Beautiful and healthy nails are a dream of every woman, but not everyone is lucky enough to have them. Some of us have brittle, others have split nails. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about your own nails, but opt for an alternative solution. Acrylic nails are trending in fashion and beauty industry today, which is understandable since it is the best option for those of us who just simply can’t grow their own nails. They work perfectly well for short and fragile nails since they make your nails strong and thick, and their colour lasts for weeks. You’ve probably seen lots of inspirations on Pinterest and Instagram which you’ve wanted to try and eventually done it, but then it turned out that taking them off it not as easy as it would seem. And admit it, going to professional nail salon regularly is costly. Fortunately, you can do it in a more frugal way by getting rid of them via effective DIY tricks. Mind you, none of them are quick, but it is for the health of your nails – it is better to be patient and not ruin your nails (you still want to get another acrylic or gel nail polish, don’t you?). Read our article to find helpful tips on how to remove acrylic nails at home in just a few easy steps and save some money for the next visit!
Step one: prepare your set and get started
First prepare obligatory things to undertake this task - make sure that you have products like cotton balls or other small easily absorbing pad, acetone, bowl deep enough for soaking your nails, some sort of petroleum jelly (for example Vaseline) to protect your fingers and tin foil. Acetone is the only nail polish remover that will work for acrylics. You might also need your nail care essentials like nail clipper and buffer. Thanks to acetone the acrylic coat dissolves a bit which makes it easier to take the whole fake nail off your natural nail.
Step two: shorten your nails before removing acrylics
Cut your nails with nail scissors - trim their length as much as you want to and rub the top coat to buff the shine away and then rub the rest of acrylic layers off. Fake nails are usually quite solid which makes it hard to remove them, so you should buff the surface with a nail buffer or a file to leave only a really paper-thin coat. Do it with a smooth side of a nail file, though. Be careful with the buffing – avoid doing it too hard since it may be pretty bad on your cuticles.
Next, smear your skin around your nails – apply petroleum jelly of choice to create a protective layer on your skin to shield it against harmful impact of acetone, which might be damaging on sensitive skin (especially on skin surrounding nails, if you use nail polish remover regularly and particularly on dry and prone to cracking cuticles) and lead to its dehydration and irritation. This will keep your fingers soft and intact.
Step three: let the acetone work
How to get acrylic nails off – two ways
Now it’s time for real removal. The first method is super popular – it requires removing fake nails by wrapping your fingertips with cotton pads soaked with acetone nail varnish remover and covering them in tin foil. Prepare 10 pieces of pads and aluminium foil (each piece big enough to wrap a nail coated with a cotton ball or pad – don’t make tin foil pieces too big, or it’ll be hard to manage), then soak the pads with acetone and place each pad on your nails and press them a bit to make sure that each pad adheres closely to nail plate. Leave them for 30 minutes.
Start with a hand that is not dominant, as it will be easier, and then repeat the whole procedure with the second hand. This technique requires some patience and experience, since it is a bit tricky because applying acetone on pads and operating with one hand covered in foil may cause you some troubles. The most problematic part? Wrapping the edges of the foil slowly finger by finger closely around the nails to make sure that the entire nail plate is coated with a pad.
The hardest part is the wait. Find yourself a comfortable place in an armchair or on a bed since you’ll have to sit still for a while. Leave your fingers covered up for approximately 40 minutes (read instructions on bottle of acetone first). Operating with tin foil hats on your fingers is the quicker way, but you can also do it with one hand and remove the wrappings, and then proceed to the other hand, if you find this method difficult. It takes longer, but you may use this free time for some entertainment and relaxation – reading a book (if you manage to do it with the aluminium foil wrappings, obviously) or watching couple episodes of your favourite show will help you kill time.
Then remove the foil - acrylics should become loose and easily slide off your nails while taking it off, but if it doesn’t happen, repeat the whole process. Add some acetone if pads seem to dry out. Scratching the remaining acrylic varnish might damage your real nails plates, so it is better to wait and practice your patience.
Another way is hands down the easiest, but requires putting your fingers directly in the acetone, which may be a little too harsh on your skin. To do it, you need to soak your nails in a bowl of acetone. Mind you, though, that this might be a bit rough on your skin, so don’t do it if you have sensitive skin or damaged cuticles. Fill the bowl with acetone and simply submerge your nails in it and keep them there until you can see that the acrylic layer starts to come off. You may also try to put the bowl of acetone in a bowl of hot water first to warm the remover – this should ease and quicken dissolving acrylic varnish. This process can take at least 20 minutes (usually, though, approximately 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the resistance of acrylics and strength of acetone nail polish remover). As in previous version, pull the acrylic layer, and if you feel that it won’t budge easily, just continue the acetone bath for your fingers. However, if you feel that keeping your nails in acetone irritates your skin, take them out. Then wash and dry your hands, and apply some soothing hand cream.
Step four: remove the acrylic residue
In both cases remember to be gentle with your natural nails. Don’t force the acrylic varnish to come off, and don’t scrape it with your nails, file or anything sharp since it may cause harm to the surface of your nail and may be painful for your nail bed. If you need help (a bit of coarse remains of acrylic varnish may stay on your nails) use a soft file, but do it delicately until your natural nails are good and smooth. It is better to soak the nails for couple minutes longer than to ruin your nails by scratching them. Acrylic varnish tends to be stubborn, and will test your patience.
Step five: post-removal care
Now that your nails are clean, it’s time to strengthen them and the skin of your hands to bring them back to their normal, healthy state. If you want something for your cuticles oil-based cream would be good to alleviate their irritated skin. If needed, clip your nails again and give them desired shape. Though rough on your skin and nails, acetone is the most efficacious way of dissolving and making acrylic varnish loose, thus the next step is to apply your favourite moisturizing hand cream and use some strengthening and nourishing nail polish. Your fingers are now ready to get new acrylics! And, if your acrylic removal didn’t go as planned, took longer or simply left unsatisfactory results, remember that people don’t become pro overnight. Taking off acrylic nails is tricky, but definitely costs less than doing it at the nail salon. With our tips and time, you’ll learn how to do it.
That’s it! Your nails are ready for some new treatment even on the next day. And who doesn’t love to see their nails in a new style? Go and plan the next visit!