General Question

3or4monsters's avatar

What is the best way to remove acrylic nails?

Asked by 3or4monsters (3218 points ) May 11th, 2009

I looked online and read a few tutorials on the best methods for removing acrylic nails. They were put on professioanlly for my wedding, and while they looked great in the pictures, I am starting to feel like a cat who’s been played that awful trick where they wrap his paws in scotch tape.

The tutorials I read said to trim back the bitchclaws fake tips to your real length, then soak the nails in acetone nail polish remover for a long time, or tape cotton balls soaked in the stuff to my nails for a long period of time, over an hour or two. They’re then supposed to come off easily.

Except… they don’t. They look positively fused into the rough-sanded texture job they did with their tiny sanding belt tools on the tops of my real nails before shellacking on the acrylic paste and shaping a fake nail. My nails are like 1/16” of an inch in some places.

I’m a complete tomboy and I have no experience with this.

Can a salon fix my nails? Can I fix them myself? Or is it common to just let acrylics grow out? If it helps, I have a home manicure cut, all sorts of nailcutters, and I work at the office of a machine shop, so I have access to all sorts of dremels and sanding belts. I’m only a little bit kidding about using shop tools. I’ve already trimmed them back short and shaped them with a file.

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17 Answers

DrasticDreamer's avatar

If they’re on there that good, I’d leave them alone for a while. If your nails were sanded down really thin, you run the risk of pulling entire chunks of your real nail off – I’ve done it. Not pretty. What I ended up doing was chipping the fake nail away from the bottom, bit by bit. How thick are the fake nails? Are they pretty flush with your real nails or do they stick up somewhat?

La_chica_gomela's avatar

poor thing! i’ve been there—it definitely sucks.

3or4monsters's avatar

@DrasticDreamer Pretty darn flush, and I worry that nail chunks will rip off—- they were pretty sore and achey the day following the manicure, I believe from being sanded down so thin.

Fake nail thickness, it’s actually quite thin where the real nail grows out at the cuticle, but ramps up to the thickest right where the fake tips glued on, then tapers slightly back down again over the length of the nail. Or at least they did, till I trimmed them short.

I’ve been fluthering and buffing the top-edge where they are thickest near the trimmed edge, and it’s helping some, I think.

I like your idea of chipping it from the cuticle and working my way to the tip. I will try that when it has grown out a little bit more—I only got them done last Thursday. Waste of a good manicure, I know. :( But I’m worried about breaking one in a really painful way while at work, playing hockey, or at the gym. At least now when trimmed short, and buffed down a little, they are less likely to twist or get broken. Just thinking about it gives me shivers.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Oh, yeah. Definitely let them grow out some before you try chipping anything away. To make it a little easier try running the acetone polish remover over them at least once a day. You may just have to keep cutting them back until they’re gone, otherwise you’ll run the risk of having extremely mutilated nails. :-/

augustlan's avatar

Congrats on your marriage!

Judi's avatar

Just go back I the salon. They will soak them in acitone and file the rest off.

knitfroggy's avatar

Your best bet its to rough up the nail surface with a file so the acetone can get to them good. You can buy acetone polish remover and then just actual acetone. You don’t want the polish remover, it’s not strong enough. You can get it at the beauty supply store or here you can buy it at Walmart in the cosmetics. It does take a while, over an hour. I would suggest going to the salon though, it might cost you a few bucks, but they can get all of it off.

Facade's avatar

I’d take them off the way @knitfroggy said. don’t go to the salon. They’ll charge plus it’ll be painful as hell. also, fake nails are bad for you

3or4monsters's avatar

@DrasticDreamer Thank you so much for the feedback! You’ve helped me a bunch. :)
@augustlan Thank you! The wedding went perfectly.
@knitfroggy I bought nail polish remover with acetone, and you’re right, it wasn’t strong enough. :) But I do have access to regular acetone, we keep a tin of it in the flammable materials locker here at work. I read that a person needs to coat their fingers in petroleum jelly to protect them from the acetone soak, so I’ll look into getting that. Thank you!
@Facade I really don’t want to go back to the salon where I had them done, some of the people there were pretty rude, and they have no idea what’s painful and what isn’t, so I’d rather do them myself. And that doesn’t surprise me that they are bad for your nails! I don’t intend to get them done like this again. I don’t think they’re well suited for me. Thanks for the info.

Random aside: Fake nails are really nice for gentle head-scritches. I gave my husband a scalp massage yesterday before breaking out the power tools and chemicals.

casheroo's avatar

I’d go back to the salon, they know how to get them off the best I’d think.
I haven’t gotten those dreadful things since back in the day of dances for middle school. They hurt and kill your nails!

3or4monsters's avatar

@casheroo Word. Thank goodness formal occasions are few and far in between now.

Facade's avatar

I find that your natural nails kept short look the best at any occasion

3or4monsters's avatar

@Facade My nails are pretty much trashed normally. I work in a machining shop, I handle product, dig through rock tumblers, and clean machines and handle oil/grime/grease as often as I am in the office doing paperwork. They are short, and I scrub and file them daily, but they just would not look good in photographs that include close-ups of the wedding rings. :) That’s the only reason at all that I got the fakes. I had no idea they’d be such a PITA to remove. I agree with you, and I am generally NOT a big fan of long nails.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

If you’ve already clipped them down to the length you’re usually comfortable with then file down the edges and sides as the acrylic crazes or chips rather than trying to lift pieces off which will tear some of what’s left of your natural nail.

that’ll teach you :p

3or4monsters's avatar

@knitfroggy The pure acetone did the trick, it took a lot of applications, timing, waiting… but they eventually came off. :) Thanks!

knitfroggy's avatar

Good deal. Glad you’re finally rid of them without ripping layers of your actual nails off!

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