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Why Are My Gel Nails Changing Color [Turning Brown/Black/Grey]? & How To Remove It

Last Updated on April 27, 2022 by SulaBeauty Staff

If you get a gel manicure more often, you must be aware of this issue. Usually, when you get a fresh gel manicure from a parlor or at home after a few days, you might have noticed your nail polish changing colors turning either black, brown, or grey. 

But people cannot figure out the reason behind this issue. Why do gel nail polishes change color after a few days or weeks

So, in this article, I am going to tell you the reasons behind the question of why my gel nail polish manicure is changing color from brown, black, or grey, and how you can remove them.  

What are the Causes of My Gel Nails Changing Color [Turning Brown, Black, or Grey]

1. Curing your nails

If you are unaware of the term, Curing is the process of drying the nail paints using a Led UV Lamp. This lamp uses UV Light to harden the top of gel nail paints, and because of this machine, people can dry their nails in a couple of minutes, and the nail polish lasts longer when completely dried under UV Light. 

However, over-curing or keeping your gel nail polish under UV Light for a longer period can turn your nails brown after a few days. And similarly, under-curing, i.e., curing for a shorter period, can cause the same change in the appearance of your manicure.  

This is why parlors use a UV Lamp with a timer so if you are doing your gel manicure at home.

I would advise you to get this UV LED Nail Lamp with a timer. This is very easy to use and set up with the desired time from 30, 60, or 90 seconds long.

2. Smoking 

Smoking is a very unhealthy habit and one that can not only deteriorate your health slowly but also dry your skin and change the color of your nails with and without nail polish. The Nicotine and tar used to make cigarettes can turn your nailbed and the skin around your nails yellowish. 

The toxic chemical present in cigarettes affects your gel nail paints, and it can turn them brown/black. So, this is one of the most common reasons why your gel nail polish is changing color.  

3. Chemicals 

Another very acceptable reason is chemicals. Many products such as disinfectants, make-up products, hairsprays, serums, and many more contain strong chemicals that, when they come in contact with your gel nail polish, produce a reaction that can, in turn, cause discoloration.

Therefore, use these URBANSEASONS Dishwashing Rubber Gloves for Cleaning while using such chemicals; they are pretty affordable and durable. 

Hair dyes contain bleach that is proven to change clothes, hair, etc., and if you are somebody who uses them often, you will experience a change of color in your gel manicures. 

Also, skin products for hyperpigmentation contain chemicals like hydroquinone and turmeric that can turn your gel nails brown or yellow.  

4. Sunlight 

People who are extra sensitive to sunlight might have a certain reaction with their nails and skin. Over-exposure of nails to sunlight or UV rays can change the appearance of your gel nail polish. Also, the tan products that people use to protect their skin from sunlight can cause the discoloration of gel nail paints.

If used over your nails, fake tanning products are likely to leave behind brown stains over your gel manicure.  

5. Poor Quality Products 

If your parlor or you are using cheap gel nail polish for your manicure then, you are most likely to experience a change in the appearance of your gel nail paints after a few days. I should remind you that gel nail polishes are non-porous, which means they hold the ability to soak up liquids that cause reactions to occur when they come in contact with chemicals. 

So, I would advise you not to get cheap gel manicures; spend a little more on something like this quality Beetles Gel Polish Set if you want them to last long and look healthy.

6. Infections 

Similar to every part of your body, nails require utmost and constant care. If they are not being taken care of properly, they might develop an infection around the nail and over it due to bacteria. Such infections can also cause a change in the appearance of gel nail polish and natural nails. Such bacterial infections can cause rough edges as well. 

So, I highly recommend you take proper care of your nails and use products of high quality. If the infection isn’t looked upon, the nails can turn black permanently and cause greater damage.  

7. Medical Conditions 

Severe medical conditions like Diabetes, thyroid, liver infections and lack of vitamins or nutrients in your body can cause discoloration of nails. It is not much you can do except have a better diet plan to increase nutrients in such cases.  

How Do You Remove Black, or Grey Stains From Gel Nails? 

