Why Does My White Gel Nail Polish Turn Yellow? How to Fix It!

Anyone who knows how much time and effort goes into a manicure would know what a blessing gel nails can be.

In this article, we’re going to provide you with all the available solutions. But first, here’s a quick roundup answer for you to take away and get your gel nails perfect. Then we’ll dive into more detail...

Why does my white gel nail polish turn yellow? A number of reasons including over or under exposure to UV light during the drying process, or your nail coming in contact with strong chemicals such as cleaning agents, makeup products or even spices such as turmeric or smoking, and other reasons we’ll explore.

Unlike regular nail paint, gel nails last for a lot longer, so you can go much longer without needing a fresh manicure. But of course, gel nails, like all nails come with their own set of challenges.

And so, yes, in some cases, white gel nails can tend to turn yellow after a little while.

Regardless of the reason behind the discolouration, nobody likes to see their white gel nail polish turn yellow. Let’s provide some more details around possible causes behind this discolouration, as well as some solutions to help you deal with it.


Reasons behind the gel nail discolouration

Although we get asked this question quite often, there’s no still no one single reason why white gel nails might turn yellow, it could be for a number of reasons or even a combination of them.

And as well as this, there’s no fixed time period as to how long after getting a manicure can you expect white gel nails to discolour.

For some people, the discolouration might start to appear after merely a day or two. For others, it could take a week or more for the nails to start turning yellow.

So the reasons behind the discolouration can vary greatly, and the timeframe is also quite varied.

Some of the most common reasons why your white gel nail polish might be turning yellow are given in more detail below. 

Poor quality gel or products

Unlike acrylic nails, gel nail polishes are non-porous. This means they don’t soak up liquids or get stained when they come in contact with other chemicals or even dirt.

But not every salon uses the same quality of gel. There’s a strong reason why you can get gel nails in just about any budget range.

Generally, the more a nail salon charges you for gel nails, chances are that they are using a better quality nail gel. Of course, this isn’t always true, but there’s no denying the fact that multiple qualities of gels exist and using the below-par gels can cause your nails to turn yellow soon after getting the manicure. 


Smoking doesn’t just cause yellow stains on your teeth, it can also cause your white gel nail polish to turn yellow. So, if you’re a smoker, the chances of you experiencing discolouration on your gel nails are higher.

In fact, you might notice more discolouration on your dominant hand or the hand you hold the cigarette in. Maybe that’s another good reason to give cigarettes a miss!

Exposure to harsh chemicals

Cleaning products, hair dyes, skin care products, make up products, etc. all contain chemicals that might cause yellowing of white gel nails. These chemicals can react with the gel on your nails and either cause discolouration - or make it chip faster. 

Sunlight or self-tanners

Overexposure to sunlight or tanners can also lead to discolouration of your white gel nails.

This is why this problem is more prevalent in summer compared to winter. Also, since not everyone tans in the same way, it might be why people have different experiences of yellowing of their white gel nails after being in a tanning salon or spending a long time in the sun.


The solutions to get nail white again

Fortunately, there are a number of ways that you can fix your white gel nails - if you notice that they’re turning yellow. 

Nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol

For mild to moderate yellowing of white gel nails, you can use nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol. This method is the most effective if you use it soon after the stain appears ...just make sure that you’re not using acetone on your nails!

To fix the discolouration and restore the white colour of your gel nails, use a cotton bud (Q-tip) dipped in remover or rubbing alcohol to lightly rub off the stain. Don’t rub too vigorously though, or you might end up removing the white gel paint.

Scrub it well

If the stain appears right after eating curry, cooking using colouring agents such as turmeric, or using some makeup products; wash your hands using soap and water. Be sure to scrub your nails well to remove any staining agents from your nails - but don’t use anything too harsh!

Soak in lemon and baking soda

Lemon and baking soda are natural bleaching agents. This means they can be a great help to you if you want to remove any yellow stains from your white gel nail polish.

To do this, squeeze a lemon into a bowl of water and add a tablespoon of baking soda to it. Then dip your fingers into the mixture for 10 to 15 minutes. Finally rinse your hands using freshwater, while gently scrubbing your nails ...using just your hands.

Use hairspray

If the yellow stains on your white gel nails aren’t fresh, then lemon juice or nail polish remover might just not cut it.

In this case, using hairspray can be an effective solution. Place your hand on a towel and generously spray hairspray on your nails till you can see that they’re wet. Then use a cotton bud to gently scrub off the stains. Finally, wash your hands using fresh water and soap.

Soak in tea tree oil

Tee tree oil is a natural stain remover. Simply soak the stained nail in a bowl filled with water and two tablespoons of tea tree oil. Let the nail soak for 5 to 10 minutes and then wash your hand. You can repeat the process once a day until the stain goes away.

Get your nails redone

If all else fails, and home-remedies aren’t able to get rid of the yellow stains on your white gel nails, then it might be time to return to the nail salon.

Depending upon the severity of the stains or the discolouration, you could either get some spot-fixing, get one or two nails redone, or get all of your nails redone.

However, if you feel that it’s the quality of the gel that is to blame, then it is probably a good idea to head to a different nail salon this time - or do your nails yourself using one of our quality gel nail kits.

How can you prevent your gel nails from discolouring?

While it is nearly impossible to prevent your gel nails from discolouring forever, you can postpone it.

These include using quality products, going to an experienced nail salon that knows the ideal time and intensity of the UV lamps that they should use, regularly applying a top coat to your gel nails, keeping your nails and cuticles moisturized, using gloves when using any products such as cleaning agents that contain strong chemicals, or immediately washing your hands with soap and water after they come in contact with anything that might stain.

Does only white gel nail polish discolour?

The short answer is no. Any gel nail polish can actually change colour after some time for any of the reasons mentioned above. The difference is that we tend to notice an off-white more than other colour changes. Plus colours will change to different colours, For example; red gel nail paint could turn pink or even orange.

But the bottom line is that discolouration can occur in any colour of gel nail polish.

To finish...

We hope this has been useful in providing some reasons and solutions around what to do about your gel nails turning yellow. Be sure to check out our shop for other great products to get that perfect manicure!

NEW TO BLUESKY? Use BLOG15 to get 15% off on your 1st purchase.

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