Adding Length to Your Natural Nail: Fills and Removal…

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If you used my method for adding length to your nails and would like to know how to fill and remove them here is a my quick tutorial…

*sidenote- this can also be applied to a regular gel polish manicure, one that doesn’t included tip extensions. If you applied color simply use your same color choice (or darker color) in place of the Simple Sheer I used in the video.

After about two weeks you will notice regrowth of your natural nail between the cuticle and gel polish, instead of removing them you can follow these steps and simply touch up that area.

1. Completely remove all nail polish from your nail.

2. Apply cuticle remover and push back cuticles.

3. Clean off the cuticle remover from your nails by using a damp washcloth (or by washing your hands).

4. Using a 180 grit file, lightly file down the top layer of gel only (DO NOT file down the regrowth line yet, if you have thin/weak nails it is important not to use a course grit file on your natural nail). The goal of this step is to keep the gel from building up to thick. You don’t want to remove all the gel, just enough so that when you apply the new gel on top it’s still fairly thin and natural looking.

5. Using a super fine file or fine grit buffer gently buff the regrowth line so it blends into the natural nail.

6. Wipe nails down with alcohol to remove any nail dust, oil, residue left by cuticle remover or hand soap.

7. Apply a new gel polish manicure using the same process as I did in the in the original tutorial.

8. Wipe nails down with alcohol  to remove the tacky surface and apply cuticle oil.

And you’re done!


If you have done a fill and it has been another two weeks (or less) it may be time for removal due to lifting or tips coming off. Here is how to remove gel polish..

1. Trim down any excess length using artificial nail clippers. Turn your hand so your palm is facing you, that way you can see underneath your nail. Be sure not to trim down your natural nail!

2. Using a 180 grit file, file down the top layer of gel polish. If you have any regrowth be sure to not file down your natural nail.

3A. Pour pure acetone into two small bowls (one for each hand). You want enough acetone to completely submerge nails up to your cuticle.

3B. Foil Method-

  • cut 10 small squares of aluminum foil (squares width should be large enough to wrap around your finger and long enough to cover the entire nail).
  • soak a cotton ball with pure acetone and place it on top of the nail
  • using one square of aluminum foil wrap it around your finger to enclose the acetone soaked cotton ball onto your nail.

4.  Let the nails soak for 10-15 minutes.

5. Remove nails from acetone. The gel should be dissolved. and the tip extension should pop right off. If there is remaining gel on your nail use an orangewood stick to gently scrape remaining gel off. If the gel (or tip extension) does not easily scrape off DO NOT try to pry, peel, or scrape it off. Continue to soak in acetone in 5 minutes increments until all gel (and tip extension) is removed.

6. Apply cuticle oil, cream or lotion.

I removed my gel polish nails and I am quite pleased with the length I now have. However, my nails are still pretty thin so if this happens to you, you have some options.

Option 1. Apply a new gel manicure minus the tip extension. This will give you strength to grow out your nails but doesn’t have lasting effects (once it’s removed your nails will still be thin).

Option 2. Use a nail strengthening treatment. I have used Nail Tek and Duri Rejuvacote  with great results.

**Stay tuned for another tutorial on how to add length using Gelish’s new Hard Gel LED clear builder gel and Dual Forms. This new method will add length without using tip extensions!


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8 Responses

  1. Christina says:

    Can I use this method (tips and gel) as a regular routine? I cannot find a good salon. When I use just gel my nails are not strong enough. But it looks like the tips would be great to add the strength I need. When it’s time for a a refill or they tips grow to far – can I just redo the the whole thing again…gel and tips? Or is this method used just to grow the natural nail out? I would like to use this method as a practice? Instead of acrylic powders and nail salons… THANKS

  2. Jeannette Mooney says:

    Hi there
    I love the idea of using tips and structure gel as extensions instead of acrylic but if I use a gelish gel polish in a colour how do u remove that for in fills without removing the tip also

  3. marty says:

    I just watched your video on adding tips.. what a GREAT job. I went to sally’s and will be doing them tomorrow Thank you soooooooooo much.. could you please send me the link with the video on how to fill when they grow out? I would love to follow your instructions on that too. Great job at explaining how to do the length. Thank you for making it!!!

    • francine says:

      I currently don’t have a video for it, but you can follow the steps in this post. Simply buff the fill line smooth, take down any thickness of the gel polish if needed, then repeat the gel process.

  4. Jubilee Reyes says:

    How do you initially remove the polish witbout having to soak it off?

    • francine says:

      I’m not 100% sure of what you mean? I’m not using gel color polish, I used regular polish ON TOP of the gel extension. Doing it this way allows to to change the color when you ant without having to soak everything off.

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