So I returned to my salon Divine By Design after a nice break over Christmas & New Year, looking forward to catching up with my lovely clients. Now whether it was the excitement of some female company (my household consists of all males, I am not only in the minority for being Ginger, but also for being female!) or the indulgence of a little too much Baileys over the festive period, but I made a little Faux Pas with my first client…..
Now Lindsey had opted for a lovely Gel II manicure before Christmas in Poisoned Apple, which is a stunning sparkly, holo deep red. As it’s a glittery gel polish, I like to apply 2 layers of top coat to ensure that really perfect smooth finish. When Lindsey returned after New Year to have her Gel II removed and some more applied, I got a little preoccupied in catching up with her and forgot a supposedly crucial part of the removal process……..Eeeek!!!
Easy Gel II Removal, No Buffing?
The official guidelines for Gel II currently state that the nails should be buffed prior to application. However, myself and every nail tech I speak to who uses Gel II, confirm that they never buff the nails prior to application, and Gel II still lasts perfectly for up to 3 weeks (and sometimes longer!). The official guidelines for Gel II also state that during removal the top coat should be buffed off before soaking off the product. For me, the health and condition of the natural nails are always paramount during my appointments, so I never buff the nails before application, but I do for removal as I am only buffing the polish surface, not the natural nail.
This particular day though, I made a little mistake. :/ It was only as I was applying the last of my ProTipClips to Lindsey’s first hand that I realised I’d forgotten to buff off the top coat before I’d started the removal process. After a quick discussion, we decided it would be a good opportunity to see if buffing the nails prior to removal was really essential, so as a direct comparison I quickly buffed the top coat off the second hand and then started the removal process. This was going to be interesting, was it possible for this product to surprise me and my clients again and achieve an easy Gel II removal, no buffing?
How To Remove Gel II Perfectly?
Before I give you the results of my little experiment, I think it’s important to address the correct removal process. As with any product, the key to a perfect service, is training, knowledge and ability. Each different brand has it’s own little foibles, so I’m going to share how to achieve a perfect Gel II removal.
Firstly, buffing the top coat off is really down to personal preference, as it transpires, it’s not essential, see below for more information on this. Whether you are using foils or ProTipClips, my advice is the same. Soak a nice thick piece of cotton wool pad with pure acetone or Gel II remover. I use about 4 pumps from my Menda pump dispenser. If you want to prevent the skin from drying around the nails, then put a drop of cuticle oil on each nail prior to placing on the cotton pad, or alternatively, put a few drops in your acetone. Apply the cotton wool directly to the surface of the nail ensuring that it covers all of the nail and bends over the end of the free edge (tip of the nail). If applying foils, these need to be wrapped tightly and the foil needs to cover from just below your middle knuckle and be twisted under the finger at the end. This is to avoid the Acetone/Remover evaporating during the 10 minute removal time. My video demonstrates how to do this. If you are using ProTipClips, then they automatically tension onto the nail to prevent the acetone/remover evaporating.
A little trick that I learnt with CND Shellac removal to make it easier, is to have a heated microwavable wheat pack to place across the foils/wraps for the 10 minutes soaking off time. This is the unscented one that I purchased, as the smell of repeatedly heated lavender can get a little sickening over time. Once all the nails are tightly wrapped/clipped, and the heated wheat pack is placed over the fingers, then set your timer to 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, focussing on one finger at a time, and starting on the first finger that you wrapped, twist off the foil/clips, which should remove or loosen the majority of the polish. With a clean orange wood stick, gently flake off any lose polish, and finish off the nail by rubbing any remaining polish off with a plastic backed pad soaked in acetone. You should now have perfect looking nails, completely free of product and with no damage!
Do I need To file the nails to remove Gel II?
In a word……NO!! Well I couldn’t quite believe it and neither could my client Lindsey, but here is a picture of the results of Gel II Removal, with no buffing. I was chatting with a fellow nail tech Annalise of Darling Digits later that evening about it, and she worded this as a #gamechanger and I think she’s right! Yes the product removed slightly easier (but only slightly) when I had buffed the top coat off, but it really isn’t essential. I think in honesty, it’s only a matter of time before the La Palm application instructions change and the advice to buff the nails before application is removed, and perhaps that buffing the top coat off prior to removal is also altered. Either way, for all of you lovely professionals who are wanting to try out Gel II, or are already using it, I thought you might find this little nugget of information interesting! 🙂 xNx