4 Ways To Remove Acrylic Nails Without Using Harsh Acetone*

Acrylic nails are a super hot nail trend, perfect for giving you a glam look either for those of us who struggle to grow our manicures naturally, or to complete a special occasion look.

Acrylic nails are inexpensive and gorgeous, but they can be tricky to remove. Your best option is to contact a beauty salon when you want to get rid of your acrylics. And honestly, if you’re like me, you’ll want to change your nails as often as possible!

Why you should not leave acrylics on too long

Because many people wear their fake nails for a long period of time, I want to quickly address the negative effects this can have on your nails:

1. You might develop an infection or mold under your nail bed, and not be aware of it while wearing your nails too long. This can happen for instance when the fake nail starts to lift off your natural nail, and water gets in between. Also make sure to clean your nail tools regularly, and replace your entire nail set every 6 months.

2. Nails are a mirror of your health, and it’s therefore very useful to see what your real nails look like. If you constantly wear something over them, you lose possible indications of developing health issues. For instance, purple nail beds can be a sign of low hemoglobin or Raynaud’s disease.

3. However you turn it, acrylic nails do weaken your nails over time. So give them a breather in between, at least a week.

The easiest options, pro and at-home, is acetone. But for a lot of reasons, you might want to try something a little more natural. Acetone is used in both acrylic removal solutions, and in regular nail polish remover. The problem is, it’s basically paint thinner. It dries out your hands quickly, and if you’re a person with sensitive skin, can be quite damaging.

Regular exposure can cause your nails to become brittle, and separated from the nail beds, they may break or peel more often. Even worse, some people can actually be allergic, or can build up an intolerance over time, which can cause serious complications, including:

  • Nose, throat, lung and eye irritation,
  • Headaches and fatigue,
  • Lightheaded
  • Vomiting,
  • Confusion,
  • Increased pulse

If you experience any of these, see a doctor, and avoid any acetone in the future.

Go Acetone-free

Luckily, there are many acetone-free alternatives for removing your acrylic nails. They may take a bit longer, but they’ll leave you, and your nails healthier and stronger than harsh chemicals. So if you’re someone who loves your long, gorgeous manicured nails, this is definitely a plus!

1. Use A Laminated Business Card
It sounds a bit crazy, but it works! Choose a laminated business card or plastic credit or debit card, and a couple of cuticle sticks. Use the cuticle sticks to pry under the bottom of the nail, to lift it enough to slide the corner of the card up and down. You want to move it across the entire nail bed. Apply gentle pressure, one side at a time. The nail will quickly pop right out. This is one of the fastest methods, but be sure to take it one side at a time. That way, you won’t damage your nail beds as you go.

2. Use Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover
Acetone is found in nail polish remover, but there are some nail polish removers on the market that are acetone-free. First, you’ll want to fill a bowl with acetone-free nail polish remover. Clip your acrylics as short as you can, and pry all around the edges with the tweezers, to loosen them. Then, soak your nails in the nail polish remover until you can feel them loosen. Removing your nails is pretty easy this way, but be aware that this method will take about 20-40 minutes of soaking, at least. Note: if you can’t find acetone-free nail polish remover, you can do the exact same method with your cuticle sticks and warm water. It just takes about twice the time!

3. Use Nail Filers
Using nail files to remove your acrylic nails is a lot more time consuming than some of the other methods mentioned here, but it does a great job of keeping your hands away from harsh chemicals, and it’s a good option if you can’t get to the salon. You’ll need a coarse grit nail file, something between 80-150 grit. You can find them in a salon, or wherever you buy your cosmetics. You’ll also want some cuticle oil and hand cream, since the process takes a while, and you’re going to want to look after your hands and nails afterward. First, remove the nail polish with acetone-free nail polish remover, or warm water. Clip and file the nails as close as possible. Remove as much of the hardened acrylic coating as your coarse file will allow. As the coating thins out, you can switch to a finer grit. Then, buff your nails to restore them. Apply the cuticle oil. You may choose to add a base coat of polish to protect your nails, or stick with just the oil, to strengthen the nail bed and let your nails breath.

4. Use Dental Floss
I’ve picked this method last because it takes some time, and you’ll have a lot more success if you have a partner for this one. It can also be really painful if you don’t move slowly, so you’ll need to let your partner know if you’re feeling any pain or discomfort as you go.

For this method, first, you want to use your cuticle sticks to lift your acrylic nails as far as you can. Carefully slide your dental floss underneath, and, in a sawing motion, move across the entire nail. You should feel it loosen as you or your partner drag the dental floss across your nails. They should pop off, just like with the laminated card in method one. Because dental floss can dry out your hands and nails, you’ll want to apply hand cream, or nail cream, and avoid putting on any polish for a while.

Acrylic nails are a great addition to any look. They give your nails the length you want even when you struggle to grow them naturally, and leave you looking fantastic. But when they start to chip or wear, they can be hard to remove without the help of a trained nail professional. Your quickest option is harsh chemicals that can cause brittle nails, and even more serious health concerns, over time. But if you’re looking for a more natural and less toxic way to get rid of your acrylics, or if you’re like me, and you want to change them up more often than you’d like to put chemicals on or in your body, then these non-toxic, acetone-free nail removal methods might be just what you need.

*Image via Pexels

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