Now let’s discuss ways to prevent discoloration of gel nail polish. I know how frustrating it can get that you have to deal with discoloration after a few days of getting a juicy and fresh gel manicure. It ruins the whole mood of investing time and money into getting new manicures again. 

So, worry no more because I am going to provide you with ways how you can remove brown stains from your gel nails:  

1.  Nail Polish Remover Or Alcohol

I know this solution for removing stains from gel nail paints might not look like the best option considering nail polish remover tends to remove gel nail paints. But a tiny amount of acetone or alcohol can help you remove the brown stains from your gel nails. 

You can use Diamond Wipes Acetone Nail Polish Remover Pads. These are so convenient to have and best for traveling too.

All you have to do is, use a cotton earbud and dip it in a nail paint remover, don’t dip it completely. We need significantly less amount of remover; after dipping, with light hands, try scrubbing the stains off your gel nails.  

2.  Soak In Lemon And Baking Soda

Lemon and baking soda act as bleaching agents, and they are proven to be effective in removing brown stains over gel manicure. Squeeze a lemon along with 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a bowl of lukewarm water. Then, submerge your fingertips in the bowl for over 10-15 minutes and then, rinse your hands under running water without soap, slightly scrubbing the stains.  

3.  Grab Your Hairspray

Many people have shared that the hairsprays have helped them get rid of dirty brown stains over their gel nails. Keep your hands over a cloth or towel and then, spray hairspray over your nails until they are completely soaked in them. Then, using a cotton bud or an earbud, try removing the stains. After scrubbing, wash off your hands under tap water with a mild soap. 

4. Tea Tree Oil 

Let us talk about another natural agent that works as an effective stain remover. Tea tree oil has been proven to treat nail fungus and remove brown stains from the nails. Results of this 1994 study found pure tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) was equally as effective as the antifungal clotrimazole (Desenex) in treating fungal toenail infections.

Here is an Organic Tea Tree Oil with Highest Quality Melaleuca Alternifolia.

Add 2-3 drops of tea tree oil in a bowl of water and keep your hands in the water for approximately 12-15 minutes. Afterward, rinse it off with water. 

5. Shaving Cream 

You must be aware that shaving cream contains a bleaching agent – Hydrogen peroxide, you can use shaving creams to get rid of brown stains from your gel nails. Cover a cotton swab or ball with the shaving cream and scrub it on your nails.  

Warning: However, the removal of stains can be hazardous to the fabric - and to the person attempting to get the stain off.  To be successful, care and caution must be exercised.

6. Get A New Set Of Gel Nails 

If nothing seems to work out then, I recommend you get yourself a new gel manicure set, like this one 6 Colors Gel Polish Set. And this time, avoid smoking, use gloves while using detergent or harmful chemicals, avoid over-curing, etc. This way your gel nails will last longer and won’t change color. 

Why Does My Nail Polish Turn Black? 

There can be several reasons why your nail polish is turning black, one of the most common is over-curing which means if you are drying your nails under a UV lamp for more than the time required then, the nail polish can turn black after a few days. Also, smoking is one of the major causes of black nails, the nicotine and tar present in cigarettes can cause discoloration.  

Why Does My Nail Polish Turn Grey? 

As mentioned above, gel nails can turn grey either due to under-curing or over-curing of nails under UV Light. Also, high exposure to sunlight, use of harmful chemicals, skin products, etc. can cause the gel nails to turn their appearance.  

How Can You Prevent Your Gel Nails From Discoloring By Using UV Lamp? 

If you want to prevent your gel nails from discoloring, I would recommend that you understand the curing process. Under-curing and over-curing are not good for your nails and can damage them over time. 

To perfectly cure your nails, apply the first coat of gel nail polish, set your UV lamp for 3 minutes, and put your nails under the lamp. And for all the other coats you apply, only cure for 2 minutes and not more than that.  


I hope this article helped you understand how to take care of your gel nails and remove brown stains from them. I tried my best to include all the possible reasons that led to the discoloration of gel nails. And I hope you keep these reasons in mind for the next time you get a new gel manicure and practice the solutions given above to prevent brown stains. Always wear a rubber glove while using detergents, disinfectants, hair dyes, etc.  

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