Why Do My Gel X Nails Keep Popping Off


Why Do My Gel X Nails Keep Popping Off - Tips to Follow to Avoid This



12 MIN READ | January 29, 2024

Soft gel nails i.e. Gel X last anywhere from 2-5 weeks depending on the products, application technique and maintenance. So, these factors have to be kept in mind to make the extensions stay longer. In case they come off prematurely, this means something has gone wrong.

Usually, gel x nails popping off due to various factors like improper nail prep, wrong application technique, product quality issues, incorrect tips size, rough handling of nails or skin conditions. Multiple problems but there are solutions as well to prevent or fix them. Let’s know how these issues pop up and how to deal with them.

Gel X Nails Popping Off Causes and Solutions

Gel X Nails Popping Off Causes and Solutions

1. Improper Nail Preparation

A pop-off of Gel X nails can happen when the natural nail isn’t prepared well.

It mainly involves shaping, buffing, cleansing, dehydrating and priming. When any step is skipped or done incorrectly, it leaves the nail plate with uneven texture and particles which prevent Gel X nails from sitting well and lead to them coming off.

So, nail prep is a must and it’s required for both artificial and natural nails. It helps create a working surface for the Gel X nails to adhere to for a longer period.

2. Product Problems

Use of incorrect, low-quality and/or expired products can result in poor adhesion meaning the Gel X nails will pop off.

So, make sure the products are compatible with one another. Among them, adhesive is one of the most essential items. Not all the adhesives will work with soft gel nails. For instance, hard gel will be too rigid making such extensions prone to breaking and popping off. There’s a special glue called extend gel that’s formulated particularly for ensuring proper bonding between Gel X and natural nails. A builder gel can also be used as an alternative.

Besides, the quality and validity also matter. Use high-quality products and they must be within their shelf life. And it’s applicable for not just the glue, but also for other items be it dehydrator or primer.

3. Improper Application Technique

Incorrect application technique has a lot to do with Gel X popping off.

If the tip is applied too closely to the cuticle or overlaps the cuticle, it lifts because of the presence of sebum surrounding the skin. In that case, keep a little gap and find the right spot to place the tip. In case the gap looks odd, cover it with some nail arts.

Insufficient coverage is another reason why Gel X nails may pop off. If there’s any gap between the natural and artificial nails, the bonding will be weak. To prevent that, make sure the adhesive covers the entire area of the back of Gel X so that it aligns with the natural nail plate without leaving any gaps.

Thick layer of adhesives can also lead to Gel X nails lifting. When glue is applied too thick, it creates weak bonding spots and traps air bubbles between artificial and natural nail surfaces causing soft gels to come off. So, make sure the coat of glue is thin and applied evenly.

4. Lack of Thorough Curing

When soft gel nails aren’t cured properly, the molecules in it fail to bond together correctly. As a result, the manicure stays soft, becomes tacky and develops bubbles causing Gel X to get wobbly and come off in the end.

It’s a must to use the right UV or LED lamp and cure Gel X nails thoroughly for 30-90 seconds. When they feel hard and smooth to touch, it means they are fully cured.

5. Incorrect Sizing

Choosing a tip that’s too small leads to unwanted tension and pressure within the Gel X structure while bigger tip prevents it from conforming perfectly to the natural nail. Either way creates weak spots causing tips to lift and eventually come off prematurely.

The tips should fit from sidewall to sidewall. If you don’t find the right size from the collection, it’s wise to go a size up and trim or file it to the proper size so it fits on the nail plate.

6. Rough Handling

Rough handling is one of the low-key reasons why Gel X nails pop off.

When nails encounter a trauma or are used as tools for instance to open jars, do household chores or pick at, it gradually weakens the bond and results in soft gels separating from the natural nails. In that case, it’s better to avoid using nails much and look for other tools to open things.

Avoid doing anything that causes excessive exposure to water as it makes the nail plate absorb water and swell. This eventually affects the adhesion and ends up with Gel X lifting. For instance, doing dishes, washing hands too much or using moisturizer too much. Although there’s no way to avoid water completely, you can limit the exposure and handle the soft gel nails with proper care.

7. Issues with Nails

Certain skin conditions can reduce adhesion between tips and natural nails which results in Gel X popping off.

Nail diseases and disorders like onychomycosis, psoriasis, dermatomyositis, onycholysis and ochronosis affect nails and tissues surrounding them which can weaken bond of tips with the natural nails and cause Gel X nails to pop off.

Not just that, nail abnormalities like Beau’s lines and pitting, which refer to dents and ridges in nails mainly, can lead to poor adhesion and extension coming off.

