Are you skeptical about acrylics? We believe so. Fake nails have many benefits, but there are also some drawbacks, such as damage to your natural nails. We reached out to Gina Edwards, a nail expert, and Pattie Yan to find out how to remove fake nails without damaging the real thing.
It is a major hassle and a waste of money to buy new fake nails only for them to start to fall off. We asked Edwards and Yankee for their advice on how to remove fake nails at home. Although they recommend that you see a licensed nail technician to minimize damage to your natural nails’, they do share some at-home tips that can be very helpful if you are ever in a pinch.
Add Nail Guards Before You Apply
Yankee recommends that you apply Dashing Diva Nail Guards before applying any enhancements. Nail Guards are ultra-thin films with a nail shape that can be applied first to your nails before applying any acrylic, hard gel or dip powder.
The Nail Guards act as a barrier between the natural nail and artificial nail. Yankee states that artificial nails can be applied to the Nail Guards after they have been applied. Apply a generous amount cuticle oil on each nail’s base when it is time to remove the Nail Guards. Use a wooden manicure stick to gently lift the enhancement from the nail. Slide the stick under Nail Guard side-to-side until it is loosening.
Next, gradually lift off the enhancement from the nail. To completely remove the fake nail, you may need to use additional cuticle oil. Use polish remover to clean any adhesive residue from the natural nails. To finish, massage cuticle oil.
- Dashing Diva Nail Protector $14
Use Pure Acetone
Edwards states that fake gel nails should be cut at the salon. If you have acrylics you can take them off by soaking them in pure Acetone. Yankee recommends that you cut your nails as short as possible to accomplish this task. She suggests using a coarse nail file for each nail to remove its top surface to crack the seal of the product.
Two glass bowls should be filled with acetone approximately halfway. Towels should be soaked in water. After the towel has been microwaved on high for about one to two minutes, wrap one end with plastic wrap. Use cuticle oil to treat the nail area. To protect your hands, place the bowls of Acetone in your hands. Cover it with the damp towel. To speed up the process, wrap your hands in plastic wrap and cover them with a warm towel. After 15 minutes, remove your hands and assess the progress. Use a manicure stick to remove any product that has become loose from your nails.
Continue this process until you are completely free of product. Use a buffing block or fine-grit file to lightly buff off any residue on the nails. Finally, clean your nails with polish remover. To finish, massage in cuticle oil.
- Dip-It 2 for Acetone Nail Polish Remover Up and Up ($2)
Add baby oil
Edwards suggests adding a little bit of baby oil to warm acetone to help remove acrylics from natural nails. You can soak your nails for 45 minutes to make the fake nails fall off easily.
- Johnson’s Baby Oil ($2)
Clip your nails and use a recovery kit
To break the gel seal, trim your nails to a shorter active length. Edwards suggests that you place a stronger nail polish on your nails as your natural nails develop. This is similar to the KISS Manicovery Recovery Care Kit.
- KISS Manicovery Recovery Kit ($5)
Get a removal kit!
Yankee recommends the Dashing Divas Ultimate Nail Removal Kit. This kit includes 10 disposable foam pads and reusable caps that make it easy to remove your fake nails.
- Dashing Diva: Get the Ultimate Removing Kit for ($5)
Use a Base Coat
Yankee recommends that you protect your nails after removal by applying a few layers nourishing base coats to strengthen them.
You might feel tempted to return to the salon for a second set of fake nails after you have removed yours. Edwards suggests that you use press-ons such as imPress Press-On Manicures ($9) if DIY is your thing.
They can be replaced every seven days to keep your nails looking fresh. The press-ons will not affect your natural nails.
- OPI Natural Nail Base Coat $10