to seek out these beneficial nail salon services.


To properly remove, UV gel manicure nail coatings are soaked in remover solvents that are typically acetone or blends of acetone and other solvents or additives.  Acetone is used because it is fast-acting and has a long history of safe use for this type of application. The nail technician’s goal in removing UV gel manicure nail coatings should be to allow the remover solvents to gently break the adhesive bonds that adhere the coating to the nail’s surface without causing any significant damage the natural nail. To achieve this goal, it is important to always avoid exerting force to remove the coating.  If the nail coating has not soaked in the recommended removal solvent for a sufficient period, it will be more difficult to remove.  Also, if the coating remains on the nail plate for longer than the manufacturer’s recommended time, it will become increasingly more difficult to remove because as the coating ages it becomes more resistant to solvents.


Forceful scraping or prying techniques, even with a wooden pusher, can dislodge many layers of nail cells to leave large numbers of tiny pits on the natural nail’s surface which collectively can give the appearance of surface “white spots” of varying size and shape.  Clients incorrectly assume that the UV gel manicure coating has damaged their nails and don’t realize this type of damage is related to improper application, maintenance and/or removal.  Soaking the natural nail for even a few minutes in any solvent, e.g. acetone or water will temporarily soften the nail plate surface, making it more susceptible to damage from any type of implement used to pry, push or force these coatings from the nail plate.  A good rule to remember is to treat the nail plate with extra care for 60 minutes after immersing in any liquid for more than 60 seconds.


Manufacturers provide removal instructions indicating how long a particular UV gel manicure coating should be soaked for proper removal, but such recommendations are the “minimum” soak time, not the “maximum” as is mistakenly interpreted by some nail technicians. These coatings often require additional soaking time to safely remove. Various factors affect removal time, e.g. thickness, composition and degree of cure. UV gel manicure coatings are more easily removed after a fresh application and become increasingly more difficult to remove as they continue to age (as the degree of cure increases). To read the rest of the brochure – click here.