How to Remove Acrylic Nails Safely

Acrylic or fake nails are applied on top of real nails using an adhesive especially made for this application. They are beautiful and worth the time it takes to get them applied. Many women visit the nail salon every week to get their nails painted, reshaped and have acrylics applied. How to remove acrylic nails however, can be a whole other story.

Acrylic nails are very safe, but can cause problems if a nail technician doesn't properly place them on the nail or remove them properly. Since the acrylic is placed on the real nail you can run the risk of having the actual nail underneath become infected. The nail is basically shut off from the oxygen it needs to grow and thrive. If proper nail care isn't taken, a fungus can grow under the acrylic which may require medical attention.

Removing the acrylic nail is almost as important as the placement. You probably want to this professionally done, but if for some reason you cannot go to the salon, you can do it at home. The most popular and effective way to remove the nails is with acetone. Acetone is the common ingredient in many nail polish removers on the market and can be found in pure form in most beauty supply stores.

The acetone removal method is quite easy, just follow the steps below and your fingernails will be free in no time.

You will need:

  • Acetone
  • Aluminum foil or plastic wrap
  • Cotton Balls
  • Orange Nail Stick
  • Moisturizer


  1. Trim the acrylic nails down as far as you possibly can without causing injury to your skin or natural nails.
  2. Take either aluminum foil or plastic wrap and cut 10 little squares big enough to cover the tips of the fingers.
  3. Soak a cotton ball in the acetone and then place on top of the nail. Wrap the cotton ball with aluminum or plastic wrap to secure the soaked cotton ball in place. Do this with all 10 nails and leave on for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the wraps one at a time, discard the cotton ball and use the orange stick to gently push the acrylic off of the nail. It should easily come off, but if it doesn't re-soak the cotton ball and rewrap the nail for a few minutes more.
  5. Once you have removed all of the acrylic nails, you should wash your hands with warm soapy water and apply a generous amount of moisturizer directly to the nails and surrounding skin. Acetone can severely dry out the nails and cause them to become brittle so it is important to re-hydrate the nails. 
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