Shellac nails are amazing. I mean, there is virtually no drying time, they last for almost two weeks, and they barely chip. They are the new generation of manicures. Almost sounds too good to be true, right? Well, for such a great manicure, there are tradeoffs. In this case, the tradeoff for beautiful nails that last nearly two weeks is the difficult removal process.
Shellac nails cannot be removed with regular nail polish remover. In fact, even 100% acetone takes its time to work through the layers of gel. There isn’t a special polish remover for shellac nail polish available yet. So, when you are in a bind or don’t particularly feel like having someone charge you $5-$10 to have your polish removed, here is a way to remove your own shellac polish at home.
What you’ll need:
- 100% acetone (please note the one in the photo above is NOT 100% acetone. I realized this after I used it, but it still works for this purpose).
- Orange/cuticle stick
- Cotton balls/pads
- Aluminum foil (enough to wrap around all 10 fingers)
Step 1. Break out the cotton! I had cotton pads on hand, so I cut them in half. Soak them in acetone until fully drenched. Then, wrap the pad around your nail, and secure the pad with aluminum foil.
Be prepared, acetone may start to drip down from your fingers, so you may want to use another cotton pad (or paper towel) to wipe it up.
Step 2. Continue this process on all your nails. I highly recommend working one hand at a time. The process is too messy to work on both hands at the same time. Wait 10 minutes.
Step 3. Has it been 10 minutes? Good. Slide your nail out of the aluminum form, and you’ll see something like above. Flaking polish. The more flakes, the better.
Step 4. Use the orange stick to gently lift and scrape the polish off your nails. Be careful, as this can lift the top layers of the nail if the polish hasn’t been loosened enough. If you notice your polish isn’t coming off easily, slide your finger back into it’s aluminum form and let the acetone work for a few more minutes.
Step 5. Once your polish has been removed, it’ll look like above. Gross, right? Well, now is the time to buff and clean those nails up! Follow the steps on your buffer for the best results.
There we go, nails looking good as new again! In fact, they are ready for some nail polish if you like. The surface should now be smooth.
- Using the aluminum foil method, rather than submerging the hand in acetone, helps ensure that the skin is not dried out. Acetone is a strong chemical, so it’s best to try the least damaging method for removal first.
- The aluminum foil method can take a long time. It can take about an hour to fully remove the polish and buff all nails to perfection yourself. Keep that in mind. This remove process won’t happen in 15 minutes.
- Find 100% acetone. I was able to get away with a product that was mostly acetone, but 100% acetone will work even better. You may have to read all the chemicals ingredients on the label, or you may need to venture into a beauty supply store to get the right stuff.
Do you have any tips for removing shellac nail polish? Please share!