How to Remove Acrylic Nails at Home

how to remove acrylic nails

Raise your hand if this scene sounds familiar: You’ve had a smooth set of acrylic nails (you know, just for a little length) for about three weeks, and they’re starting to crack and chip. You wouldn’t dream of going to work looking ragged, but the salon can’t squeeze you in until the weekend. It’s Wednesday and you’re forced to remove them yourself. Yikes, right? Well, not exactly. As scary as it sounds, removing acrylic nails at home is rather easy. And to help you out, we’ve got two easy ways to do so—with and without acetone.

How to Remove Acrylic Nails With Acetone

Step 1 Clip:

Clip the acrylic nails as short as possible.

Step 2 File:

File away the topcoat, nail polish or any color to avoid getting a mess all over your hands.

Step 3 Apply:

Apply petroleum jelly on the skin surrounding the cuticles (this serves as a protective barrier). Next—similar to removing gel nail polish—soak cotton pads in acetone and place them on your nails.

Step 4 Wrap:

Tear pieces of aluminum foil and wrap them around the tips of your fingers, keeping the cotton pads in place.

Step 5 Wait:

Let it sit for 25 to 30 minutes. (You wanted to catch up on Will & Grace anyway.)

Step 6 Remove:

Pull the aluminum foil gently and the acrylic nail should come off with it. If you feel resistance, keep it wrapped for another five to seven minutes. 

How to Remove Acrylic Nails Without Acetone

Step 1 Clip:

Clip the acrylic nails as short as possible.

Step 2 Pry:

Gently pry the edges free with the pointy end of tweezers.

Step 3 Pour:

Pour one cup of acetone-free nail-polish remover in a bowl. Remember: Remover will evaporate, so you’ll need to add a few tablespoons over time.

Step 4 Soak:

Soak your nails in the remover for 30 to 40 minutes. (Maybe this one’s good for an episode of Empire.)

Step 5 Remove:

Once you feel the nail loosen, pull it off gently with tweezers. If it does not budge easily, soak for another five to seven minutes.

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Freelance PureWow Editor