We all love a good gel manicure, but let’s be real, the process of removing it can be a bit of a pain. The mess of acetone and foil, the potential damage to our nails, and the sheer amount of time it takes can be enough to make you want to avoid gel altogether.
But what if I told you there was a better way? A way to remove gel polish at home, quickly, easily, and without damaging your nails? Well girls, that’s where the nail steamer comes in.
In This Article
What is a Nail Steamer?
A steam off gel remover machine (aka “acetone nail steamer”) is a machine that heats up 5ml of pure acetone to create steam that breaks down gel, acrylic, and dip nails. Imagine taking only 10 minutes to remove gel polish and avoid dried out / cracked skin on your fingers. It’s a game-changer.
This is the one I got from Amazon:
How to Use a Nail Steamer
Using a nail steamer is super easy, and it won’t take you more than 15 minutes per hand (unless you have dip nails – those take about 20-25 minutes). These are the steps:
- File off the top layer of gel polish with the included nail file, or—even better—an electric nail drill. This step is super important because it breaks the seal for the acetone steam to penetrate faster.
- Pour 5-10ml of acetone into the steamer and place the black thingy with finger holes on the steamer.
- Press the power switch.
- Place your fingers inside the finger holes. Kinda curl your fingers so they’re not physically touching the acetone.
- Leave your fingers in the steamer for 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of your gel polish. The warm steam will soften the gel polish, making it easy to scrape off.
- Use the included scraper to gently scratch the softened polish off. Make sure to be gentle and not to scrape too hard, or you might scratch your actual nails.
- Repeat the process on your other hand.
And that’s it! Super easy, right? The steamer I got didn’t come with acetone. It’s important that you use 100% pure acetone. I originally tried the steamer with a regular nail polish remover solution and it didn’t work, when I checked my bottle I realized my mistake and the second time around it worked like a charm.
Does the Nail Steamer work? My Review
So the answer is – YES! How well? It depends! Essentially, the more layers, or the thicker the polish, the longer it will take for the steamer to do its job.
At the salon they tend to do my nails a lot thicker than I would do at home, so if you have salon nails, it will take a bit longer or multiple passes before getting any results.
I highly recommend having an electric file (or nail dremel, as my mom calls it) at hand and file the nails a bit between each pass in the steamer. I use this one below by Makartt which I love. This will make things go much quicker.
Pros and Cons of Using a Nail Steamer
Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons of a nail steamer:
- It’s gentler on your hands than soaking in acetone.
- It’s quicker to remove gel nails if you have thin layers on (10-15 minutes).
- It’s pretty easy to use and clean. Definitely less messy than aluminum foil and cotton pads dipped in acetone.
- It’s an upfront investment, as nail steamers can be pricey.
- It takes up space, which may be an issue for those with limited space.
- Acetone is not included with the nail steamer, so you’ll have to purchase that separately. You also need pure acetone (check your nail polish remover bottle).
How Do Salons Remove Gel Nails?
Salons typically use a range of methods to remove gel nails such as soaking off with acetone or filing by hand or electric nail drill. This method is faster than soaking off with acetone but it’s not something that you can easily do at home with just one hand, and I tend to stop when I’m getting close to the base layer, to avoid filing into my actual nail.
After I saw it on YouTube (above is the video I stumbled across btw), I was super excited to try the nail steamer. If you often do your gel nails at home and keep it pretty thin, it can be a real time saver. Every time I have to remove my gel now it takes me 10-15 minutes and I wonder how I could ever live without it. Give it a try and let me know how you like it in the comments!