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Acrylic nails are glued on top of natural nails, so the very idea of attempting to remove them can bring scary thoughts of having to painfully pry them off. Luckily, there is a much cheaper, safer, and pain-free way to remove acrylic nails at home using an ingredient most women with acrylic nails are advised to avoid: acetone. Many nail polish removers contain acetone, a solvent that can dissolve acrylic nail glue. Normally, acrylic nail wearers are told not use it to remove nail color because it will melt off the nail itself. But when you actually want to remove acrylic nails, women can make acetone-containing nail polish remover work for them.
Using acetone nail polish remover to remove acrylic nails is a time-consuming, albeit painless, procedure. Pour enough acetone nail polish remover into a bowl to cover your nails and soak your fingers for 10 minutes. Using a towel, gently wipe the nails to remove any loosened acrylic layers. If there are still layers of acrylic remaining, immediately dip your nails back into the acetone and repeat the process of soaking for 10 minutes and wiping the nails. It can take several rounds of soaking and wiping to remove acrylic nails layer by layer.
Not all of the acrylic may melt off in perfect layers, so if some bits and pieces remain behind, don’t get the nail clippers. Instead, allow nails to air dry after the last round of acetone soaking, and use a nail buffer to gently buff down any remaining acrylic pieces to blend them into your natural nails. The most important point to remember is to not put any pressure on the freshly uncovered natural nails, which could be weakened from the acrylic nail glue. If a stubborn piece of acrylic remains after buffing, leave it be and wait for your natural nails to grow. Scraping at a stuck acrylic piece can cause your natural nails to break, so it’s better to let your nails grow long enough to allow the acrylic to wear off naturally.
Acetone-containing nail polish remover can melt away acrylic nail glue, but it can also irritate and dry out cuticles. After acrylic nails are removed as much as possible, apply moisturizer or petroleum jelly to your cuticles to prevent any cracking or peeling due to acetone exposure. Treat freshly uncovered natural nails carefully until they begin to grow again, since they have been through harsh chemical exposure from the acrylic glue, as well as the acetone removal process.