How to Remove Gel Polish From Acrylic Nails?

Last Updated on April 27, 2022 by SulaBeauty Staff

I am sure everybody wants to get rid of half-chipped and disgusting nail polish from nails when it is too long. But when you get a gel manicure from a nail salon cured under UV/LED lamp, removing the gel polish from acrylic or fake nails without affecting the fake nails underneath could be a big task!  

In this article, I will tell you the answer to how to remove gel nail polish from acrylic nails at home. It can be a little challenging to do it at home without removing the acrylic or fake nails, but I will help you through each method and recommend the most suitable products for the process.  

What to Avoid Before Diving Into? 


Before we dive into the methods, I’d like to advise you to resist the urge to bite your nails or peel your gel polish. Picking or biting can damage the surface of fake nails, leaving an uneven surface for your next manicure. A smooth surface is very crucial for manicures to last long and look good.

Also, if it’s your natural nail underneath, picking and biting can cause your nails to become brittle, dry, prone to breaking, and weak.  

Can I Use Nail Polish Remover Instead of Acetone to Remove Acrylics? 


Yes, you can; however, Acetone is the main active ingredient in most nail polish removers. There are non-acetone-based nail polish removers containing sodium acetate, methyl acetate, etc. but not Acetone and, therefore, are considered less harmful to nails. 

So, if you are looking for a nail thinner that doesn't contain Acetone, I'd recommend this one from Cutex. 

Simply submerge your fake nails into the nail polish remover in a bowl for at least ten to fifteen minutes and when you start feeling the fake nails loosening up, apply a little pressure to lift them up and this is how you remove acrylic nails.

Which Nail Polish Remover is Best for Acrylic Nails? 


As per technicians, acetone-based nail polish removers are considered the best in removing fake nails. On top of it, a 100% acetone-based remover could do wonders and prove to be very efficient. But if you are looking for nail polish to remove the gel based nail polish above fake nails then, a non-acetone-based nail paint remover can also do the trick; read the whole article. 

However, people don’t prefer using a nail thinner as Acetone is not considered a healthy option for nails and their growth. Non-acetone nail thinner also holds the capacity to remove fake nails, and I’d advise you to choose non-acetone over acetone-based remover.  

What Happens if You Use Nail Polish Remover on Acrylics? 


When acrylic nails are submerged in nail polish removers, they tend to loosen up making it easier to remove acrylic nails and it also melts off the nail polish. This process helps prevent excessive damage from scraping or peeling.

One must use cuticle oil or petroleum jelly at this moment to provide enough nourishment to the nail bed.

Technicians suggest either using a hot water method or foil paper and soaked cotton ball method to remove fake nails. These methods are effective and can be performed at home with ease.  

3 Methods to Remove Gel Polish From Acrylic Nails at Home 


Now let’s answer the main question, i.e., how to get gel polish off acrylic nails? Here are a few tried-and-true methods for removing gel nail polish from fake nails at home. They are easy to do methods that one can understand and perform.  

Solution 1- The Filing Method using Nail drill

How to remove gel polish from acrylic nails with drill 


Most people consider using acetone-based nail polish remover for removing gel nail polish because it is efficient; however, with pros comes a lot of drawbacks.

Acetone is not a healthy option for your nails. Now you must be thinking about how do you get gel polish off acrylic nails without nail thinner?

Well, the answer is by using a nail drill. 

This is hands down one of the best ways to remove polish from acrylic or fake nails; it’s efficient and time-conserving. Nail technicians in the nail salon highly use this method.

You can do it at home with your own hands as well; however, you will have to be extremely careful while using the nail drill on your own. I’d recommend this nail drill from RenoJ

1. You can start filing the gel polish from the nails using the nail driller, but you need to remember to move the nail driller in only one direction; you can start moving downwards in swift strokes. You will observe that the polish will start coming off.

Also, remember not to file in one place for too long; move in all nail areas. Because when a nail drill is used on nails, it generates heat that can damage the acrylic nails below if you keep doing it in one place for a long. 

2. Continue the same process for all your nails until the gel polish is removed from every one of them. However, it will not take too long to do this process.  

Solution 2 – Using Non-acetone-based Nail Polish Remover 


In this solution, we will look at two methods that can help you remove the gel polish from acrylic or fake nails using a non-acetone-based nail thinner. I would recommend this nail polish remover from Cutex.  

The Tinfoil Method 

For performing this method, we will need aluminum foil, non-acetone nail polish remover, cotton balls, and a nail file. It’s very similar to what nail technicians do in the salon to remove polish.  

  1. As for the first step, you should buff your nails using a nail file. This step will remove shine from your gel nails. I recommend you to get this nail file from Amazon.
  2. Take the nail thinner, soak cotton balls in the solution, and soak them thoroughly.  
  3. Cover your finger nails into that wet cotton ball, and then layer it with a small square of aluminum foil. Ensure that the foil covers the whole nail wrapped in a cotton ball inside and doesn’t come off.  
  4. Keep them for at least ten minutes and then remove the foil wraps and make use of soaked cotton balls to wipe off the residue, if any. Try using an orange wooden stick to scrape off the residue if that doesn’t work.  

The Hot Water Method 

You will need hot water, non-acetone-based remover, an orange stick for nails, two bowls, and a nail file for this method. This process is used in baking and is popularly known as the double boiler method. Here, we are going to use the same technique but for nails.  

Follow the below-given steps carefully: 

  1. Buff your nails to remove the shine from the top layer of gel polish using a nail file.  
  2. Now, take a large bowl and fill it with some hot water. Place a smaller bowl filled with non-acetone gel nail polish remover inside the large bowl.  
  3. Soak your finger nails into the small bowl and keep them inside for at least 10 minutes.  
  4. Using an orange stick, push the polish from its edges to remove it. You can buy an orange stick for your nails from Amazon. It’s considered a very effective and painless method for removing gel polish from acrylic or fake nails if done carefully. 
See also: Can Acrylic Paint Be Used as Nail Polish?

Final Thoughts on removing gel polish from acrylic nails at home without Acetone 


As beautiful as acrylics look, you need to remember taking a break from acrylic or fake nails as they can put stress on your natural nails and can get painful on the edges. Also, it’s healthy to get someday a simple gel manicure to give your natural nails to breathe.

I’d suggest you trim your nails shorter. Longer the nails, the more risk of getting hurt by bumping into things or people.  

All the methods that I’ve provided in this article are safe to perform and recommended by nail experts. They are the easiest ways to remove the gel polish from fake nails at home without Acetone.  

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