gel nail removal


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Nov 8, 2003
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Hi, can anyone tell me the best way to advise clients to remove their gel nails at home?

I had been telling them to buff the nails off gently using a very fine emery board, but I'm hearing complaints that the nails are thin and weak afterwards.

Is this because they are buffing onto the natural nail?

Is there a remover that dissolves gel nails?

I am using NSI Balance gel, but would change systems if there is an easier system to remove.

Thank you !
I would never advise any client to do a home removal ... they are not professionals, I am, that is why they come to me. A client does not know the first thing about removing enhancements safely ... You do that is why you did your training.

Removal is not something that any client should even attempt to do. And if by chance anyone is selling professional products to non-professionals in order to carry out home removals you are doing yourself as well as your industry a disservice. And you could be sued if something goes wrong. Think about it.

Practically any system is easier to remove than gel.
thanks for your reply, can I ask how you scale your charges for removal in comparison to a full set of nails?
well said Geeg - NO clients should ever be given professional products to use at home or told how to 'do it yourself' . As a professional you should be performing the soak-off treatment! Our country in many ways has become more like the US :shock: and clients are more aware of their rights - don't allow yourself to fall into the trap that may get you into big trouble over something that could OH-SO easily be avoided!! ;)
If doing a soak off service which includes a manicure, oil and buff, we charged 15-20 pounds (sorry my typewriter only has $$$ and €€€ signs).

If doing a 'soak 'n set' (that is a soak off followed by a full set) we only charged and extra 5 on top of the full set price BUT the soak off is in this case carried out at another table while the technician is finishing up another client so that no extra time is taken.
NO clients should ever be given professional products to use at home or told how to 'do it yourself' . As a professional you should be performing the soak-off treatment!

Hi Sam

I do agree with what you and Geeg say about only YOU the professional should perform the removal, but surely if a client is not prepared to pay you for this service and insists on doing it themselves, aren't we better to advise the correct procedure rather than sitting back, knowing full well they are just biting those blighters off, and in doing so buggering up their sweet little nail beds :?

Well good point Adele, but...........
How can we as Techs be sure that they do it correctly...........

A lot of clients come to me after they have done a home soak off, from previous Technicians work..............
Most suffer from nail trauma............

They get impatient when they soak and think it's ok just to pull the last bit of loose product off...............
Not nice as they are pulling a layer of nail of the nail plate, then they blame the system and say ........I don't want XYZ product on my nails as it's made my nails so weak..................
So I have the sad job to inform them.........Sorry not the systems fault, this is your own doing................

So I discourage it, tell them before they have enhancements, that if they want them removed, it will have to be done professionally, as I wont be responsible for any nail damage due to inproper removal...........
As for buffing of gels, well how many clients are good with a file on the non dominant hand ?????
Now you are talking severe nail damage, you can do just as much damage with a 180 grit as you can do with an e-file..................

So home soak, is a no no in my book.............
I would rather they come to me, sit in my salon at a clear space and soak off for free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Then come and book a course of manicure................

Just my thought
love Ruth xxxxxxx
I have taken on board all you have had to say and will MOST DEFINETALY insist that my clients come to the salon for the safe removal of their nails.
However coming to the salon for a "soak off" has been mentioned and so I'm wondering if I'm missing something? Is there something to soak off gels with???
Peppercorn Nails said:
but surely if a client is not prepared to pay you for this service and insists on doing it themselves, aren't we better to advise the correct procedure

No I don't think so. It would be better to describe what will happen to their nails if they remove them incorrectly themselves and to view a soak off (which should include a manicure) as a final treatment that will leave their nails healthy and moisturized instead of damaged and dehydrated and the client ultimately unhappy.

On my client record cards, the clients all sign, is the agreement to have their nails professionally removed if they wish to stop having their nails done. You might remind the client of this if it is on your cards. If is is not, then I would add it... then if there are any repercussions, you have the signed agreement the client made.
fidev said:
However coming to the salon for a "soak off" has been mentioned and so I'm wondering if I'm missing something? Is there something to soak off gels with???

Hi Fidev,

Some gels are soak-off and some are not.

If you contact NSI they will be able to tell you if the product is soak-off or not.

Good luck,

Hi Guys,

the Balance Gel is most definetaly not soak off, so I'll be looking to change to a gel system that can be soaked off.

Are any of you using gel at the moment that can be soaked off? If so can you let me know what it is?

Sorry for going on and on about this, but I'm a L&P kinda girl, (19 years and counting), this gel carry on is all new to me!

Thanks in advance, Fiona x
Just be aware that gels that are able to be soaked off, are not as strong as the ones that are not. You could have other problems that you don't want!!
I use Calgel which can be soaked off i find this very good but not very strong with a tip and overlay. Its much stronger sculpted.
I also use creative liquid and powder.
hope this helps
My first gel was Calgel too, but personally, I didn't like it, (for various reasons) I now use Akzentz which is a buff off gel.

When a client asks me about the services I offer - I tell them what systems I use, the difference in them, the difference in price etc, and stipulate they must come back to me for a removal, however, most of them already know they can soak off l&p ( I know they'll try to do it at home, so I do tell them to expect to be there for around 30-45mins - ppl tend to get impatient and start to pull them off, also lifting away umpteen layers of natural nail plate!!!!) - but gel isn't that popular around here, so they don't know as much about it.

I advise them that although they may of hear that some gels soak off, the specific type I use does not, and that they must come back to me for removal - I don't give anything away about how to remove it, because in the past I have found if you give the client a little knowledge they think they're an expert and try to do it themselves. Everything else I'm completely open about. But even in my relatively short time in this industry I've seen clients do sooooooooo much damage to their own nails - and it's always the product/technicians fault!!!!
I'm not going to lay my reputation on the line for that.

With regard to price. I'm £15 for L&P soak off (with recovery mani) and £20 for a gel buff off (again with recovery mani) - clients are made aware of this costing before the product id applied.
I find that if I compare nail procedures to hair procedures most clients can relate. I would say something like" well if you got highlights done at the hairdressers you wouldn't ask him or her how to remove them at home would you?" I don't think so. You'd make an appointment at the hairdressers and come back for a colour correction or whatever you wanted. And if you went to the drugstore and purchased a box colour and decided to do it yourself, well then, that's your choice. But no hairdresser would ever recommend that, would they.

I find it amazing that clients are willing and able to spend whatever it takes on their hair - cut, colour, highlights, perm, you name it. But they nickle and dime you on the nails. So I have no problem relating it back to their hair choices.
Hi Fidev,

I use Bio Sculpture Gel which is a soak off gel, the sculpted nails are quite strong. I also use creative L&P.
It is a really good comparison when you relate nails and hair and I agree completely that clients understand much better when you do this.

As for soak off gels vs. non-soak off gels vs liquid and powder etc.
All these types of materials have been measured and tested for breakage points in the lab - so I am not offering an opinion when I say that some are not as strong as others -- it has been measured and proven to be true.
I love the idea of comparing to hair services, because what you said is sooooo true!

I have now made out new consultation cards for gel nail application with an extra proviso, just above the signature, that the client understands that they must have their enhancements professionally removed!

Thanks so much for all the in-put on this, you have all given me lots to think about and lots of new onward and upward !!!!!!

Fiona x
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