How do u take off fake nails? Top tips for pain-free removal!

Some people find that fake nails are an excellent way to enhance their nails’ appearance, while others use them to help protect their natural nails from breaking or peeling. However, removing fake nails can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you do not know what you are doing. In this article, we will discuss the top tips for taking off fake nails without causing pain or damage to your natural nails.

Why do you need to remove fake nails?

If you have been wearing fake nails for a while, there are a few reasons why you might want to take them off. One of the most popular reasons is that you want to give your natural nails a chance to breathe and recover. Fake nails can be quite thick and heavy, and they can prevent air and moisture from reaching your natural nails, which can cause them to weaken over time. Additionally, fake nails can trap bacteria and fungus, which can lead to fungal infections and other health problems.

When is it time to take off fake nails?

If you have acrylic or gel nails, it is recommended that you have them removed every three to four weeks. This is because your natural nails grow underneath the fake nails, and the gap between the two can become a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. Additionally, if your fake nails are starting to lift, chip, or crack, it is time to have them removed to prevent damage to your natural nails.

Pain-free tips for removing fake nails

Soaking method

The soaking method is one of the most popular ways to remove fake nails. All you have to do is follow these simple steps:

  1. Fill a bowl with warm water and add a few drops of liquid soap or hand wash.
  2. Soak your nails in the solution for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Once the fake nails become soft, gently pry them off using a cuticle pusher or wooden stick.

This method is highly effective and is also gentle on your natural nails. It also reduces the risk of damaging your nails or causing pain during the removal process.

Acetone method

The acetone method is another popular way to remove fake nails. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Pour some acetone into a bowl and set it aside.
  2. Use a nail file to remove some of the shine from the fake nails.
  3. Cut small cotton balls or cotton pads to the size of your nails and soak them in the acetone.
  4. Place the soaked cotton on your nails and wrap with aluminum foil.
  5. Leave it on for about 20-30 minutes.
  6. Carefully remove the foil and cotton and gently pry off the fake nails using a cuticle pusher or wooden stick.

The acetone method is a bit faster than the soaking method, but it can be more drying to your nails, so be sure to apply cuticle oil or moisturizer after using this method.

Cutting method

The cutting method is an effective way for removing acrylic nails, but it should only be done by a professional. Here’s how it works:

  1. A professional will use a pair of nail clippers to trim your acrylic nails down as short as possible.
  2. They will then use a drill to file down the remaining acrylic material.
  3. Finally, they will buff and shape your natural nails to finish the process.

This method is quick and precise, but it is not recommended to try this on your own unless you are a professional.

Aftercare for your natural nails

After removing your fake nails, you need to take some additional steps to help your natural nails recover fully.

Giving your nails a break

A break is needed for your natural nails to recover fully. Leaving your nails bare for as little as a week can make a big difference. During this time, avoid using nail polish, gel nails or acrylic nails, and pay extra attention to your nail health by maintaining a healthy diet and taking vitamins that promote healthy nail growth.

Moisturize daily

Moisturizing your nails after removing fake nails can help them recover faster by providing extra hydration. You should use a moisturizer that contains ingredients that help restore your nails to their natural state, such as vitamin E or jojoba oil.

Use nail strengtheners

Nail strengtheners contain ingredients that help to reinforce your natural nail to aid the repair process from prolonged nail exposure to artificial nail overlay systems. Consider using nail strengtheners as an additional step to help your natural nails recover fully.


Removing your fake nails can be an easy, stress-free process if you follow the tips mentioned above. Safe removal of fake nails is essential to avoid damaging your natural nails. Once the fake nails come off, remember to give your natural nails a break, moisturize them daily, and protect them with nail strengtheners.

Commonly asked questions

  • Q: Can I soak my nails in hot water to remove fake nails?
  • A: Hot water can damage your nails and your skin if too hot. It’s best to stick to warm water and hand wash liquid.`
  • Q: Is it okay to use regular nail polish remover on acrylic nails?
  • A: Regular nail polish remover will not work on acrylic nails. You need acetone-based nail polish remover to remove acrylic nails effectively.
  • Q: Is it painful to remove fake nails?
  • A: If the right removal techniques are used, removal should not be painful. The most important thing is to be gentle when removing them, especially if you have sensitive or fragile nails.


  • American Academy of Dermatology. Ask a Dermatologist. Accessed 9 Oct 2022.
  • Blunt J.C, Schwarz N A. 2019. 1 – Introduction to Artificial Nails. In Comprehensive Guide to Manicure and Pedicure, Toronto: Elsevier. pp. 1-20.
  • Hassan H, Rahman HZ, Lai TW. 2021. Nail Infections in Immunocompromised Patients. In Lai TM, Lim ZV. (eds) Emerging Dermatological Herpes and Viral Infections. Singapore: Springer, pp. 145-156.

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