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nail supply, nail removal

How to Remove Dip Powder/Gel/Acrylic Nails at Home Without Damaging Your Natural Nails

When it comes to removing your long-lasting nail enhancements by yourself, we’d normally slap a big, fat “DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME” sticker on the idea. Going to a salon and having an experienced nail technician remove them is always going to be the safest and least damaging method however, granted the ~unusual~ circumstances we were met with in recent times, some of us had no other option but to perform a DIY removal. Removing Dip Powder/Gel/Acrylic Nails at home is pretty easy though.

A lot of nail enhancements get a bad wrap because they’re so “DaMaGiNg To ThE nAiL” when in fact what might actually be the culprit is the way in which they’re removed. We know how tempting it can be to have at it when they start to chip or peel but it’s the number one no-no! Please resist the urge; we all know it never ends well. (We’re all guilty though so don’t worry).

Contrary to popular belief and many failed attempts (heh) - there are actually many ways to quickly and easily remove your dip/gel/acrylic nails in the comfort of your own home. We’ve scoured the internet on your behalf to find you the best tutorials that won’t lead to damaged nails! Proceed with confidence because we’ve tried and tested these methods ourselves, adding our own tips and notes.

1. How to Remove Dip Nails At Home with the Baggy Method

This is our favourite way to remove dip powder nails at home. It's so easy and efficient and you won’t make a mess!

For this method you will need your hand file; a small Tupperware tub big enough to fit your hands in; paper towels; 2 large or medium zip lock bags; a cuticle pusher; 100% pure acetone; and HOT WATER. Hot water accelerates the entire process. Try it and see for yourself.

  1. Buff off the shiny top layer of your dip powder manicure. There’s no harm in buffing off more - it’ll speed up the process.
  2. Fill a small tub with hot water, as hot as you can stand to touch. Fill it halfway so it doesn’t overflow when you put your bags and hands into it later.
  3. Fold two paper towels and put them at the bottom of the zip lock bags.
  4. Pour in enough acetone to soak the paper towels.
  5. Put your hands in the zip lock bags and place them into the tub of hot water. Make sure the water in the tub doesn’t get inside the bags otherwise the acetone will not be able to do its job.
  6. Wriggle your nails around, rubbing them back and forth against the paper towel. Constantly agitate the acetone and paper towel to speed up the process. Do this for roughly 5-10 minutes depending on how many layers of dip powder you have on.
  7. Check on your nails. If there is dip powder left on your nails, continue with the Baggy Method.
  8. Lastly, clean any last traces of dip powder off with a cuticle pusher, file, or buffer.

This tutorial demonstrates how to remove dip powder nails at home but really this same method could be used for removing gel and acrylic nails as well!

2. How to remove Gel Nails At Home Without Foils

If you’ve gotten a gel manicure from a salon before, you’ll most likely have had them removed with acetone soaked cotton and foil wraps. You can easily do this at home but folding the foils can get rather tricky when you get up to your non-dominant hand (unless you’re ambidextrous).

Not only is foil annoying to deal with but it gets rather tiresome if you like to check on the progress only to realise that they need a bit longer and then have to re-wrap that nail whilst all your other fingers are wrapped. Save yourself this stress with this next method.

Similar to the previous Baggy Method, this method uses a bowl of acetone.

  1. Buff off as much gel polish as you can and then let them soak in the bowl of 100% pure acetone. We recommend warming up your acetone indirectly (by letting the bottle sit in some hot water) first because as we’ve seen, warm acetone works a lot better!
  2. Give the acetone a bit of time to work its magic (approximately 5-10 minutes)
  3. Scrape off gel polish with a cuticle pusher, and repeat the process if necessary. The gel polish should come off with very little effort.
  4. Remove any remaining bits and smooth your nails with a buffer.

3. How to Remove Acrylic Nails At Home

Acrylics are super long-lasting by nature so the idea of trying to get them off yourself can seem daunting but it isn't! - really! A lot of the damage from acrylic nails comes from improper removal. All you need is a little bit of patience and a lot of acetone to get them off without damaging your real nails.

  1. Use a nail tip clipper to cut off the excess length of your acrylics. Cut them as close as possible to your natural nails.
  2. File or buff off the shiny top surface completely.
  3. Soak your nails in a bowl of acetone for 5 minutes.
  4. Gently push the acrylic off your nails using a steel cuticle pusher.
  5. Continue to repeat the process of soaking and pushing acrylic off until everything is removed.
  6. Buff off any remaining acrylic with a nail buffer.

We recommend finishing every method with a good cuticle oil to add hydration to nails after they’ve been in contact with acetone. Massage cuticle oil into and around your nails. Massaging it in will stimulate circulation, promoting nail growth!

These are by far our favourite methods to remove dip powder, gel polish, and acrylic nails at home. Get everything you need from nail application to nail removal in-store or online and delivered to your door at American Beauty Supply.