How can I use an e-file to remove soak-off gels without overheating the nails?


I heard you can use an e-file to remove soak-off gels because it is faster, but when I try this technique the nails are getting too hot. Is there something I can do?


A lot of techs are saving time by removing soak-off gels with an e-file. (This is for the soak-off gels that come in a pot though. The new polish-bottled gels soak off more quickly.)

If you use an e-file on a traditional soak-off, here are some things to keep in mind. A soak-off gel is porous so when you e-file it gets hot like an acrylic. A carbide bit is less likely to get hot than a sanding band, but both can get warm quickly, which can make it difficult for clients to go through their monthly gel polish fill. To fix this, prep the nails like a classic gel fill, with bonding gel and a layer of self-leveling clear gel (classic hard gel, not soak-off) applied thin like a smooth top coat. After it is cured go straight to the color on top of the tacky layer.

When the client comes back, you can e-file the color off quickly while the classic gel layer prevents it from getting hot. Then prep, apply classic bonding, fill in with the self leveling clear, and finish with the color. The gel polish holds well atop the clear and its flexibility keeps it from cracking. You can also use classic gel top gloss over your color, which helps hair products and self tanners from staining your porous soak off gel. — Jessica Hoel is an educator for Akzentz.

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