One of the greatest things about gel polish is its long wear. So, if your gel polish starts to lift, it can be extremely frustrating. Never fear! There are tons of tips and tricks that can help with lifting.
1. Keep your hands dry for a few hours before you paint your nails. If you get a little water on your hands, it’s no big deal. But, don’t do your nails right after taking a shower, and don’t wash your hands immediately before doing your nails.
2. Buff your nails using a 220 grit (or higher) buffer. Buff in one direction and remember, you are trying to rough up your nails, not make them smooth. If you buff in multiple directions, you are more likely to over-buff.
3. Be especially careful and do not over-buff the tips. You really only need to buff the new growth each time you do your nails, but if you are having a problem with lifting, go ahead and buff the whole nail.
4. Use rubbing alcohol to cleanse the nail after buffing. If the extra nail debris stays under the gel polish it will cause lifting. Use 91% alcohol and a lint-free wipe.
5. Use acetone to dehydrate the nails. You can use a clean nail brush and dip it in acetone, then brush the acetone on and let it dry. You can also use a lint-free wipe.
6. Use a bonder on your nails and it will really help with lifting. The bonder makes removal extremely difficult if you use it on the whole nail, so start with just where you are having a problem with lifting.
7. Try different base coats. I have found that some base coats have great wear, but take forever to remove and vice versa. Base coats that are easy to remove often have problems with lifting. If you have a problem with lifting, try switching up the base coat. IBD base coat is usually good for removal, but bad for lifting.
8. Make sure you properly prep and paint your nails. If you forget any steps like cleansing or buffing it can definitely cause lifting. Also, make sure you paint the nails properly.
9. When painting your nails, avoid the cuticles and nail edges. There is no easy way to do this except practice. Actually, you can also use a thin brush dipped in acetone to clean up the cuticles and nail edges, but practice definitely helps.
10. Use very thin coats when using gel polish. Thick coats can cause lifting, or if you are like me, they cause picking. Maybe it’s just me, but thick coats just look like an invitation to pick. But, even if you are better than me, the thick coats can also cause lifting.
11. Don’t forget to cap the free edge when you paint your nails. I usually cap the free edge last, then go back over the rest of the nail to make sure all the gel polish is smooth at the tips.
12. Sometimes, the quality of your lamp can cause lifting. If you have a cheap lamp, try a better one. Gelish 18g is awesome and so is CND Shellac UV Lamp.
13. And now for another lamp problem that can cause lifting, your UV lamp bulbs may need to be replaced. When UV bulbs are dying, you may have problems with curing and lifting. If you’ve had your UV lamp for a while, try replacing the bulbs.
14. Apply cuticle oil and hand cream AFTER doing your nails. Gel polish removal requires acetone, which can dry out the nails. You should definitely apply cuticle oil and hand cream after removal. However, if you are going to do another gel manicure right away, don’t apply the cuticle oil and hand cream until after the manicure. If you do it before, the oils in the cuticle oil and hand cream can cause lifting.
Once you’ve done your nails, sometimes a portion of one nail will lift in one corner. If it’s just a portion of one nail, you can save it without having to completely re-do your nails. Here’s how:
- Use a fingernail clipper to clip off as much of the lifted edge as you can.
- Use a file to make the lifted edge flush with the nail.
- Do a whole manicure (base coat, color, color, topcoat) on the portion of the nail that doesn’t have gel polish on it.
- While you are painting, carefully blend the color over the painted portion so it doesn’t look funny.
- Finish off with a top coat over the entire nail.
- Nail looks just like all the others