Need to take off your acrylic nails but don’t have the time or patience to visit the salon? We’ve all experienced it, but it pays to remove your manicure properly instead of, say, tearing it off your natural nails (oops!) or gnawing them while engrossed in your TV session. Cut it. If you’re wondering how to quickly remove acrylic nails at home, we’ve got you covered—and we even have an acetone-free option.

Do you professionally remove acrylic nails?

Unfortunately, forcibly removing the acrylic also means removing several layers of your natural nail plate, according to Savannah Walker, professional nail technician and owner of Manifest Nails in New York. “This usually results in thin, brittle, damaged nails that last for months until they grow back,” she says. And this is the best possible scenario! Therefore, if you decide to wear acrylic paints, we recommend keeping this handy set of tools at home to remove them without damaging them:

How to remove acrylic nails at home with acetone

Keep in mind that even if you follow these five steps, you may still be left with slightly damaged natural nails, depending on how the technician first applied the acrylic to them and how carefully you removed them. . However, “if the acrylic process is done patiently, it can be virtually damage-free,” says Walker. Now follow these simple steps from nail professionals to remove acrylic quickly without causing any damage:

File the acrylic nail as fine as possible.

Instead of filing your nails the normal way (along the top edge of the nail), you’ll need to file down the entire area that the acrylic covers. “Take off as much of the acrylic product as you can with a coarse-grained file,” says Walker. “You need a really good file for that; The sanding board sucks.” Find a 100-grit nail file fine enough to file the surface of the acrylic, or a nail drill bit.

Soak off the remaining acrylic nails.

After cutting away as much of the acrylic as possible, Walker recommends soaking nails in 100% acetone nail polish remover for as long as it takes for the product to dissolve.

There are two ways to do this. One method is to place a cotton ball soaked in acetone on each nail and then wrap foil around each fingernail, Walker advises. “It’s an excellent technique,” she says. Otherwise, you can try dipping your fingers in a bowl of acetone. It’s simple, but “the bowl technique is much harder on your skin and takes longer,” notes Walker.

If you go this route, “only dip the tips of your nails into the bowl so you don’t dry out the skin on your fingers and hands,” says Biranur Aral, PhD, director of the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Beauty Lab. , “Be sure to use acetone only in a well-ventilated area as it is highly volatile and can easily irritate your respiratory system.”

Gently scrape or polish off the last pieces of acrylic.

“After soaking in acetone, check your nails” every 20 minutes or so to scrape softened acrylics with an orange stick or cuticle pusher, says Walker. Repeat this process until all product has dissolved.

There may be some small areas of acrylic left, but don’t overdo it! “If there are small pieces of acrylic that won’t budge, you can use a soft nail polish sponge to buff those little stubborn pieces to a smooth finish,” she says.

Protect your nails from future acrylic damage

It is not harmful to acrylic nails, but it can affect natural nails. For acrylic enthusiasts, try to take a week off every month so that the health of your nails doesn’t completely take a toll. During this time, apply a layer of a nail strengthener daily, like this moisturizing oil from nail artist Deborah Lippmann, to keep nails from breaking.

To make them even more intense, “apply cuticle oil and cuticle cream to your nails, then wrap each hand with a warm washcloth for five minutes,” says nail technician Deborah Lippman, founder of the Deborah Lippman Nail Collection. Results: Shiny and strong nails in no time.

how to remove acrylic nails at home without acetone

You can remove acetone-free acrylic nails using acetone-free nail polish remover as an absorbent solution. But keep in mind that “if you want to avoid acetone, it will take longer to remove the acrylic,” says Anastasia Toti, lecturer at LeChat Nails in St. John’s, Florida. This way:

  • She recommends starting by trimming any excess length of extensions with nail clippers to cut down on soaking time.
  • Use a 100 grit nail file to remove as much product as possible without filing down the natural nail. “This will remove any top coat, gel polish, or nail art, making it easier for the solution to penetrate,” explains Toti.
  • Soak a piece of cotton wool in the solvent and wrap the tip of your finger with foil about two inches long so that the cotton piece is in direct contact with the acrylic, repeating this for each finger. Wait 15-20 minutes, then remove the foil and cotton and gently push the soaked product away from the cuticle using an orangewood stick or cuticle pusher. “Be patient and don’t scratch or scratch it if it’s not saturated enough,” she says.
  • If there is acrylic left on the nails, re-wrap them using more remover.
  • Use a nail file to shape your nails, gently polish if necessary, and wash your hands to remove any remaining grout.

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