How To Remove Acrylic Nails


While removing acrylics is best done at the salon where you got them, it is possible to take them off yourself. Be very careful if you decide to try do-it-yourself acrylic nail removal, as taking them off the wrong way can damage your natural nails.

DIY Acrylic Nail Removal

The most popular method to easily remove acrylic nails at home is to soak them in an acetone solution. Many commercial nail polish removers contain acetone, but not all of them do. Check the bottle so you can be sure that you have the right kind.


Supply List

Here’s what you’ll need to try this method:

  • A generous supply of acetone nail polish remover(enough to soak the fingertips of both hands)
  • A glass bowl large enough for soaking fingertips
  • Towels to cover your work surface and to dry your hands
  • Old towels or rags to wipe away the acrylic
  • Petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline
  • A nail file and a nail buffer with coarse and smooth sides
  • Several orange sticks (used to push back cuticles)
  • Moisturizer

Steps to Removing Nails

It is important to remove acrylics properly in order to avoid causing nail damage. According to celebrity nail artist Britney Tokyo, the best way to remove acrylic nails is to soak them in nail removal acetone. To do this:

  1. Cover your work surface with a towel, being mindful that acetone can damage furniture and other surfaces.
  2. Pour the acetone nail polish remover into the bowl, deep enough to cover your fingertips.
  3. Coat your cuticles and the tips of your fingers in petroleum jelly, leaving the nails bare. This will help protect your skin from the harsh acetone.
  4. Soak fingertips in the acetone. Try to keep only your nails in the solution, not your entire fingers.
  5. After about 20 minutes, the acrylic gel should become soft and begin to dissolve away.
  6. Use the cuticle sticks to gently scrape the softened acrylic. The gel may be sticky and gooey, and it can take several rounds of soaking and gentle scraping to remove it. Be careful not to scrape at the surface of the underlying nail.
  7. Use a towel or rag soaked in acetone to wipe some of the acrylic away.
  8. When the acrylic is nearly gone, wash and dry hands and allow the nails to air-dry completely.
  9. Use your buffer to smooth away any remaining bits of acrylic, again being careful not to damage the natural nail. Note that some people prefer to leave a thin coat of acrylic, to avoid any risk of scratching the nail surface.
  10. Apply moisturizer to help soothe away any irritation.

When to Stop

If your skin becomes reddened, painful, or otherwise irritated, stop immediately. Wash your hands thoroughly with gentle soap. If the irritation doesn’t calm down, call a doctor. If you find yourself scraping, tearing, or otherwise damaging your own nails, nail beds, or cuticles, be sure to take a break. You may decide to continue more carefully, or you may choose to head for the salon and let the experts take over.


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