How to Cut PolyGel Nails
PolyGel, also known as "gum gel," is a fun type of nail treatment that’s different from typical manicures. The product is a lot softer than regular gels and acrylics, and typically applied over natural nails as an elegant manicure option. Since this is a type of hard nail manicure, don’t cut your PolyGel nails until you’re ready to remove the gel completely. Thankfully, this process is really simple and can take less than an hour if you have basic nail equipment.
1. Trim off any excess PolyGel from each nail with a clipper. Slide your PolyGel nails into a nail trimmer, then cut away the excess gel. Try to keep your nails less than 5 mm (0.20 in) long so they’re easier to manage and file down. Double-check to make sure you aren’t trimming off your natural nails with the PolyGel.
PolyGel is pretty thick, so you’ll have to apply a decent amount of pressure when you trim.
It may help to clip the sides of your nails into a point and then trim the PolyGel straight across.
2. Grab an E-file or 150-grit emery board to file down the PolyGel. Find a clean area to remove your nails, like a bathroom sink. Plug in an E-file or set aside a 150-grit emery board to get the job done. Many emery boards are labeled with the grit number, so you can double-check your file before you start using it.
Emery boards and other buffing products are numbered like traditional sandpaper. The lower the grit number, the more coarse the surface is. Visit a beauty store or check online if you don’t have the exact emery board grit that you need.
An E-file is an electric tool that sands the gel from your nails, and is a much quicker option than an emery board. You can find one online or in a store that sells nail supplies.
3. Move the file from the cuticle to the tip of the nail. Work your emery board or E-file from the bottom, cuticle area of your PolyGel nail to the trimmed tip. Work in careful, buffing motions, applying a light amount of pressure as you go. Focus only on filing down the PolyGel product, and not your natural nail.
Always use a gentle, light amount of pressure when you file your PolyGel nails. If you apply too much pressure, you may damage your natural nails.
4. Leave 1 to 2 mm (0.039 to 0.079 in) of PolyGel left on the nail. Stop filing once you’ve reduced your PolyGel to a really thin layer. Since there isn’t much product left, you don’t want to use a rough emery board or E-file to buff away the rest of the PolyGel, or else you could risk damaging your natural nails.
5. File away the rest of the PolyGel with a 180-grit emery board. Grab a fine nail file and buff over the surface. Work from the bottom, cuticle area of the nail to the tip, focusing on areas where there’s still a lot of PolyGel build-up. Continue buffing the surface until there’s no more gel product left on your nails.
Your nail file may start grabbing a lot of build-up, which is totally normal. If there’s a lot of gunk on your nail file, clean it off with a manicure brush.
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