Skip to main content

Stock photo

The question

How safe is it to get gel nails, considering the only way to remove them is with an acetone soak? Is this avoidable? Can I peel them off instead?

The answer

Can you avoid removing gel nails without acetone? Sure, if you wait until they grow out completely, although I doubt that anyone would want to go through that process. While acetone can dry your nails, the removal process, when conducted by a pro in a well-ventilated salon, is actually the least-damaging way to remove light-cured gel-polish manicures.

As for peeling, that's a no-no, says Melissa Forrest of Tips Nail Bar & Spa in Toronto. "It removes a thin layer of your nails and leaves them brittle," Forrest notes. Her preference is to use a soak-off gel such as OPI Axxium, which takes about 10 to 15 minutes; any drying can be remedied by using cuticle oil and hand moisturizer regularly, she adds. For an alternative to gel nails and acetone soaks, try Revlon's ColorStay Longwear Nail Enamel. While your mani won't last quite as long as gel nails will, the Revlon enamel can be taken off with regular polish remover.

Bahar Niramwalla is a celebrity makeup artist and beauty expert who has appeared on The Marilyn Denis Show on CTV. Have a beauty question? E-mail