Natural Nails

The Help Desk

What’s the fastest way to remove acrylic nails? It seems to take forever.


Rima Kitsko: I prefer to use the “foil method.” This can be done at the salon, or you can teach your clients to do this at home prior to coming in to see you.

1.      Trim the nails back to the client’s free-edge.

2.      Roughen up the acrylic slightly to break any seal. If the acrylics are applied thickly, you may want to thin them down a bit.

3.      Take a piece of cotton and saturate it with pure acetone.

4.      Place the cotton on top of the nail, and then wrap the tip of the finger with a square of aluminium foil. Place the foil under the finger, fold it over the top of the nail, and then twist the edges in for a snug fit.

5.      Add a heat source to speed up the process. This can be done either by pulling down your table lamp or by slipping the hands into heated mitts or a heating pad.

6.      After about 15 minutes, loosen the foil, press down and pull it off along with the cotton pad – the acrylic will pull right off. Any leftover acrylic can be gently scraped off with an orangewood stick. Extra thick nails may require a second treatment.


Lin Halpern: The safest way to remove ethyl methacrylate acrylic nails has always been to soak in acetone, which takes between 30-45 minutes. To speed up this process, use the double-boiler method. Prepare a bowl of boiling or very hot water. Prepare a second smaller bowl for the acetone. Set the acetone bowl into the water bowl, creating a double-boiler effect. This keeps the acetone warm, which in turn makes the removal process go much faster. The trick is not to remove the fingertips from the acetone during the process. As the layers of acrylic soften, use an implement to gently scrape the layers away while still submersed. This method takes about 20 minutes and is entirely safe for the skin.


LaCinda Headings: Using the manufacturer’s product remover is faster than acetone, plus there are usually conditioners and buffers that treat and protect the nail while soaking. Heating the remover helps, but don’t heat in microwave! Run the bottle under hot water to heat, then put the bowl of remover in a larger bowl of hot water to keep the remover warm during soak-off. Adding marbles to the bowl will help to knock off loosened product.


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