Gel Nail Cleansers have been around for a while now and some nail techs swear that they are absolutely needed to make your gel manicures look clean and spotless. But is this true?
I have been working with gel nails for many years now and I have used Gel Cleansers many times. I have also compared them to how well they perform to their alternatives.
So in this article, I am going explain what Gel Nail Cleansers are, what they are used for, the best brands, and also some alternatives that you can use.
What are Gel Nail Cleansers
Gel Nail Cleansers are made mostly with alcohol and are formulated primarily to help remove the sticky wet layer from gel manicures after curing.
But they can also be used to clean and prep your natural nails before applying nail products such as gel polish, builder gels, or acrylic.
Uses for Gel Nail Cleansers
Gel Cleansers have 2 main uses:
1- To Wipe Away the Wet Sticky Residue on Your Gel Top Coat.
Gel Cleansers are used to remove the sticky residue from your gel top coat after curing. This residue forms because the oxygen prevents some of the gel from curing completely.
After curing gel products a sticky residue is left over which is completely normal and only needs to be cleaned away from your gel top coat. The sticky residue on your colored gel polish does not need to be wiped away, it actually helps the top coat to adhere better to the colored gel polish.
So after curing your gel top coat you can use a lint-free cotton pad soaked with the Gel Cleanser to wipe away the sticky residue from your gel top coat.
To learn more about this check out my article on How to Remove Sticky Residue from Gel Nails.
2- To Clean & Prep Your Natural Nails Before Applying Nail Products
Gel Cleansers can also be used to prep your natural nails before applying any nail products like gel or acrylic. They work by cleaning off any moisture, dust, and oil from the nail plate.
Moisture, oil, and dust can prevent the gel, acrylic, or polish from bonding to your nail plate which is why they need to be removed.
If your nails are not properly cleaned before applying nail products lifting and peeling can occur.
To learn why its so important to prep and your clean your nails check out my article on the 10 Tips to Make Your Gel Nails Last Longer
Best Gel Cleansers
I have tried a few Gel Cleansers over the years and 2 best ones that are still available are:
1- Gelish Gel Cleansers
Gelish is the company that helped pioneer gel nail polishes. They are well known for amazing quality. And in my opinion, their Gel Cleansers live up to their reputation.
Gelish Gel Cleansers work quickly to wipe away any sticky residue from your top coat. And you don’t need to use much either just a little is needed. They also work well to clean up your nail plate to remove any moisture and dust.
Now my main issue with Gelish Gel Cleansers is that they are a bit pricey especially when compared to an alternative like basic rubbing alcohol. You can click here to see the price for Gelish Gel Cleansers on Amazon.
2- Karlash Gel Cleansers
Karlash Gel Cleansers are another great cleansers you can use. They work quickly and effectively.
But just like Gelish they are a bit pricey when compared to basic rubbing alcohol. You can click here to see the price for a bottle of Karlash Gel Cleansers
Are Gel Cleansers Really Needed
I definitely agree that Gel Cleansers does a really good job at removing the sticky layer and cleaning your nail plate but they have cheaper alternatives like rubbing alcohol that work just as well.
A 16 ounce bottle of rubbing alcohol cost half of what the same 16 ounce bottle of Gel Cleanser costs.
Some Gel Cleansers brands would argue that their formulas are the best at wiping away the sticky residue to give your manicure an extra clean look without any cloudiness.
But after years of using rubbing alcohol to clean my gel nails, I have found that Gel Cleansers will give you the same results except they just cost more and take up more space.
I prefer using alcohol wipes when wiping off the sticky residue from my gel top coat. It is more convenient and it it allows me to use 1 wipe per nail. I have found that this is the best way to make your gel nails look extra clean and glossy. Click here to see the wipes that I use.
I also prefer using nail dehydrators to prep my nail plate before application. Dehydrators are stronger and work better at removing oil and moisture.
Pro Tip – if you want to avoid having to wipe away the sticky residue then considering using No Wipe Gel Top Coats – click here to learn more.
DIY Alternatives to Gel Cleansers
To clean off the sticky residue from your gel top coat you can use:
- Rubbing Alcohol along with a lint-free cotton pad can be used to wipe away the sticky residue. I prefer using rubbing alcohol rather than Gel Cleansers since it tends to be cheaper and works just as well.
- An Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover a small amount of acetone-free nail polish remover can be used to wipe away the sticky residue from your gel top coat. Just don’t use too much.
Alternative ways to clean and prep your natural nails before applying nail products are:
- Rubbing Alcohol Or Acetone – you can use a cotton pad soaked with either rubbing alcohol or acetone to help clean off any dust from your nail plates
- Nail Dehydrators – are really good at removing moisture and any oils on your nail plate in my opinion they work better at doing this than gel cleansers.
You can click here to learn How to DIY Clean and Prep Your Nail Plate Before Applying Manicures.