How to Take off Acrylic Nails at Home (Safely)
There are so many pros to acrylic nails. Giving your nails a boost of length, being able to do detailed nail designs, and being able to wear your acrylics for up to 4 weeks are some of the attractions. However, the power of acrylics to stay on your nails for a long period of time can be both a blessing and a curse. Of course, this is because they’re not always the easiest or safest to remove on your own. Typically, it’s recommended to have your nail tech take off your acrylics, but there are also totally safe ways to take off your own acrylics as long as you know the right steps and tools. If you’re looking for the answer to how to take off acrylic nails at home the safe way – look no further.
- Ripping, picking, peeling, or biting acrylic nails off rather than removing them safely can result in brittleness, breakage, nail dehydration, and loss of precious keratin layers in the nail.
- One key way to take off acrylic nails at home is doing an acetone soak using cotton balls and aluminum foil. This will break down and soften the acrylic, so it can be easily taken off.
- Rehydrating your nails is crucial after taking off your acrylics at home to avoid brittle nails and breakage. You can rehydrate the nails with cuticle oil, hand cream, or a hand mask.
Acrylics and Nail Health
Before getting into how to take off acrylic nails at home, it’s important to note the relationship between acrylics and nail health. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, the process of getting acrylic nails can thin your natural nails, making them weaker and more susceptible to breaking and brittleness due to dehydration (1).
Learning how to take off acrylic nails at home the right and safe way is super important, because simply ripping off your acrylic nails can result in the loss of precious keratin layers of your natural nail, causing serious damage and pain (2). Making sure not to harm your natural nail is key, as you definitely don’t want to cause any major breakage that can cause bleeding or even loss of the nail.
How to Take off Acrylic Nails at Home
Now that you know why it’s so important to learn how acrylics and nail health relate, it’s time to really talk about how to take off acrylic nails at home safely with key tips and tricks. When people ask how to take off acrylic nails at home, the acetone soak method tends to be the most commonly recommended, as it is typically the process used at nail salons. One way you can remove acrylic nails at home is with an acetone soak; all you’ll need is nail clippers, a nail file, acetone/nail polish remover, petroleum jelly, cotton balls, and aluminum foil (3).
1. To successfully do an acetone soak at home, you should first use the nail clipper to cut the acrylics as short as possible. This makes it easier for the acrylics to break down since there is less nail to work with.
2. Buff the top with the nail file. Removing the top layer and roughing up the surface of the nail to get rid of any polish will help soften the nail faster in acetone. You should still leave a thin layer of acrylic to avoid damaging the natural nail.
3. Apply petroleum jelly to your cuticles, base of the nail bed, and fingers to protect them during the soak.
4. Then, soak a cotton ball with acetone and wrap it around the nail. Make sure this step is done in a well-ventilated area as acetone can be harsh. The acetone used in the soak should be at least 70-proof or higher, but 100 percent acetone is typically recommended as it would require less soaking time.
5. Wrap the cotton ball with a piece of aluminum foil to begin the soak. While it’s not impossible, this step can get harder to do alone as you continue to wrap the fingers in foil, so don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. If you don’t have cotton balls on hand or are struggling to wrap the fingers in foil, you can also do an acetone soak by soaking the nails in a bowl of acetone to soften the acrylic.
6. When all your nails are wrapped, let them sit for around 20 to 30 minutes to allow the acrylics to come right off (3). If you’d like to speed up the process, you can wrap the nails again in a warm towel.
7. The acetone should help break down the acrylics so they can be easily buffed off if they don’t come off easily at first (4). You can also use a cuticle tool, like a pusher, to push the polish and acrylic off the nails when it starts to melt from the acetone. You shouldn’t have to use much pressure for this step.
8. After successfully removing everything from the nail, you may be left with a rough texture. Don’t worry – you can use a buffing tool again to buff the top of the nails and remove any leftover residue (5).
9. Wash your hands to rehydrate and also remove any lasting acetone or residue.
10. Hydrate your nails with cuticle oil, hand cream, or a hand mask.
Hydrating after Removing Acrylic Nails
After you’ve learned how to take acrylic nails at home and you successfully take them off – it’s time to hydrate. To avoid dry, brittle nails, you can restore hydration and strengthen your nail beds by moisturizing with cuticle oil, a hand mask, or hand cream (6). After using a moisturizing treatment, you can also wrap the hand in a warm washcloth to promote shinier, healthier, and stronger nails.
Don’t underestimate the power of a good strengthening nail treatment to prevent breakage – getting acrylic nails consistently over time can cause stress on your nail plates. Plus, keeping your nails moisturized will lead to other benefits, such as avoiding annoying and painful hangnails that form when a cuticle dries out.
Written by Selena Ponton