4 Simple Ways To Remove Sticky Residue From Gel Nails

Are you someone who takes pride in getting beautiful new nails to show off to friends and family?

However, are you finding your nails difficult to maintain? Struggling to find a solution? 

Well, don’t panic. This article is sure to set you on the right path to maintain those perfect nails of yours.

4 Simple Ways To Remove Sticky Residue From Gel Nails

After your gel nails have dried, it is essential that you remove the sticky residue from the top coat. When you don’t remove the sticky layer or you do it incorrectly, your gel nails will appear dull and weak.

This article will guide you through how to correctly remove the sticky or tacky layer on your gel nails so they look more glossy and to make them more durable.

Here are the four main ways to remove the sticky residue from your gel nails:

  1. Isopropyl Alcohol
  2. Gel Nail Cleanser
  3. Small amount of non-acetone nail polish remover
  4. A DIY Gel Nail Cleanser, using household chemicals

1. Isopropyl Alcohol

Isopropyl Alcohol

To remove the sticky or tacky layer on top of your gel top coat, Isopropyl alcohol is the most common, budget-friendly, and effective solution.

Alcohol dissolves the sticky layer (uncured gel polish) making it easy to wipe off. 

My usual and recommended method of wiping is with alcohol wipes. Isopropyl alcohol is soaked into these wipes in 70 percent strength. They come in individual packets. They can be used simply by opening them and wiping their nails with them.

Alcohol wipes are more expensive initially, but they are convenient, professional-looking, and hygienic, making them ideal for dealing with clients.

You can also soak Lint-Free Cotton Pads in alcohol and wipe your nails with them if you want to be more budget-friendly.

Important Tip

Use one fresh alcohol pad for each nail and dispose of each cotton pad after cleaning each nail.

It is important not to reuse your cotton pads as your manicure will begin to look very dull and will not have that glossy look. This is because you are transferring the tacky layer from one gel nail to the next.

What Is The Sticky Residue Left On Your Gel Nails?

When some gel polish brands don’t cure properly, they leave behind a sticky residue. The air in your environment prevents the gel polish on your manicure from fully curing, leaving a tacky or sticky residue known as the inhibition layer.

Do You Need To Wipe Gel Nails Between Coats?

The sticky layer does not have to be removed from every layer of gel polish. It is only necessary to wipe off the sticky layer on your top coat and not between each coat.

Once you apply the top coat and gel polish over the sticky layer, the layer will cure completely and the residue actually helps bond the layers together.

2. Gel Cleanser

Gel Cleanser

A gel cleanser dissolves and removes your gel polish’s tacky or sticky layer.

You can also use them to remove oils and moisture on your nail plates before applying gel polish for better adhesion.

Gel cleansers can be very effective but are a lot more costly in comparison to using alcohol. 

3. Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover

Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover

You can remove the sticky layer using an acetone-free nail polish remover with a lint-free cotton pad if you don’t have any isopropyl alcohol or a gel cleanser.

But you should only use a small amount, otherwise your gel manicure may weaken.

Can You Use Acetone To Remove Sticky Residue From Gel Nails?

If you wish to wipe away the sticky layer, do not use acetone or an acetone-based polish remover. If you do so you would greatly weaken your gel nails.

4. DIY Gel Nail Cleanser Substitute

DIY Gel Nail Cleanser Substitute

If you are running out of options and you are desperate, you can use certain household chemicals that will have a high concentration of alcohol to clean off the sticky layer.

Household chemicals such as hand sanitizer, lysol and perfumes should be able to work for you. 

However, it is important to note that these methods will not be as effective as Isopropyl alcohol or gel cleanser and it may potentially ruin your manicure.

Bonus tip

Bonus tip

If you are not a fan of cleaning away the sticky or tacky layer, you could always consider investing in a no wipe top coat.

No wipe top coats are top coats that cure completely and will not leave any sticky residue that needs to be wiped away. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Hand Sanitizer Bad For Dip Nails?

As sanitizer is made from alcohol, it will dry out your skin and damage the top layer of the manicure. Instead, use soap and water as these will keep your hands cleaner and will be perfectly fine on your nails.

How Do I Know If My Gel Nails Are Under-Curing? 

A key indication of under-curing will be the peeling of the gel which can be identified as small holes or air pockets underneath the gel that indicates where adhesion has been lost.

This will often occur more frequently on the thumbs, due to client difficulty in correct hand placement. This may not become evident until the client leaves their appointment.

Other signs may also be loss of clarity, thicker than normal sticky dispersion, cloudy finish, soft surfaces or areas where the color was too easily wiped or filled away.

If the skin is itching whilst soaking off the product, then this can be a sign that the nail coating was not properly cured. These unreacted ingredients will escape from the nail coating into the acetone which can cause skin allergies and irritation. 

Can You Overcure Gel Nail Polish?

It is possible to overcure gel nail polish. This happens when people get their nails done and put gel on top of them; they will want to keep it there forever.

Women who have really thick nails are more likely to do this as they will feel more comfortable than the average person.  

Final Thoughts

These four easy solutions and added tips should set you on your way to successfully removing sticky residue from gel nails. 

However, of all the options to choose from, Isopropyl Alcohol is the most budget friendly and effective way to remove the sticky layer from the top of your gel coat.

Although the other methods can be effective, some are costly or even homemade substitutes can cause damage to your skin and nails.

If you can purchase Isopropyl Alcohol, use this with alcohol wipes for an easy and simple solution to help effectively maintain your nails.

Miranda Cole
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