Why Do My Polygel Nails Pop Off?

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PolyGel nails are everywhere nowadays. They were a relative unknown compared to gels and acrylics, but since the pandemic, many have grown to love the ease of use and fun process of doing PolyGel manicures.

They are easy they are to apply, are pretty easy to remove, and should last for up to a month. However, sometimes they just pop off!

If this is you, asking “Why do my polygel nails pop off?”, then you’ve come to the right article. We are going to discuss the possible causes of PolyGel nails popping off, and what you need to do to prevent this from occurring.


PolyGel 101 

Lots of us love artificial nails. They simply make our nails look better and stand out. There are endless designs, shapes, nail stamps, and art. The sky’s the limit!

PolyGel nails  are artificial nails that many consider one of the best products available. That’s because they are quite durable and may be able to last for as long as four weeks. 

Apart from their durability, many prefer PolyGels because they can keep natural nails relatively healthy. They are more flexible and you don’t need damaging chemicals to remove them. 

Best of all, they don’t produce fumes that could be irritating and cause some people headaches. They are the type of artificial nails that is relatively nail-friendly, so they don’t eat away at your nails. 

Why Do My PolyGel Nails Pop Off?

Although PolyGel nails seem perfect, many people run into problems with using them, especially in the beginning. One of the most frustrating things that could happen is when they pop off, even if you haven’t had them for long. 

Polygel nails are supposed to be durable, and they should be able to last for up to four weeks! But when they pop off, there is little you can do. You just can’t reattach them easily. 

There are a few reasons why the nails pop off. Some of them are due to various issues you face when you prepare the nails before the application.

There are some instances when the right products aren’t used, so they don’t adhere properly to your natural nails. 

1. Excessive Use Of Slip Solution

In order to make the PolyGels easier to form or sculpt, a ”slip   is used. Slip Solution makes the PolyGel malleable so you can shape it easily as you wish.

This essentially thins out the PolyGel so it can be easily moved. 

However, the slip solution is cure resistant. That means that if you use too much of it, the PolyGel may not be able to properly cure. In some cases, the PolyGel doesn’t cure at all. 

Slip solutions will usually contain isobutyl acetate and isopropyl alcohol. However, each brand may have its own formula so you should always check the one that you are using. 

2. Use Of Slip Solution Alternatives

Some may not use slip solution, and choose an alternative like rubbing alcohol, base coats for gel nails, or a nail polish remover that’s acetone-free. However, those alternatives aren’t really able to help the PolyGels maintain their structure. 

There are some people who use acetone as an alternative to the slip solution. The problem is acetone is used to remove the PolyGel from the nails. 

It is not a good slip solution substitute because it will just eat away and thin out the PolyGel. Adding acetone to your PolyGel solution will thin it out, but it will also impact the adhesive quality of the gel.

Adding acetone to your PolyGel solution will thin it out, but it will also impact the adhesive quality of the gel.

When acetone is used as a slip solution, the curing process is greatly affected. You may find that it takes longer to cure the PolyGels, or the PolyGels may not cure at all.

Another alternative that other people tried to use is hand sanitizers because of their isopropyl alcohol content. However, apart from the isopropyl alcohol, they contain other ingredients that could negatively affect the adherence of the polygel on your nails. 

It’s best to stick with actual Slip Solution if you’re able to.

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2. Too Much Bending While Filing

The tips are usually filed into shape after you’ve applied the PolyGel on your nails. When doing that, it is possible that the PolyGels are being bent too much. If you push them too far, the adhesive seal will be weakened before they are properly set. After a little while, the nails may pop off. 

This is a mistake that is commonly made by those who are still beginners at using PolyGels.

However, it can be avoided by properly holding the nails and giving adequate support to them. That way, you can properly file the nails to the right shape without excessively bending them. 

3. Very Long Polygel Nails

The length of your nails is a personal preference. But if you wish to have very long nails, you may want to choose another artificial nail product besides PolyGel. 

Although PolyGel is durable, it is still not ideal for those who want loads of extra length. There needs to be adequate support for the PolyGel so that it doesn’t easily pop off. Additionally, you should make sure that it doesn’t attach to the skin. 

