GEORGE TOWN: “When in doubt, leave it out.” That seems to be the motto of many who like to have their nails painted.

With the Election Commission advising voters to come with their hands and nails “clean”, many are deciding that they should not risk being denied the chance to vote tomorrow.

They worry that painted fingernails coated with gel polish (methacrylate polymer) may cause problems when they have to dip their fingers into the bottles of indelible ink.

The solution? They are now having the nail polish removed from either one or both index fingers, which will have to be dipped into the indelible ink.

That’s good news for manicurists in the city. Many are practically working non-stop now. Removing gel polish thoroughly takes about 15 minutes.

Gels have to be removed by soaking in acetone (a solvent) for at least 10 minutes, while traditional nail polish can be easily wiped away with nail polish remover.

Riko Tang, 30, who runs a nail salon here, said she had been fully booked by clients for gel polish removal.

“Clients have been coming in all week to have their gel polish removed.

“Many are worried that they might be turned away from balloting if they have nail polish on. When you have gel coat on your nails, it needs to be professionally removed,” she said.

Tang said she did not want her clients’ nail polish to react unfavourably with the indelible ink, and had therefore been advising clients not to get their fingers painted until after they vote.

Her appointment book is also packed for the next few days with those who want their fingernails re-painted right after voting.

Another manicurist, also believing that it is better to be safe than sorry, is offering free nail polish removal for her customers’ index fingers.

Doris Ch’ng, 20, said she would reapply the polish at no charge after her customers return from voting

“This offer is for people who wish to remove the gel polish on their index fingers.

“We will re-paint them for free next week after they have voted. It is our way of thanking them for exercising their right to vote,” she said.

Manicurist Eve Kung, 36, said she had removed her own nail polish so she could go to vote with clean nails.

“I have not decided on a colour to repainted, but I will probably go for something dark to mask the ink if it does not come off,” she said.

Mabel Chua, a former advertising sales support executive, said she was told by her manicurist that her light pink gel nail polish would not be a problem.

“I painted my nails last month and was worried about voting, but my manicurist assured me that it should not be a problem.

“I was told as long as my nails are not painted to promote any political party or show my inclination, it is not a problem,” said Chua, who will have her nails done after elections.

“At first, I thought that I will have to use a darker shade, but was told it should not matter as my nail would be filed first to remove the ink stain (before polish is applied),” she said.