Tips and Tricks for Gel Polish Lifting

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One of the greatest things about gel polish is its long wear. So, if your gel polish starts to lift, it can be extremely frustrating. Never fear! There are tons of tips and tricks that can help with lifting. This post is sure to help you out and keep your gel polish lasting.

Tips and tricks for gel polish lifting.

1. Keep your hands dry for a few hours before you paint your nails. If you get a little water on your hands, it’s no big deal. But, don’t do your nails right after taking a shower and don’t wash your hands immediately before doing your nails. You get the idea. 🙂

2. Buff your nails using a 220 grit (or higher) buffer. Buff in one direction and remember, you are trying to rough up your nails, not make them smooth. If you buff in multiple directions, you are more likely to over-buff.

Tips and Tricks for Lifting Gel Polish: Buff the nails.

3. Be especially careful and do not over-buff the tips. You really only need to buff the new growth each time you do your nails, but if you are having a problem with lifting, go ahead and buff the whole nail.

Tips and Tricks for Lifting Gel Polish. Don't over buff the tips of the nails.

4. Use rubbing alcohol to cleanse the nail after buffing. If the extra nail debris stays under the gel polish it will cause lifting. Use 91% alcohol and a lint free wipe.

Tips and Tricks for Lifting Gel Polish. Cleanse your nails with rubbing alcohol to remove any debris from the nail.

5. Use acetone to dehydrate the nails. You can use a clean nail brush and dip it in acetone, then brush the acetone on and let it dry. You can also use a lint free wipe.

6. Use a bonder on your nails and it will really help with lifting. The bonder makes removal extremely difficult if you use it on the whole nail, so start with just where you are having a problem with lifting.

7. Try different base coats. I have found that some base coats have great wear, but take forever to remove and vice versa. Base coats that are easy to remove often have problems with lifting. If you have a problem with lifting, try switching up the base coat. IBD base coat is usually good for removal, but bad for lifting. Gelish foundation on the other hand tends to have slightly more difficult removals, but it’s great for not lifting.

Tips and Tricks for Lifting Gel Polish: Try different base coats.

8. Make sure you properly prep and paint your nails. If you forget any steps like cleansing or buffing it can definitely cause lifting. Also, make sure you paint the nails properly. See how to do gel nails for more information.

9. When painting your nails, avoid the cuticles and nail edges. There is no easy way to do this except practice. Actually, you can also use a thin brush dipped in acetone to clean up the cuticles and nail edges, but practice definitely helps.

Tips and Tricks for Lifting Gel Polish: Avoid cuticles and sides of nails while painting.

10. Use very thin coats when using gel polish. Thick coats can cause lifting, or if you are like me, they cause picking. Maybe it’s just me, but thick coats just look like an invitation to pick. But, even if you are better than me, the thick coats can also cause lifting.

11. Don’t forget to cap the free edge when you paint your nails. I usually cap the free edge last, then go back over the rest of the nail to make sure all the gel polish is smooth at the tips.

Tips and Tricks for Lifting Gel Polish. Make sure to cap the free edge of the nail.

12. Sometimes, the quality of your lamp can cause lifting. If you have a cheap lamp, try a better one. Gelish 18g is awesome and so is CND Shellac UV Lamp.

Tips and Tricks for Lifting Gel Polish: The quality of your lamp can cause lifting.

13. And now for another lamp problem that can cause lifting, your UV lamp bulbs may need to be replaced. When UV bulbs are dying, you may have problems with curing and lifting. If you’ve had your UV lamp for awhile, try replacing the bulbs.

14. Apply cuticle oil and hand cream AFTER doing your nails. Gel polish removal requires acetone, which can dry out the nails. You should definitely apply cuticle oil and hand cream after removal. However, if you are going to do another gel manicure right away, don’t apply the cuticle oil and hand cream until after the manicure. If you do it before, the oils in the cuticle oil and hand cream can cause lifting.

Tips and Tricks for Lifting Gel Polish: Apply cuticle oil after the manicure is finished.

*Bonus Lifting Tip*

Once you’ve done your nails, sometimes a portion of one nail will lift in one corner. If it’s just a portion of one nail, you can save it without having to complete re-do your nails. Here’s how:

  1. Use a fingernail clipper to clip off as much of the lifted edge as you can.
  2. Use a file to make the lifted edge flush with the nail.
  3. Do a whole manicure (base coat, color, color, top coat) on the portion of the nail that doesn’t have gel polish on it.
  4. While you are painting, carefully blend the color over the painted portion so it doesn’t look funny.
  5. Finish off with a top coat over the entire nail.
  6. Nail looks just like all the others. 🙂

Fix lifting gel polish in just 5 steps. Plus more tips and tricks for gel polish lifting.

Gel polish lifting can be extremely frustrating, but with a little troubleshooting, it can be overcome. Do you have any other tips for lifting? I’d love to hear them. Leave a comment with your tip. 🙂

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4 Responses to Tips and Tricks for Gel Polish Lifting

  1. Thank you!! I hate lifting so I’m excited to try these methods. Also, I tried your quick fix method on one of my nails that started lifting and it worked GREAT. Saved me from having to do the whole thing over

  2. Found this post so useful!! I love gel polish & am always wanting to learn all the tricks so this was such an interesting read. Thanks for sharing. Great blog! xox

    • I’m glad it was helpful for you! I wish I didn’t have to go through so much trial and error figuring out all of those tricks, but at least they are helping people now. LOL. 🙂

Hi, I'm Kirstylee. I'm a wife, mom, and lover of all things gel polish. I started this blog to share my knowledge and make new friends. :)