If you’re obsessed with your nails, then you know there’s nothing as satisfying as walking out of a salon with a fresh acrylic set. But after a few weeks with those glamorous nails, you also know what’s coming: the dreaded and tedious removal process. Although experts recommend that you seek out a qualified nail tech to remove your acrylics safely, you can do it at home. Read on for DIY removal advice from celebrity manicurist and CEO of Master Class Nail Academy Julie Kandalec and CND Nail Education Ambassador Vanessa McCullough.
Step 1: Cut Off Nail Extensions
Start by using an acrylic nail clipper to trim any of the nail extensions and their acrylic coatings that extend past the length of your natural nails. Clipping off the excess product helps to expedite the removal process.
Step 2: File Down the Top Layer of Acrylic
Using a 100-grit coarse nail file, begin to file down the acrylic coating to thin out the acrylic and to scratch up the surface a bit. The scratches that the file creates on the acrylic are important, because they act as channels, which helps the acetone you’re going to apply next absorb more quickly.
Whatever you do, steer clear of nail salons that use harsh chemicals such as methyl methacrylate (MMA) during the acrylic application process—”In order to remove this unsafe acrylic, you would really have to rough up the nail bed, causing permanent damage to the natural nail,” Kandalec explained.
Step 3: Apply Cuticle Oil
Before you soak off the acrylic layer of your nails, you need to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. “Acetone remover is extremely drying so you want to be sure to apply cuticle oil around the perimeter of the nail, on cuticles and even under the nail on to your fingertips,” Kandalec says. McCullough recommends a cuticle oil like CND Solar Oil, which has natural oils that serve as a protective barrier, so your skin doesn’t absorb the drying acetone.