5 Simple Ways To Get Pen Off Off Gel Nails In 2023

by Zoe Scott
Get Pen Off Of Gel Nails

If you’re here, chances are you’ve had a close encounter with a leaky pen, an over-enthusiastic toddler, or simply a moment of inattention. One moment you’re admiring your glimmering gel nails and the next, you’re staring at unsightly ink streaks. But no worries, my beauties, I’ve got your back.

In this post, we’ll decode the mystery of removing pen marks from your gel nails without compromising their shine or durability. We’ll explore them all, from household items and professional products to salon-approved techniques. You’ll learn the best strategies for tackling this pesky issue and get insight into understanding the nature of gel nails and ink, setting you up for success should you ever face this again.

So, grab your notepad (ironically, but carefully, we don’t want another pen incident, do we?), get comfy, and let’s dive into the world of gel nail rescue. Because even though our lives may not always be spotless, our nails certainly can be!

The “Why” Behind Stains on Gel Nails: A Glossy Predicament

ink on nail
Photo by John-Mark Smith via Pexels

Oh, gel nails! They’re the go-to for anyone seeking the glam of a salon-perfect manicure that outlasts the typical Polish lifespan. I still remember my first gel manicure – the awe-inspiring glimmer and the joy of not worrying about chipping or peeling for weeks! But soon, I realized a “however” lurks in this dreamy world of gel nails. Yes, my lovelies, they’re a magnet for stains from substances like hair dye and (the bane of today’s topic) pen ink.

The science behind it is that gel nails contain these magical substances called acrylic monomers. When they meet our good ol’ friend oxygen, they harden into a plastic-like material, akin to Cinderella’s glass slipper. Unlike the perfect glass slipper, the twist is that these monomers are porous. It’s like your nails are throwing a house party, and stubborn stains are those gatecrashers that dive deep beneath the surface and refuse to leave.

My nemesis? Glitter. I love a sprinkle of sparkle on my nails, but those additional colorants and glitters also mean my nails are more likely to pick up stains from dyes or pigments they meet along the way.

Remember, gel manicures can stay flawless for up to three weeks, depending on how we care for them. But this long wear time means our pretty little nails are exposed to potential staining agents longer. I remember once, after a particularly adventurous garden project, I noticed some annoying stains despite my careful handling. Yep, life can be hard on our manicures!

Keeping Those Glossy Nails Pristine: Preventing Stains

When you’ve invested time and love into your gel manicure, the last thing you want is a dreaded stain ruining the view. Over the years, I’ve picked up some tips and tricks to keep my nails looking their best. And, of course, I’m sharing these with you, my favorite readers!

Rule number one in my book is essential but vital: clean hands and happy nails. Always wash your hands before eating and after any activity that risks dirt or oils gatecrashing your gel nail party.

In my days of pen-wielding, note-taking frenzy, and even during my DIY hair-dying adventures, I’ve found that gloves are my nails’ best friends. When dealing with potential staining agents, suit up and protect your manicure.

But cleanliness doesn’t stop at hand-washing. Keep your nails in tip-top shape by giving them extra love after each activity. A gentle scrub with water and mild soap can work wonders.

And what if you still spot that pesky stain trying to steal your shine? My secret weapon is rubbing alcohol or an acetone-free nail polish remover. A little on a cotton ball or pad can gently kiss the stain goodbye without messing up your base color.

Toothpaste – Not Just for Pearly Whites!

Photo by 莎莉 彭 on Unsplash

Let’s start with something you probably have in your bathroom cabinet right now – toothpaste! Yes, it works miracles on your teeth, and guess what? It can also be your first line of defense against those stubborn ink marks. Wet your finger, dip it into some toothpaste, and rub it gently over the stain. A quick wipe with a damp cloth, and voila, you may find your nails back in the game.

When Household Items Come to the Rescue

Suppose the toothpaste didn’t do the trick, no worries. We still have some reliable options to try. One of my go-to stain-busting duos is acetone nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol and a cotton pad. Just a few gentle swipes can work wonders.

Have you ever tried the magic of baking soda? Mix it with water, dab it onto your nail for about 30 seconds, and wipe it off with a damp cloth. Alternatively, a good old soap and water mix can save the day.

For Those More Stubborn Stains

Sometimes, the pen marks are so determined they don’t want to leave. In such situations, I’ve found a water and bleach mix can come to the rescue. Apply it to the stain for about 5 minutes, then gently scrub it off with an old toothbrush. Remember, a good hand rinse in cold water after any bleach encounter is a must.

But if these home remedies don’t work, it’s time to call in the experts. Your nail salon has access to robust cleaning materials that might do the trick.

Kiss Ink Stains Goodbye on Acrylic Nails

 Acrylic Nails
Photo by Sarah Cervantes on Unsplash

Moving on to acrylic or shellac nails, the procedure for dealing with ink stains is slightly different. Try a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover. A few seconds of rubbing can often be the remedy you need.

If your nail stubbornly holds onto the ink, you might need to redo the stained acrylic. Soak-off wraps, or an acetone-based remover can strip off the stained layers and leave your nail ready for a fresh start. Remember, when dealing with acrylics, avoid anything abrasive. We want to remove the stain, not the pin!

Unlock the Power of Hairspray

Alright, my beauty detectives, here’s a less-known trick for removing ink stains from gel nail polish – hairspray! It’s gentle yet powerful enough to break up the stain molecules. Remember to always test on a small skin patch before applying directly to your nails.

Once you’ve checked for any reaction, ensure your nail is ink-free before applying the hairspray. Please give it a few minutes to do its magic, gently wipe away the residue, and rinse with warm water. Rest assured, your gel color won’t be disturbed during this process.

