Removing gel manicures at home is easy (and cheap) — watch these YouTube tutorials that will show you the way

We all love the shiny, long-lasting look of gel manicures, but it sometimes feels like we spend half our lives in salons getting the gel polished removed. All that soaking, sitting, and scraping — it gets tedious (not to mention expensive). The good news is that it’s possible to remove gel manicures at home — and we’ve rounded up some of the best YouTube videos to show you how removing gel manicures is done!

Starting with pure acetone and ending with clean, pristine nails, these videos offer handy tips and tricks for getting that shellac off your fingers — before you start picking away at it and doing serious damage.

First up, the acetone/aluminum foil method.

This is the method most commonly used at salons, and it’s super-simplified in this video. To follow along with this tutorial, you’ll need just a few supplies: cotton balls or rounds; 100% pure acetone; squares of aluminum foil; and a nail groomer or cuticle pusher.

Watch this video all the way through to see the correct way to scrape the polish off your nails (hint: you should always scrape from the cuticle to the tip, and never the other direction).

Here’s another look at the acetone/aluminum foil method, this time with a few modifications.

In this video, we learn how to file gel polish before beginning the acetone soak. This step “breaks the seal” on your nail polish, and helps the polish absorb more of the acetone. That makes it easier to scrape it off! This video recommends keeping the foils on your nails for 15-20 minutes.

This video uses the same method, but offers an alternative to aluminum foil.

You may have seen little plastic clips used to remove gel manicures at the salon, and noted how much simpler they are to work with than aluminum foil. And if you plan to remove your gel manis at home on the regular, then it’s probably worth investing in these clips — snapping them on with your non-dominant hand is way easier than applying aluminum foil. Get a set of 10 here for $6.99.

And finally — remember to always wash your hands and moisturize your cuticles and nail beds after removing a gel manicure. Your paws will thank you!