It’s not at all recommended to apply Gel X nails if someone has nail disorders or diseases since it can worsen the problem.

How To Apply Gel X Nails Securely To Avoid Them Popping Off?

How To Apply Gel X Nails Securely To Avoid Them Popping Off

Follow these easy steps on how to prep your nails for Gel X to keep them securely in place and avoid any unexpected popping off.

Nail Prep

Shape your nails at first in a way so that the tip fits properly. Now, wash the hands to get rid of oils or dirt. Use high-quality tools and products since they ensure the nails are free of dust and moisture.

Now, push the cuticles back using a pusher tool or wood stick carefully without hurting them. Nail techs may include cuticle trimming here but note that cuticles protect nails and surrounding skin from infection. That’s why health experts suggest you avoid cutting cuticles as it disrupts the barrier protection of nail.

Nail Buffing

Buff the nails using a fine grit file or buffer with coarse level ranging from 240-320 grit. It works to make the nail plate rougher so that the Gel X sticks to it better.

Make sure to avoid buffing too thin or too often since it can weaken the nails.

Dehydrating and Priming

Apply dehydrator to remove all the oils or moisture from the natural nail. Then use a primer which works to degrease surface and create a sticky layer to help extensions adhere better to the nail plate.

Tips Sizing

Choose the right tip size for each nail. When the extension aligns with the shape of the nail and fits along the sidewalls, it helps with better adhesion. If there’s issue with fitment, go with bigger tips and cut them down to the size that fits properly.

Adhesive Application

Apply a thin layer of glue to the natural nail at first and then cure it for 30 seconds since it helps with the bonding better.

Then, use a layer of thick adhesive such as Extend Gel or Builder Gel and coat the back of the Gel X tip with it. Make sure to use a good amount of glue to cover the entire area of the back but don’t go overboard as it can leak. Drop a small drop of blob down the tip.

Gel X Application

Place the Gel-X Tip at a 45-degree angle on the nail plate. Gently press it down and forward until the glue has flowed to the free edge. Make sure the pressure is consistent. Remove any glue leaks with a wooden stick or lint-free wipe.


Cure the soft gel nails under UV or LED lamp following the manufacturer’s direction. The time varies based on the lamp type, extension quality and glues. However, it should take between 30 and 90 seconds.

Check the Gel X for any remaining traces of glue. File and shape them gently again. Now, it’s ready for mani.

How To Keep Gel X Nails Strong?

Regular maintenance can help a lot to keep Gel X nails strong. With proper care, soft gel manicures can last up to 5 weeks. With these following Gel X tips and a little extra care, you’ll be enjoying your extended nails for weeks to come!

  1. After applying the Gel X nails, avoid water as much as possible for the first 24 hours. It’s also recommended to limit exposure to water throughout the soft gel mani.
  2. Avoid exposing Gel X to high temperatures. Try to keep the nails away from flames when cooking.
  3. Wear gloves when dealing with soaps or detergents as harsh chemicals can also weaken adhesion.
  4. Don’t use nails as tools to open things.
  5. Don’t pick at nails or put stress on them.
  6. Apply cuticle oil and moisturizer frequently to keep the nails healthy and prevent dehydration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Gel X Weaken Nails?

No. Gel X doesn’t have harmful chemicals that can weaken nails but factors like improper application, improper removal process and prolonged use can cause damage to the nails.

Make sure to apply the Gel X following the steps properly and remove it carefully. It’s recommended to let an expert remove the extensions so that it’s done without any issue. Also, take them off after 4 weeks even if they don’t pop off to give the natural nails a break. Take proper care of the nails and keep them moisturized for some time before going with next mani.

Can You Get Fills With Gel X?

Yes, Gel X can be filled with builder gel, extend gel, poly gel or any nail art when natural nails grow out over time.

For the liquids, the technique is similar. The surface should be buffed to get rid of ridges and smoothen it out. Then coat the natural grow-out area with primer and then base coat to create a bondable layer and cure the liquids. Next apply builder gel or other counterpart to the entire surface pulling from grow-out area through the end of Gel X tip. Coat it properly and make sure the surface feels even.

Do Nails Need A Break From Gel X?

Yes. Nails need to take a break at least 1-2 weeks from Gel X once every 8 weeks so that they get time to rehydrate and allow repair of the nail bed structures.


Dylan Mustapich is a NYC-based lead esthetician who has been featured in New Beauty, Teen Vogue, Wired, and The Huffington Post. With a lifelong love of all things skin, he is incredibly knowledgeable about skincare ingredients, routine refinement, and personalized skincare, and follows emerging technology closely.

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