Bring Out the Big Guns: Isopropyl Alcohol

Isopropyl Alcohol
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

If you’re still battling a persistent stain, it’s time to bring out the big gun – isopropyl alcohol. This stuff can cut through most pen stains like a hot knife through butter.

Wash your hands and the stained nail with warm water and soap. Then, apply a few drops of isopropyl alcohol directly to the stain. This should start to dissolve the ink, letting you easily wipe it away.

After the stain vanishes, remove any leftover residue with acetone or nail polish. Finish up with a clear topcoat, and your gel nail is ready for any fresh color or decoration you desire.

Remember, isopropyl alcohol isn’t just a one-trick pony. It’s also handy for cleaning surfaces and removing residue from products like shellac or glitter polishes.

So there you have it, folks! A mini survival guide for when your nails run-in with a pen. With these tips, you’re ready to face ink invaders head-on! Stay bold and beautiful!

Micellar Magic on a Cotton Swab

Cotton Swab
Photo by Olivier Bergeron on Unsplash

If you’ve never used micellar water for nail care, now’s the time to start. Here’s my little routine for it.

Wet a cotton pad with lukewarm water, give it a good squeeze to lose any excess water, and then drench it in the magic potion — micellar water. Now gently work the pad onto your stained nail until the stain lifts.

After removing as much ink as you can, pat your finger dry with a paper towel or tissue. Time for some TLC! Apply acetone-free cuticle oil on the stain and let it soak in for a few minutes. Wipe away any excess fat, and voila, you’re all set. And remember, always wash your hands after this process to ensure no residual oil remains.

Wipe Away Stains with Alcohol Wipes

Alcohol wipes are a staple in my beauty kit, and here’s one reason why.

Start with a clean slate – use an alcohol wipe to remove any dirt or debris on your nail. Follow it up with a second wipe soaked in acetone or polish remover. Now, gently rub the stained area in circular motions until the stain disappears.

A small brush can be your best ally if you’ve got some tricky spots near the cuticles or nail edges. Once you’ve defeated the stain, swipe a fresh dry cotton pad to remove any lingering residue, and finish with a gentle buffing session.

The Natural Power of Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

For my organic-loving buddies, here’s an Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) solution from your pantry. Pour some ACV into a shallow bowl, and let your stained nail enjoy a 10-minute soak.

If you have any stubborn polish lurking around, gently wipe it off with a cotton swab or a soft cloth. Armed with an old toothbrush and your ACV mixture, scrub away the stains until your nail is spotless again.

Remember to rinse your hand to banish any lingering vinegar residue. And if you spot some remnants of the stain, lemon juice can work its brightening magic. A 10-minute session should do the trick before a final rinse.

Coconut Oil: More than a Beauty Elixir

Coconut Oil
Photo by Tijana Drndarski on Unsplash

What’s coming next? That’s right! The miracle worker, coconut oil, can free your gel nails from pen stains.

Apply a liberal amount of coconut oil to the stained area and massage it gently. Let it rest for several minutes before wiping it off or rinsing it with warm water. Don’t lose heart if the stain proves to be a hard nut to crack.

A cotton ball soaked in coconut oil, placed on the affected nail for twenty minutes, can often do the trick. Afterward, gently rub away any remaining stain with your finger or an emery board.

And there you have it, my fabulous friends. A stain on your gel nails is no longer a beauty disaster. With these tips, you can get your flawless manicure back quickly. Until next time, keep shining!

What Other Household Items Can Be Used To Remove Pen Ink Stains From Gel Nails?

Getting a pen ink stain on your gel nails can feel like a disaster, but don’t fret just yet. You might be surprised to find that many everyday household items can be real lifesavers when tackling those stubborn stains! Let’s check out a few more options that might be tucked away in your pantry or medicine cabinet.

  1. Hand Sanitizer: Yes, that sanitizer bottle in your purse isn’t just for germ-fighting. Its high alcohol content can break down the ink molecules, making it easier to wipe off the stain.
  2. Milk: It may sound unusual, but milk can work wonders on ink stains. Soak your nails in a milk bowl for 15-20 minutes, then gently scrub the stained area with a toothbrush.
  3. White Vinegar and Cornstarch: Make a paste with these two ingredients and apply it to the stained nail. Let it dry, then wash it off. The vinegar helps to dissolve the ink while the cornstarch absorbs it.
  4. Salt and Lemon Juice: Mix a little salt and lemon juice to create a gentle, natural scrub. Apply it to your nails, gently rub it in, then rinse it off.
  5. Toothpaste: Non-gel toothpaste (plain white) can help lift ink stains. Apply a bit onto the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, then gently scrub it off.
  6. Baking Soda and Water: Make a paste of baking soda and water, apply it to the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, and then scrub gently.

Remember, everyone’s nails are different, and reactions can vary. Always try a small amount first to see how your nails react, and make sure to moisturize your hands and nails after using these methods, as some can be drying. With patience and some elbow grease, your gel nails can be free of pen ink in no time!


And there you have it, gorgeous friends – the insider’s guide to saving your beautiful gel nails from pesky pen stains! With handy helpers right in your home, like micellar water, alcohol wipes, apple cider vinegar, and the miracle-worker coconut oil, you can wave goodbye to those annoying ink spots. Remember, though, while these methods are usually safe, everyone’s nails are different, so always test a small area first to ensure you don’t have an adverse reaction. But don’t let that deter you; the beauty of DIY fixes is the ability to adapt and find what works best for you. Remember to take care of your nails by hydrating them with cuticle oil post any treatment. Embrace the beauty journey, keep those nails looking fabulous, and never let a little stain stand in your way. Now, go forth and flaunt those flawless manicures, you nail-art champions!

Feature image by Budka Damdinsuren on Unsplash

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