4 Tricks to Get Rid of Tacky Layers on Gel Nails




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Graceful manicure completes the look of a well-groomed lady, allowing her to express her femininity and boost her confidence. Today, nail technology has advanced as many products and techniques have emerged to keep nails looking gorgeous. 

When shellac and gel manicures were introduced into the beauty scene, they became a solution to women struggling with short, weak nails and took away the need to re-painting nails every so often. 

The cured polish keeps the nails looking beautiful, and you no longer have to worry about tips chipping off. However, as there are many advantages to gel nails, there are disadvantages too, with the most annoying one being the white residue that remains on the nails. This article discusses tricks you can use to eliminate these tacky layers on gel nails and keep your nails strong and healthy. 

How Do You Get Rid of The White Stuff on Your Nails After Gel? 

The white stuff here is the sticky gel residue that remains when the gel polish doesn’t cure completely. During gel application, oxygen in the air interferes with the gel curing process at the top of the polish, so it doesn’t cure completely and leaves a tacky residue. 

Gel residues are not friendly to your skin and can irritate because of the gel’s chemical composition. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get rid of them as soon as possible and accurately using the right tools. 

 You don’t have to spend so much or go to the salon to remove the white stuff on your gel nails as you can do it in a few simple steps at the comfort of your home. Through this article, I’ll show you ways to remove the gel residue to keep your gel nails looking all glossy. 

  1. Using a gel cleanser

Most gel packages come with a gel cleanser or degreaser in the kit. It’s a chemical designed to dissolve the excess sticky gel and remove it effectively. Since they are made for this purpose, their effectiveness is guaranteed. 

To use a gel cleanser effectively, soak a piece of cotton in the solution and wipe over the tacky layer from the top to the bottom of the nail. It works in a second to clear the uncured gel and give your nails the perfect shine. 

If your gel package doesn’t contain a gel cleanser, you can buy one separately. This means that this method is a little more costly than other methods. 

Gelish Nail Surface Cleanse, 4 oz.

  1. Using Isopropyl Alcohol

The isopropyl alcohol quickly dissolves the uncured gel polish and wipes it away easily. You can have the alcohol in a bottle and use cotton to wipe away the tacky gel layers gently. However, a more effective and efficient way would be to use alcohol wipes dipped in 70% isopropyl alcohol, even though this will cost you to buy the wipes. 

When wiping out the tacky layers, it’s important to wipe one nail at a time using a fresh wipe pad or cotton pad. Don’t re-use the cotton on other nails; instead, dispose after cleaning one nail and use a clean one on the next nail. Re-using the wipes or cotton pads will leave the rest of the gel looking dull and unattractive. 

The process is easy and fast. Pick one alcohol wipe pad or cotton (dipped in alcohol) and wipe over the tacky layer. It works in a few seconds to dissolve the uncured gel and clear it from your gel nails.  

Care Touch Lens Wipes for Eyeglasses | Individually Wrapped Eye Glasses Wipes | 210 Pre-Moistened Lens Cleaning Eyeglass Wipes

  1. Make a DIY Gel Cleanser and use it.

There are many household items and products that contain enough alcohol and can be used to clean the tacky layers. Some of these products like hand sanitizers, Lysols, and perfumes contain high amounts of alcohol and can effectively clear the uncured gel. 

This method may not be as effective as using pure isopropyl alcohol or gel cleanser but will go a long way to keep your gel looking shiny. You’ll use a piece of cotton just like you’d do with isopropyl alcohol. It’s essential to be careful when using DIY cleaners as they can ruin your manicure if not correctly used. 

Remember that these DIY methods have no research backing them, but you can try them when you are out of options. 

  1. Use a non-acetone nail polish remover.

Acetone weakens your gel nails, so ensure that the nail polish remover you’re using is acetone-free. Use a small amount of the remover on a lint-free cotton pad and gently clean off the sticky layer without destroying the gel. 

Cutex Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover

It’s also a great way to keep your gel nails shining; you can try it on your gel nails if they get dull and unattractive. Non-acetone removers only remove the uncured gel polish and leave the cured gel polish intact and with a bright shine. 

If you plan to remove the gel polish from your nails completely, there are a few more considerations you can put in place to ensure that you don’t damage your nails. In removing the gel polish, you’ll need to use acetone, unlike when removing the tacky layers only. The acetone will go deep and weaken the gel polish that had cured entirely so that it easily comes off. 

You can choose to soak your fingertips thoroughly into the acetone or use aluminum foils to wrap acetone-soaked cotton balls around your nails. Acetone is harsh for your skin, so it’s important to protect your skin by applying petroleum jelly on any part that would be exposed to acetone. 

If you are alone, soaking your fingers in acetone would work better as the other method of wrapping aluminum foils is a little complicated and would require someone to help you with it. To ensure that you remove the gel correctly, resist the urge to pull the loose gel pieces and peel them off. Peeling the gel pieces will leave a damaged, uneven nail surface, which weakens your nails in the long run. 

If you get the uneven nail surface in the process of gel removal, you can smoothen it out by filling it out gently. Check how weak the nails are and resist the urge to over-file or apply more nail polish. Nails keep growing and will replenish with time, so you can give them a few weeks to recover before you apply new polish. 

The UV light hardening process exposes your skin to the danger of getting damaged, so when using gel polish on your nails, it’s important to give yourself some time before re-painting your nails so that both your nails and skin can heal. 


While the gel nail polish is increasing in popularity among women, traditional nail polish takes the back seat and allows women to enjoy longer periods of shiny nails. To maintain the glow and increase the durability of your gel nails, you must familiarize yourself with tricks and practices that keep them free of tacky layers. 

Here you can read about how you prepare your nails for gel.


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