Usually, if the polygel nails are significantly longer than your natural nails, they could easily pop off. The key here is to have proper support for your PolyGel nails. 

Longer PolyGel nails work, but your natural nails need to be longer and stronger as well. The nails should be strong and healthy enough to support the weight of the polygel nails used on them. 

Longer nails pop off more frequently, simply because of the activities you do throughout the day. It is possible that you could accidentally pop off a PolyGel nail because of misuse. Be gentle on your PolyGels!

4. Your Nail Type

Depending on the type of nails you have, PolyGel nails may pop off easily. Those who have dry nails tend to have nails that easily chip, are cracked, or flake easily. 

If your nails are dry, PolyGels could pop off with some of the topmost layers of your natural nails attached to them. Fun times!

If your nails are dry, PolyGels could pop off with some of the topmost layers of your natural nails attached to them. Fun Times! 

Those who have oily nails tend to have shiny nails even if there aren’t any products applied to them. Although oily nails may be better or healthier than dry nails, they could still make it a bit more challenging to apply artificial nails. 

Due to the oiliness of the nails, PolyGel and other nail products may not be able to properly adhere. That could mean that the PolyGel nails pop off within a few days of application. 

One of the best things to do if your nails are oily is to use a nail dehydrator. This helps remove the excess oils on your nails so that artificial nail products can properly adhere to them. 

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Nail dehydrators aren’t only useful for polygel nails. They can be used when using acrylic nails or gel nails. Apart from helping in the adhesion of artificial nail products, the dehydrator could help make the nails look better. It helps the products properly and consistently settle on the nails. 

5. Improper Nail Preparation

Another common reason why polygel nails could pop off is that the nails aren’t properly prepared. In that case, the polygel doesn’t properly attach to the nails. 

As mentioned above, oils can prevent the polygel from properly adhering to the nails so removing oil on the surface of your nails should be done. 

You can do this by using a nail dehydrator or simply wiping off the nail with rubbing alcohol. This also helps remove the other debris and dirt on the surface of the nail. 

Another thing you should do is buff the nails. This creates texture so that the PolyGel adheres better. However, be careful not to overdo it! 

Additionally, you should push back the cuticles, too. This makes your nails look better and gives more space for the PolyGel to adhere to. 

How To Prevent PolyGel From Popping Off

How to PolyGel

Knowing the reasons why PolyGel nails could pop off will better help you to determine what to do in order to avoid that.

Here are a few ways how to prevent them from popping off. 

1. Follow Your Specific Instructions

There are a million PolyGel kits out there now, and each one has a varying set of instructions. You may be familiar with one brand, but are starting to use another. Be sure to check the instructions to make sure you’re following the instructions for the PolyGel you’re using.

It matters!

2. Poper Nail Prep

One of the most important things to do is to properly prep your nails. Nail prep is key when it comes to using PolyGels. Don’t skip proper nail prep and don’t rush it too. Creating a proper base for the PolyGel will help make sure it lasts longer. 

”Dehydrators   could be used before polygel nails. These products help prep the nails by removing the excess oil in them. They help prepare the surface so that it would be ideal for the PolyGel.

3. Gel Base Coat And Top Coat

A gel base coat and top coat can be used with polygel nails. The base coat improves the nail surface so that the polygel sticks better. The topcoat on the other hand will help protect the top surface so it doesn’t easily break or chip. 

However, don’t try to use a base coat as a top coat, or vice versa!

4. Completely Dry The Polygel

Make sure that the PolyGel is completely dry by giving them enough time to be exposed to UV light. The PolyGel should be completely dry or they could lift. Make sure it cures properly by using quality UV lamps.

Thin layers will help make sure that the PolyGels dry thoroughly. Don’t create PolyGels that are too thick because the inner layers may not be properly cured.


PolyGel is a great DIY manicure method that is worth trying, and worth mastering. But sometimes your PolyGel nails will pop off (hey it happens with dip nails, press-ons, acrylics, etc, too!).

Follow the tips above, and your PolyGels should stay firmly attached to your natural nails for 3-4 weeks. Good luck!

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).