How to Fix Gel Nails That Have Lifted?

All products are handpicked by You Have Style. If you buy something through our link, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Discover an straightforward method to fix your gel nails and how to prevent them from lifting.

Going to a nail salon to get your nails done isn’t always possible, and maintaining your manicure has proven hard.

Sometimes, the impossible trip to the nail salon leads to us DIY solutions, and with gel nails being one of the hardest manicures to do at home, there are many things we don’t know how to do. With that, many people have questioned how to fix gel nails that have lifted?

To fix gel nails that have lifted, you need to trim off the areas that have lifted, buff down the nail so it’s an even surface, and then repaint the nail, applying a top coat once dry. Although that seems straightforward, there are specific techniques you need to use to make sure you do it correctly. 

In this post, we will be going through the method of how to fix gel nails that have lifted that is safe and effective, and I will also be giving you five recommended tips that’ll prevent your gel nails from lifting so that you aren’t left trying to fix your gel nails last minute at home.

How to Fix Gel Nails That Have Lifted?

If your gel nails do start lifting, ideally, you should get them fixed at a nail salon to protect against any damage happening. Gel nails are quite complicated because more specific tools and techniques need to be used; if you get them fixed by a professional, it’ll be done correctly. 

If you choose to do it at home, there is more chance of you not doing it entirely right, which could damage the gel nails and your natural nail. This isn’t to say it’s impossible to do it at home without causing damage, but it is more likely if you aren’t trained in gel nails. 

However, if you want to fix gel nails that have lifted yourself, here are a few steps to help you do that in the best, safest way possible.

Firstly you need to start by using a cuticle clipper, cutting off the pat of the nail that has lifted. Doing this will allow you to recover the rest of the nail as that still adheres to your natural nail, and it’ll also help give your gel nail a more even finish. Be gentle with it and only trim off the part that has lifted to protect the nail from any damage and cause more polish to lift.

Once you have cut off the lifted nail, buff the nail where the gel polish and your natural nail meet, so the nail bed is a smooth, even surface, you may have half gel nail and half natural nail, and that is fine; the aim is to fix and recover the gel nail, so you will need to remove part of the nail to fix it. 

Buff the nail until you can run your finger over the nail and you have a smooth flat surface. If you don’t buff the nail down enough, you may be left with a bumpy, obvious nail when you paint over it.

It would be best to use a file with a girt of 220 – 280 as you don’t want to scratch the polish, but this will help even out the surface and create the desired look.

Once your nail is filed down, paint the nail with a base coat. Even though a base coat was applied with the first layer of gel polish, applying it again will help the new layer adhere better, and it will also cover the areas where your nail is bare.

Whether your gel base coat needs to be cured with an LED or UV light, make sure to cure it for the correct amount of time before repainting the nail. If you don’t cure it for enough time, it can ruin your manicure and make it harder to remove.

When your nail is ready, repaint the nail with the closest matching nail polish. If you got your nails done at a nail salon, you might not have the correct polish to match your existing manicure, so try to get the closest matching gel polish you can find. 

A great tip for getting a matching nail polish would be to go for a darker option. If you don’t find a close match, try going for a darker shade of the colour over a lighter shade, as a lighter shade would make the difference more obvious, whereas a darker shade will have more of a shadow effect.

If you don’t have gel polish, you can use regular nail polish; it’ll work in the same way. The only difference with regular nail polish is that it doesn’t need to be cured; leave it to dry. 

Finally, once you have repainted the nail and it has completely dried, apply a topcoat. This is a vital stage as it seals the gel polish. This will help your manicure last longer and will keep your nails looking smart until you get them redone.

Tips on how to stop your gel nails from lifting

These five tips will help stop your gel nails from lifting and help them last longer in better condition. What is great about these tips is that they are simple things that can be done, it doesn’t take any extra time, but they can improve the experience you have with your gel nails.

Don’t pick the nail

Picking a gel nail off will not only ruin your manicure, but it causes a lot of damage to your nail bed. Your nail bed has many layers of skin cells, and picking your gel nail off takes the top protective layers off. 

This will cause your natural nails to be a lot weaker and cause an uneven surface; an unhealthy surface will lead to your future manicure chip more.

So, even though we all get the urge to pick at our gel manicures, it is essential to resist the temptation; otherwise, it will damage our future manicures.

Cover the nail with a topcoat

As we stated earlier, applying a top coat is very important as it seals the gel polish. Most people forget that you can apply thin layers of a topcoat after having your nails done, which ensures that the seal is strong and keeps your nails in the best condition possible for as long as possible.

Topping up on a topcoat means that you don’t need the strongest topcoat; a thin quick-dry topcoat will work just as well, as it is essential to remember that you are only using it to keep the seals tight, not to form the seals. 

Prevent your nails from getting chipped

Preventing your nails from getting chipped is so much better than having to fix them. You can do so many simple things in your everyday life to prevent your nails from getting chipped, for example, wearing gloves when washing up or cleaning, not opening boxes using your nails, or the worst one, biting your nails.

These are such simple changes in your day that could cause your nails to be in better condition; they may seem like a bit of hassle, but once you get used to it and see how much it improves your manicure, they’ll instantly become part of your routine.

Please don’t leave it too long before getting them done.

The recommended amount of time you should have gel nails on is two to three weeks, and although it can be tempting to leave them for longer if they don’t look outgrown or chipped, you should try to get them done within the recommended time. 

If not, you do cause potential damage to your nail beds; again, it can weaken them. Another issue with leaving them too long is that any moisture that can get under the nail once the gel starts lifting can cause bacteria to grow, leading to infections.

This may not be a common thing to happen, but it is possible and something that we’d all like to avoid, so make sure you don’t leave it too long.

Allowing your nails to have a break

If you find it hard to get your nails redone regularly, giving your nails a break is also beneficial. Having back-to-back manicures will cause your nails to get dehydrated, so giving your nails a break every other manicure or so will help strengthen your nails.

Not only that, but it will make your future manicure better quality, so your nails will defiantly thank you and reward you for the much-needed break.


That is how to fix your gel nails that have lifted and some easy tips to prevent it from happening; I hope you have found this helpful and you’ve found simple ways to make sure your manicures are lasting longer in better condition.

It is important to remember that it is best to get a professional to fix or remove gel nails simply because it is safer, and it’ll probably be quicker.

The main thing is to make sure you keep your nails healthy and strong, so with all of these methods and tips, keep your hands moisturised and protected to keep your hands and nails looking the best.

You Have Style maintains the highest editorial standards, providing unbiased and expert views from reliable sources. Our editor is committed to creating trustworthy, accurate, and reliable content. Learn more.

Similar Posts