Gel nail removal magic trick

by Suw on December 7, 2017

Earlier in the year, I treated myself to a DIY gel nail system, which I have been enjoying ever since. I rather like having nice nails, it makes me feel like an adult. Traditional nail varnish barely lasts 24 hours on my nails, so the UV-cured gel varnishes are a huge improvement as, on a good run, they can last up to two weeks.

The downside is getting the damn stuff off. I bought an electric nail file, in the hope that I could grind away the top layers before soaking off with acetone, but that didn’t really save any time. And getting impatient and scraping the half-softened gel off just damages the natural nail underneath.

A friend of mine has been raving about Barry M nail varnishes, and whilst I was in the UK I thought I’d take a look and see if they were any good. Maybe, I thought, I could alternate, so that I’m not constantly battling to get gel varnish off my nails. Whilst I was looking at the Barry M selection, (I bought a metallic gold colour in the end), I spotted that they do a base coat call Peel Off, which, well, you peel off. Had to be worth a shot, I thought. And wow, was it ever worth a shot!

Two coats of Barry M Peel Off, well dried, underneath a normal application of gel foundation, colour and top coat works like a dream. You genuinely can just peel the whole lot off in a matter of seconds, instead of it taking two hours and using up all the acetone you can lay your hands on. It is fantastic.

However — and there’s always a however — if your nail surface is already damaged, as mine are, then the Peel Off base coat will also peel off more of your nail. There is, however, a however to that however: if you prise up a corner, you can get under there with normal nail varnish remover and a cotton bud, and ease the whole lot off gently. No need to try to soften up the gel because the Barry M base coat will dissolve in the remover and come clean away.

A few other things I’ve learnt:

  • Two coats is far better than one. One coat doesn’t seem to have enough strength to peel off neatly.
  • It peels best off fresh, undamaged nail.
  • If your nails get quite wet, say you do the washing up or have a long bath, it will peel off sooner rather than later.
  • If one nail peels, and comes off in one piece, you can just put another layer of base coat on, and glue the gel back on as if it’s a false nail!
  • If it peels of a couple of nails, you can always use normal nail varnish over the gel and on the now bare nails until you’re ready to redo them.
  • It only lasts a week, tops.

Although the gel varnish is supposed to last up to three weeks, it never did for me. On average, I got about 10 days wear out of them, so if Peel Off only lasts a week, that’s no skin off my nose. In fact, it means I can switch up my colours a bit more often.

I am so delighted with the Barry M Peel Off base coat, I really am. I’m sure there are equivalents in the US, as Barry M is UK-only, but I will be stocking up when I go home.

Oh, and the normal Barry M nail varnish is just as marvellous!


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