Acrylic Nails

Removing Acrylic Nails: A D-I-Y Checklist

For those rare occasions when one of your clients has to remove her acrylics on her own, outside of the salon, make sure she is prepared and does it correctly so she does not damage her nails. Here’s a tear-out do-it-yourself sheet for your clients and some tips from fellow nail techs on how to handle this subject with your clients.

Let’s face it. As a nail tech and educator, I fully anticipate those rare occasions when one of my clients feels the need to remove her acrylic nails all by her lonesome. It’s no different than my hair designer friends whose clients decide to cut their own bangs. Nidia Casas, of Salon Third Day in El Paso, Texas, has clients who routinely take off their own acrylics. “I do have some clients who remove their acrylics themselves,” she says, “and for those that do, I always explain to them what type of products they should use and educate them on the proper way to do it.”

Some techs even get calls from people who aren’t clients, asking how they should get their acrylics off. Wendy Updegrave of First Class Nails in East Lyme, Conn., says of these calls, “They’ll call me desperate to remove their nails because they think they have MMA on them. I don’t offer acrylic removal as a service by itself, so if they just want them off I’ll tell them how they can do it themselves.”

Loni Jensen-Preato of Da-Lonnie’s Hair and Nail Studio in Las Vegas actually sends some clients home with acetone and cuticle oil if they have to remove them on their own. “I tell them to put the acetone in a glass bowl and soak the nails for about 30 minutes,” she says, “and to rub their fingernails over each other while they soak to help remove the loosened acrylic.” And Jensen-Preato even tells her clients to pour the acetone back in the jar so they can bring it back to her for proper disposal.

But how should you instruct your clients? What is the best way to soak off acrylics at home? The process is important, because if done incorrectly, clients might say the ordeal was a bit painful, which it never should be. So let me share with you, from my perspective, the proper way to teach those insistent do-it-yourselfers to remove their acrylic nails at home.

Download this handout at, or by clicking here.

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