Best Way To Remove Acrylic Nails Yourself!! – Step By Step

Acrylic nails have been incredibly popular over the years and still are even to this day, but when is it the right time to take a break and look at re-storing your own nails?

It is no longer a secret that artificial nails can damage your natural nails,  if you are looking at removing acrylics yourself then you are going to need a few products and tips to help do this without damaging your natural nails even more.

I also always suggest to my clients to get a daily keratin treatment to help restore some moisture and strength back into their nails as soon as all the acrylic has gone, this will really speed up the repairing process.

Removing Your Acrylics Without Damaging Your Nails Even More

Now this process is the same process that I would use in my salon if I was asked by a client of mine to remove her acrylics.  The only difference is, I have a nail drill which of course just makes this whole process a lot quicker.

What You Will Need:

  • Acetone
  • A gritty nail file, (not metal) even if you ask your nail technician if you can buy one off her/him or you can find them here.
  • If your skin is sensitive around your fingernails then I would suggest getting vaseline.
  • Good size bowl, not plastic (glass or metal) OR Grab some easy to use foils for removal
  • Scraper for scraping away softened acrylic
  • Glass Nail File (not emery or metal)
  • Non-abrasive buffer to help with any major ridges

Step 1 – Using the gritty nail file start filing each nail gently taking away any shine, for example if you have any sealers over the top of your acrylics that needs to be filed off.  Most nail technicians would use a sealer (clear gloss) over the acrylic which is cured under a uv light just prior to applying nail polish.  The surface of your acrylic nail needs to be porous so the acetone can break the acrylic down quicker.

Step 2 –  If you have sensitive skin sometimes acetone can dry your skin out and leave them feeling sore or dry, so if you like apply some vaseline on the skin only surrounding your nails, this gives good coverage from acetone.

Step 3 – Soak your nails in pure acetone for about 5 minutes.  If you have been able to get that first layer of shine off your acrylics this will enable the acetone to break down the acrylic a lot quicker.  Please remember to use a metal or glass bowl for this, OR if you are using the foils, just dip cotton into acetone and wrap onto your nails.  Make sure you seal the foil so the acetone does not evaporate.  I would leave these on for 10 minutes.

  • If soaking your acrylics, after 5 minutes just quickly feel the tops of your nails and if the acrylic is starting to breakdown into a jelly like substance then you can start gently scraping it away, if there is any remaining on your nail then just re-soak for another few minutes to get all the rest of it off!!

  • If you are using the foils, after 10 minutes just start with one hand, one finger at a time taking off the foil and gently start scraping away softened acrylic.  If there is any stubborn acrylic left on your nails then just add a little more acetone to cotton and put foil back on for a few more minutes.

Step 4 – Using a metal scraper or wooden cuticle stick, you can start scraping away all that broken down acrylic.  There should be no need to force acrylic away from your nail bed, you should maybe even just focus on a couple of fingers at a time because once the acrylic is out of the acetone if you don’t remove it quickly it will start to harden again, making it difficult to scrape away.

Step 5 – Once all the acrylic is off your nails you can give them a very very gentle buff with a non-abrasive buffer, be aware that your nails will be feeling a little sensitive still from wearing acrylics.

Step 6 – Use a glass nail file only, these are way better for your nails, especially if your nails are already damaged.  The old style files are way too coarse and will cause more peeling and splitting, throw them away, that’s an order!!!!!.  Filing with a glass nail file seals the edges of your nails , leaving them nice and smooth so nothing can catch on them.

Best Way To Hydrate & Strengthen Your Nails After Removal 

As soon as your are acrylic free your nails will feel tender, thin and damaged, so you should really look into a keratin treatment followed with a nail repair which will improve your nails dramatically in a very short time, or check out some simple steps you can begin to do at home to help hydrate and strengthen your nails.

Congratulations, I Am So Proud Of You!!!!

Acrylics can be very beautiful, yet also come at a cost of being potentially damaging for your nails.  As a result, the best way to remove acrylics yourself is outlined above for your benefit so you can minimize further damage.

Resist the urge by all means to peel or pick off the acrylics, as that is the worst possible thing you could do and end up causing a lot of discomfort.

Good luck and if you have any questions please leave your comments below or email me and I will return your message as soon as I can.  🙂

Founder of Blu Butterfly Nail Tips


About the Author

Justine Olausen is a professional nail manicurist of over 25 years. Her goal here is to share her knowledge and experience and help others achieve healthier natural nails.

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