How To Remove Gel Nail Polish From Polygel Nails

How to remove gel nail polish from polygel nails? The good news is that it’s very easy! In fact, it’s a lot easier than removing it from acrylic nails.

You can remove gel nail polish from polygel using either acetone or a nail file, or a nail drill.

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Read on and I’ll show you how to do it safely and easily. So you’ll be able to repaint your polygel nails without the need to remove and rebuild the extensions.

How to remove gel nail polish from polygel nails

Can I remove gel polish from polygel nails with acetone?

Yes, you can!

Here’s where polygel has a huge advantage over acrylic nails.

Unlike acrylic nail extensions, polygel nails can’t be soaked off with acetone.

So you can easily soak off gel nail polish off polygel nails without removing or ruining polygel. Because polygel can only be removed if you file it off.

Your polygel nails will stay intact after you have removed gel nail polish. And you can easily repaint them.

Plus, your nail plate will stay protected from acetone with a layer of polygel.

How to remove gel nail polish off polygel nails with acetone?

You can use an acetone-based nail polish remover to soak off gel nail polish.

The remover will soften the polish but won’t affect the polygel nails underneath.

Non-acetone removers are too weak and will not affect gel nail polish.

The removal process is identical to the way you use acetone for soaking gel nail polish off your natural nails.

What you will need

Get an acetone-based nail polish remover, plus a bunch of cotton pads or cotton balls, and a set of foil pieces to help you hold the cotton pads in place.

In addition to that, you’ll need a cuticle pusher or orangewood sticks, and a 150 grit nail file.


  1. Lightly file the top surface of the gel nail polish on your polygel nails to break the shiny top coat layer.
  2. Soak the cotton pads with the remover.
  3. Apply one pad to each nail.
  4. Wrap each nail with the pad firmly with a piece of foil.
  5. Wait for 10-15 minutes for the acetone to soften the gel nail polish layer.
  6. Unwrap the nails and remove the cotton pads.
  7. Push the remaining softened gel nail polish off the polygel nails with a pusher or an orange stick.

How to remove gel nail polish off polygel nails by filing?

If you don’t want to use acetone because it can dry the skin around the nails you can also remove gel nail polish off polygel nails by filing it off.

You can either use a nail file or a nail drill, or both.

Nail file for gel nail polish removal

Use an emery board nail file that has a grit level ranging from 150 to 180.

A higher grit should mostly be used for natural nails and it won’t be effective for filing artificial nail materials.

You’ll just waste your time using a high grit on gel nail polish.

For example, a 900-1200 grit can only polish the surface slightly.

A lower grit, like 60-80, is too strong. It’s used mainly for rough shaping of artificial nails and may take off too much polygel together with the polish.

So instead of a quick repaint, you may need to repair your polygel nails if you use a low grit nail file.

As for the shape, I use the half-moon shape because it’s the most ergonomic one. But you can use any emery board shape you like.

How to remove gel nail polish off polygel nails with a nail file?

  1. Start filing off the gel nail polish layer near the cuticle line.
  2. File gently and avoid damaging the cuticles.
  3. Move the emery board in one direction only for better control. Don’t file back and forth.
  4. After you’ve removed all the polish, brush off the dust and buff the surface.

Nail drill for gel nail polish removal

Another way to file gel nail polish off polygel nails is by using a nail drill, also known as a nail E-file.

This lets you work a lot quicker than when using an emery board nail file.

Nail drill use requires some skill.

However, you don’t need to be as gentle with your fake nails when working with a nail drill as you have to be with your natural nail plate.

Polygel extensions are harder to damage than human nails.

And if you do damage them you can easily fix that by adding a bit of polygel here and there or filing the damaged part down.

Anyway, even if you’re not feeling too much confidence when using a nail E-file you can practice on nail tips.

Once you’ve mastered it, you’ll be able to get rid of gel nail polish in just a few minutes.

And you’ll still be able to preserve your polygel nails because you’re only going to remove the top surface of your manicure.

Best nail drill bit for gel nail polish removal

Here’s some info on how to select a nail drill bit that will help you remove gel nail polish from polygel nails:


You can use a barrel-shaped or a cone-shaped nail drill bit.

This is a matter of your personal preference.

These bits have a large working surface that lets you remove gel nail polish quickly.

Narrow and small drill bit shapes won’t be too helpful.

Color code

Get a blue or green color-coded bit.

The color signifies the coarseness of the drill bit, with black being very coarse, green coarse, blue medium-coarse, red soft, and yellow very soft.

A coarser drill bit will remove gel nail polish a lot faster.

However, if you use the black one, which is the coarsest one, you may take off too much material if you’re not skilled enough.

Pro nail techs usually use the green bit.

But if you’re a beginner you may want to choose the slightly softer blue bit for more precision.


As for the material of the bit, it doesn’t matter whether you use a ceramic or a carbide bit.

For natural nails, I always use ceramic nail drill bits.

They are gentler to the nail plate, don’t get dirty, and don’t heat up in the process.

However, since the bit won’t come in contact with your natural nails you can use any type of bit. So a carbide bit will do just fine.


Use the speed that you prefer working with.

However, it must not be below 10,000 RPM or it won’t remove gel polish fast enough.

How to remove gel nail polish off polygel nails with a nail drill?

  1. Start removing the polish by lightly moving the nail drill bit in light stroking motions over the nail’s surface going from the cuticles to the free edge.
  2. Move it in one direction only. Don’t file back and forth.
  3. Apply the bottom part of the side of the drill bit to your nail.

This lets you shave off the polish layer quickly without touching polygel.

If you use the top part of the bit it may dig inside the material too deep and you don’t want to ruin your polygel nails.

  1. Don’t push the drill bit down or you may dig into the polygel nail too deep.
  2. However, don’t fret. No need to be too gentle with your nail extensions.

It’s nearly impossible to damage the natural nail with a nail drill when you’re removing gel nail polish from polygel nails.

And any mistakes you make will be easy to fix.

  1. Stop after you have removed all the polish.

Then you can buff your polygel nails to perfection and start repainting them.

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