How To Take Off Acrylic Nails At Home If You're In A Pinch

Here's the safest way to accomplish the task without the aid of professionals.

French Manicure Acrylics
Photo: Getty/Design Pics

While it's always best to leave some tasks to the professionals, like removing acrylic nails, we understand there may be certain times in life where you can't make it so the salon. If you find yourself unable to seek the help of professionals for the removal of your acrylic nails, it's time to take matters into your own capable hands and that means taking off your acrylic nails at home. Keywords: at home.

We wouldn't recommend making a habit of removing your acrylic nails at home, but here's the safest way to accomplish the task without the aid of professionals.

What You’ll Need

  • Aluminum foil
  • Acetone nail polish remover
  • Cotton balls
  • Vaseline
  • Nail file or sturdy buffer
  • Cuticle pusher

How To Remove Acrylic Nails

Step 1: Buff Nails

In order to let the acetone soak in, it's important to scuff up those acrylics before applying the polish remover. Using a buffer or nail file, remove the outermost layer so that all you're left with is a dull surface—no shine.

Step 2: Apply Vaseline

Word to the wise: You're going to want to prep your fingers and cuticles for the acetone. Apply Vaseline to the cuticles and fingertips, basically anything that the acetone might unintentionally touch through the process. Because we use a more targeted approach than soaking fingertips in a bowl of acetone you shouldn't have quite as much acetone-related damage, but guarding cuticles and fingertips with a petroleum jelly barrier will mitigate the risk.

Step 3: Apply Soaked Cotton Balls

Soak a cotton ball in acetone, and we really mean soak it. Next you'll apply to your nail and wrap a piece of aluminum foil around the nail to hold it tight. Repeat with each nail. If you have someone in your household who can help you with this process, all the better. Things might start to get dicey once you move onto the second hand.

Step 4: Remove

Using a cuticle pusher, gently remove softened polish layer. In the unlikely event that the full acrylic melts away like putty as you gently glide your pusher over it, consider yourself done (and very lucky). Otherwise you'll want to put the soaked cotton balls back on (aluminum wraps included) and give them another 5 minutes. Remove and repeat the process of gently pushing softened acrylic off of the nails. Keep repeating the process until all acrylic has been removed. You can use a nail buffer to remove any last stubborn bits.

What To Do After Removing Acrylic Nails

After you've completed the process of removing every last bit of acrylic, head straight to the sink to wash your hands to remove any residual acetone. After drying, it's a good idea apply nail oil over both the cuticles and nails. It's also a good idea to apply a moisturizing hand cream to rehydrate skin as well.

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