How to remove acrylic nails at home

There are so many pros to acrylic nails:  lengthen nails, fewer trips to the salon, less chipping, etc.  The list goes on, basically they are stilettos for your fingers, adding instant confidence.  The one con:  removal.  Sure you can go to the salon and get them professionally removed, but I do not have the patience for that. So, if you’re wondering how to remove acrylic nails, you’ve come to the right place.

What you will need:

  • Nail clipper
  • Nail file
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Nail polish remover (acetone)
  • Cotton balls (I use cotton pads)
  • Foil

First Step:  Clip nails.  I try to clip to where the tip of my actual nail has grown with hopes of saving the length that I gained since getting the acrylic.  My nails are normally pretty strong, but if you have weak nails consider clipping short.

Second Step:  File the topcoat off, especially if you’re wearing gel polish.  If you don’t file it off, the acetone will not work its magic on the acrylic (trust me, I made the mistake before).

Third Step: Apply petroleum jelly to your cuticle.  The acetone can be very damaging and destroy your cuticle.  If you don’t have this, you can skip the step.  Just be sure to moisturize afterwards.

Fourth Step:  Make sure you have 10 cotton balls (or pads), 10 strips of foil (cut or rip before starting) and acetone polish remover ready to go. Once you start wrapping your nails it is going to be increasingly difficult to do anything.   Soak your cotton in acetone then place over nail.  Grab a strip of aluminum foil and wrap your nail securely.  Because acetone evaporates, it is important to cover all of the finger tip.  I had a tear in one piece of foil and the cotton pad dried up and stuck to my nail.  Please learn from my mistakes.
Fifth Step:  Wait 30-45 minutes.  I usually play an episode of something on Netflix on my iPad when I start this process, because once you have your fingers wrapped you won’t be able to do much more than sit and wait.

Sixth Step:  Remove the cotton balls and foil.  The acrylic may come off some nails completely and others may stick a bit.  Just take a nail file and file off the remaining acrylic and shape.  One of my nails broke so I ended up filing down to the bed.  The benefit of this is that my nails are all one length and will grow out stronger.


In short:

1.  Clip your nails

2.  File topcoat off.

3.  Apply petroleum jelly to cuticle.

4.  Place an acetone-soaked cotton ball then wrap aluminum foil around each nail.

5.  Wait 30-45 minutes.

6.  Remove the foil and cotton balls then file off remaining acrylic and re-shape your nails.

There is no better feeling than letting your nails breathe (and being able to text).  I hope this helps you fellow impatient gals.  Let me know your thoughts below ❤



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