How to remove acrylic nails in 3 easy steps

nail supplies needed to remove acrylic nails

We’re happy that you’re here. If you try to remove acrylic nails before learning how to do it properly, you’ll definitely suffer. 

And that would make us sad.

When you pull off an acrylic nail, you pull off layers of your natural nail with it. This means two things:

One: Your natural nail will almost certainly be damaged beyond repair, and it’ll take weeks (if not months) to grow it back out.

Two: It hurts. Like, a lot. 

To avoid all this nail drama, we recommend following our super simple 3-step removal process. Not only will this process protect your natural nails, but it'll probably save you time. (Ripping off acrylic nails isn’t exactly a quick process.)

So without further ado, here’s how to remove acrylic nails in 3 easy steps.

If you're more of a visual learner, scroll down to the bottom of the article to watch our YouTube video on how to remove acrylic nails.

Step 1: Remove the shine

remove the shine from acrylic nails

In order to remove acrylic nails, you first need to remove the shine.

If you don’t have an electric drill, you can use a hand file

Keep in mind, using a hand file will take much longer. You need to make sure you’re thorough and that you get the entire top layer off. 

If you don’t get that top layer off, the next steps won’t work (since the acetone won’t be able to soak into the acrylic).

Medium grit sanding bit

Medium grit sanding bit

Step 2: Soak your nails

remove acrylic nails by soaking nails in acetone foil

Once the top layer is removed and the shine is completely gone, grab 100% acetone, lint-free wipes, and foil.

Thoroughly soak the lint-free wipes in acetone, place it over your nail, and wrap it all in foil

Make sure the foil is wrapped tightly enough to keep the wipe in place. This will also prevent the heat from escaping and speed up the process.

Allow your nails to soak for at least 10 minutes.

Step 3: Push off the acrylic

using a cuticle pusher to remove acrylic nails

Remove the foil from your nails. 

At this point, your nails should look pretty rough, and the acrylic should look kind of gooey. 

Starting at the cuticle area, use your cuticle pusher to gently push the acrylic off the nail tip.

This should not be painful, and you shouldn’t have to be rough with the acrylic. If you can’t gently push the acrylic off the nail, this could be a sign that you need to soak your nails one more time.

natural nail after removing acrylic nails

Post-removal maintenance

applying top coat after removing acrylic nails

After the acrylic is removed, we recommend showing your natural nails a little love. Afterall, they have been hidden from the world for a while. 

Clean up the sides with a file and gently buff the top of your nails. Your nails might be a little sensitive, so don’t over-buff.

Once you’re done, apply a long-lasting top coat and some cuticle oil.

Watch how to remove acrylic nails

Acrylic nail removal supply list: