How to Take Off Fake Acrylic Nails Without the Nail Damage

Acrylic nails have been a popular way to achieve longer, stronger, and well-manicured nails for years. However, many people who have tried to remove acrylic nails at home have found that the process can be quite difficult and painful. Attempting to remove acrylic nails on your own can damage your natural nails, causing them to become brittle and weak. Fortunately, there are safe and effective ways to remove fake acrylic nails without damaging your natural nails. In this article, we will provide you with some tips on how to take off fake acrylic nails without nail damage.

Why Is It Important To Remove Acrylic Nails Correctly?

It is essential to remove acrylic nails correctly to protect your natural nails from damage. When acrylic nails are applied, a bonding agent, usually cyanoacrylate or methacrylate, is used, which can cause a chemical reaction if exposed to acetone. If not removed carefully, acrylic nails can weaken and damage your natural nails. Improper removal techniques can cause pain, bleeding, and increase the risk of infection. Hence, it is vital to learn the right method to remove acrylic nails.

Things You Will Need To Remove Fake Acrylic Nails

You may already have most of the things required to take off acrylic nails at home. Before getting started, make sure you have the following items:

  • Acetone
  • Petroleum Jelly
  • Nail buffer
  • Cotton balls
  • An emery board
  • A bowl of warm water
  • Aluminum foil
  • Clippers or nail scissors (optional)

How to Remove Acrylic Nails With Acetone

Acetone is a common solvent that breaks down the bonding agent used in acrylic nails. You can use acetone to remove acrylic nails safely at home. However, you need to be careful while using acetone, as it can dry out your skin and cuticles. Here are the step-by-step instructions to remove acrylic nails using acetone:

Step 1: Protect Your Skin

Before applying acetone, protect your skin using petroleum jelly. Apply petroleum jelly around your cuticles, on your fingers, and over your nails. This helps to prevent your skin from drying out when exposed to acetone.

Step 2: Cut The Fake Nails Short

Cut the fake nails as short as possible using nail scissors or clippers. This makes the removal process easy and quick.

Step 3: File The Top Layer

Using a nail buffer or emery board, file off the top layer of the acrylic nails. This will help the acetone soak into the acrylic nails and dissolve the bonding agent.

Step 4: Soak Your Nails in Acetone

Fill a bowl with acetone and dip your nails in it. Make sure that the acetone covers all of the acrylic nails. It is essential to avoid touching the skin while soaking your nails. You can use aluminum foil to wrap each nail with acetone-soaked cotton balls around to keep the acetone from evaporating and to hold it in place.

Step 5: Wait For 20-30 Minutes

Allow your nails to soak in the acetone for at least 20-30 minutes. During this time, the acetone will soften the acrylic nails, making them easier to remove.

Step 6: Check The Nails

After 20-30 minutes, check the nails. The acrylic nails should look melted and appear soft. Use a cuticle pusher to gently nudge the acrylic nails away from the natural nails. If the acrylic nails are still firm, soak them for a few more minutes and try again.

Step 7: File The Residual Acrylic

Once you have removed the acrylic nails, use the emery board to file away any residual acrylic material or glue sticking to your natural nails.

Step 8: Moisturize Your Hands

Wash your hands with lukewarm water and dry them using a soft towel. Apply a generous amount of moisturizer to your hands and cuticles, as acetone can dry out your skin.

Alternative Techniques to Remove Fake Acrylic Nails

Method 1: Soak Your Nails In Warm Water

Soaking your nails in warm water is a non-toxic and less harsh method to remove fake acrylic nails. It takes longer than using acetone but avoids damage to your natural nails. Follow the steps below:

  1. Fill a bowl with warm water.
  2. Place your fingers in the water and soak your nails for 30-40 minutes.
  3. Gently lift the edges of the acrylic nails with a cuticle pusher or orange stick.
  4. Gradually work your way under the acrylic and lift it off your natural nail.
  5. If nails don’t come off easily, soak the fingers again for few more minutes.
  6. After removing the acrylic nails, use a nail file to remove any remaining adhesive from your nails.

Method 2: Dental Floss or Thread Method

This technique is a quick and easy way to remove acrylic nails if you do not have acetone at home. It requires dental floss or thread to slide between the acrylic nails and natural nails. This method works best on acrylic nails that are starting to loosen from the nail bed. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Use a nail buffer to remove the shiny topcoat of each nail.
  2. Cut a few pieces of dental floss, around 12 inches each.
  3. Place the floss under one edge of the fake nail, holding the floss ends, gently pull it back and forth under the fake nail. Repeat this action, using the floss at different points under each nail until the glue or resin of the false nail loosens its hold to the natural one.
  4. After removing the acrylic nails, use a nail file to remove any remaining adhesive from your nails.

Tips To Prevent Nail Damage While Removing Acrylic Nails

Here are a few tips to help you avoid damaging your natural nails while removing acrylic nails:

  • Do not force the nails off, as it can hurt your natural nails.
  • Try using acetone-free nail polish remover if you’re sensitive to acetone.
  • Always file off the top layer of acrylic nails before using acetone.
  • Do not use a metal tool, such as a knife or needle, to remove acrylic nails, as they can damage your natural nails and cuticles.


Acrylic nails provide a significant boost to your looks, but they need precise care while applying and removing them. Removing acrylic nails without damaging your natural nails is easy and can be done at home with commonly available materials. Utilize our approaches mentioned above to take off fake acrylic nails like a pro, without compromising the health of your natural nails.

Most Common Questions and Their Answers

  • What is the best way to remove acrylic nails?
  • The best way to remove acrylic nails is by using acetone. You can follow the above steps to remove them safely without damaging your natural nails.

  • Can you remove acrylic nails without acetone?
  • Yes, you can remove acrylic nails without acetone by soaking your nails in warm water or using the dental floss/thread method mentioned above.

  • How long do acrylic nails last?
  • Acrylic nails can last for up to two weeks to two months depending on how fast your nails grow and how well you maintain them.

  • Are acrylic nails harmful to your natural nails?
  • Acrylic nails themselves are not harmful to your natural nails, but removing them using incorrect methods or without professional help can damage your natural nails.

  • Can I reuse acrylic nails?
  • We do not recommend it. Reusing acrylic nails increases the risk of infection and may damage your natural nails.


  1. “How to Remove Acrylic Nails Safely?”. Healthline, 2021,
  2. “The Complete Guide to Removing Acrylic Nails at Home – Skincare Top List”. Skincare Top List, 2021,
  3. “How to Remove Acrylic Nails at Home (Without Damaging Your Nails!)”. Purewow, 2021,

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