How to take off acrylic nails

Acrylic nails are artificial nails which are professionally attached to the fingertips to make them look like natural nails. They are quite hard and strong.  

How to remove acrylic nails

While it is possible to get the acrylic nails removed even in the salons, you can do the same even at home with a few remedies.

Warm water

You will need:

  • Warm water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

How to:

  1. Heat up the water until it is warm. Make sure the water is not too hot or too cold. The main purpose of using warm water is to soften the acrylic nails and the glue present underneath.
  2. Once the water is warm enough, add the salt to it and let it dissolve.
  3. Now dip your fingertips into this solution for about 15 minutes.
  4. After 15 minutes you will notice that your nails are much softer and you will be able to remove them far more easily.

Foil method

You will need:

  • Nail filer
  • Nail cutter
  • Nail polish remover
  • A few cotton balls
  • Aluminium foil
  • Coconut oil

How to:

  1. Cut off the top of the acrylic nails till you reach your fingertips.
  2. Use a sharp nail cutter/clipper to do this as acrylic nails are comparatively hard to cut.
  3. After cutting your nails, with the help of a nail filer, make the rough edges of your nails smooth.
  4. If you had any nail colour on, then remove it using a nail polish remover.
  5. Now dip the cotton balls in the nail polish remover or acetone. Make sure the cotton balls are saturated with acetone or else the nails will not loosen.
  6. Place these cotton balls over your nails and then wrap your fingernails with the help of a piece of foil.
  7. You may even cut out some square pieces of aluminium foil in advance to wrap your fingernails. The foil will ensure that the acetone works on the nails for the desired time.
  8. Let the cotton balls work on your nails for about 20 minutes.
  9. Now remove the foil along with the cotton ball and the artificial nail will come right off with it. If you find that the nail is still sticking onto your actual nail then wrap then it again for some more time.
  10. You can apply coconut oil on your fingers before applying acetone or the nail polish remover if you feel that your fingertips tend to dry out due to the harsh chemicals.

Nail filing method

You will need:

  • A nail filer
  • A nail cutter
  • Some moisturiser

How to:

  1. Using a nail cutter, remove the top parts of the nail.
  2. Now using your nail filer, start filing the edges as well as the centre portion of your nail.
  3. Try to make one clean stroke at a time.
  4. Keep filing until you can feel your original nail. Remember that you cannot be too harsh with this as the nail filer may brush against your skin or nail bed and cause pain.
  5. The acrylic nail will also get removed quite easily after continuous filing.
  6. After removing the acrylic nail, use a moisturiser on your nails as well as cuticles.

Dental floss method

This method can only be done with the help of a second person. So it takes two people to use dental floss for the removal of acrylic nails.

You will need:

  • A cuticle stick
  • Some dental floss
  • Nail polish remover
  • Moisturiser
  • Nail buffer

How to:

  1. Remove any nail paint or any topcoat from your acrylic nails with the help of a nail polish remover or acetone. For this method, it is actually preferred if you do not cut your nails beforehand. If your artificial nails have already been clipped from the top, then using this method is not advisable as the nail might not come off completely in one go.
  2. Now, using a cuticle stick, create a slit or opening under the nail (from where your nails begin).
  3. You have to make some space in order to insert the dental floss.
  4. Now ask your partner to insert the dental floss and hold the ends using both hands.
  5. Using sawing motion, keep working the dental floss under the nail and after some time, the nail will fall off. R
  6. emove any leftover glue using a nail buffer and apply some moisturiser to finish off.


  • While using the dental floss method, make sure that you have a partner. Trying to work with it alone can result in cuts and injuries as dental floss is quite thin. 
  • When removing acrylic nails at home, using the foil method or the warm water method is very safe and easy to do. The manual methods have to be done very carefully.
  • Do not try to pull your acrylic nails off thinking that the glue has lost its strength. The acrylic nails stick very close to the actual nails and may cause severe damage to your nail bed if pulled off forcefully.
  • When using nail polish remover, make sure you are not around a fire source as the alcohol present in such liquids is highly inflammable.
  • After the removal of acrylic nails, follow up with a moisturiser in order to keep your nails and cuticles from drying out.

Myths and facts about acrylic nails

Myths Facts 
Acrylic nail paints and glue can enter your blood stream. All the fluids used during the application of acrylic nails begin to stiffen up and eventually become solid within a few minutes. They cannot get absorbed into your blood stream.
Acrylic nails can damage your real nails. The real nails can only get damaged if the wrong products are used. While putting the glue, one has to make sure that it does not spread onto the skin. The nails must never be pulled using force once they have been fixated.

Frequently asked questions

Can acrylic nails result in infections?

None of the fluids or materials used during the application of acrylic nails are harmful. They cannot cause any infections. However, unsanitary surroundings or accumulation of dirt within the nails can lead to fungal infections just as it would on natural nails.

Do acrylic nails cut off the oxygen supply to our real nails?

Our nails are actually dead. That is why we do not feel any pain while clipping them. The skin underneath the nails has living cells which obtain oxygen from within the body. Acrylic nails are placed directly onto the real nails and they do not cause any harm by cutting off the oxygen because our nails do not need it in the first place.

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