How to remove acrylic nails with acetone

One of the most common and easiest ways when it comes to how to remove fake nails is with acetone. Also known as propanone, acetone is a powerful liquid solvent that will quickly and easily remove both gel polish and adhesive. Because of its powerful properties, acetone is used to break down the acrylic so it can be easily lifted off the nail – but can be quite drying if used too heavily or frequently on natural nails. 

Ready to get started? Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to remove acrylic nails at home. The products you’ll need:

  • Nail Clippers/Cuticle Nippers
  •  Nail file 
  • Acetone
  • Cotton Wool/Lint Free Pads
  • Tinfoil/Soak off Clips
  • Cuticle Pusher

Step 1: Trim down your acrylic nails with nail clippers or strong cuticle nippers

This will reduce the surface area of the nail, allowing the acetone to penetrate the area of your natural nails more easily. Cut down to where your natural nails begin – not too low though or you could damage your natural nail.

Step 2: Use a nail file to thin the acrylic

Run the nail file across the nail in a back-and-forth motion. The idea is to thin the acrylic, making it easier for the acetone to penetrate. Make sure not to file too deep, if you file too much, you run the risk of damaging your natural nail.

Step 3: Apply your acetone-soaked cotton wool to the nail 

Soak cotton wool in acetone acrylic nail remover, then place directly over the nail ensuring it is fully covered. Then, using foil, wrap your nails in order to secure the cotton in place.

Step 4: Soak your nails

Leave the cotton wool and foil in place for at least 10 minutes, in order to allow the acetone to soak into the acrylic.

Step 5: Remove your acrylic

Remove just one of the wraps, then gently use a cuticle pusher to scrape the softened acrylic off. If the acetone has penetrated enough, the acrylic should lift and slide off easily. If the acrylic is still a little hard underneath, reapply the wrap and leave your nails to soak for a further five minutes before trying again. You can repeat this process for each nail until the acrylic has been completely softened and removed, don’t be afraid to re-soak your cotton wool with acetone if it’s getting a little dry.

If you find that it is taking a while it could be the acetone you are using – make sure you’re using 100% acetone and not a supermarket or drugstore acetone, as this is often watered down. As tempting as it can be, never pull, cut or bite the acrylic of your nail!

While this method may be faster, you’re very likely to damage and weaken your natural nails in the process.

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