Removing Enhancements the Right Way

A client came in recently with shattered nails. The damage made me cringe and want to cry for her poor nails. When I asked her what happened she told me she’d pulled off her acrylics. Just in case the words cringe and cry didn’t make this clear, ripping off any type of enhancements on your nails is really really bad!

As your resident nail tech, trying desperately to save the world one nail at a time, if you have the urge to do what this client did and take matters into your own hands and remove your enhancements by yourself you need to read this right now!

Damaged Nails

Take a look at this image below.  This is the perfect example of the damage that picking off your nail products will do.  When you pull off acrylics, builder gel, gel polish, or soft gel tips it weakens and delaminates the nail plate.

Delaminated is a word you should know. It is the word the beauty industry uses to describe nails that are peeling and flaking at the free end of your nail. It’s one sign of severely damaged nails and it’s also what can cause nails to weaken, break and tear. 

Repairing these nails is a whole other subject, but let’s jump into how you can prevent delamination in the first place.

How to Safely Remove Enhancements

First, the safest way to remove your enhancements is by soaking them in acetone. If you have a nail tech that tries to use a tip to peel any of these products off tell them to STOP. It causes the same damage as you pulling them off yourself. A reputable salon will always soak your nails to remove them. 

You know here at Bella Hands we’re extra careful to make sure we do things right every. single. time.

When You Have to DIY the Removal of Nail Enhancements

If you either can’t get into a salon soon enough or simply cannot wait to get your enhancements off and want to try and DIY it at home I love these steps that were clearly outlined in an article by Cosmopolitan


Step 1:  Cut off your enhancements (get as close to your real nails as possible without actually snipping them off).

Step 2:  Pour 100 percent acetone into a large Ziploc baggie, filling it up just enough to be able to fully submerge your nails.

Step 3:  Tilt the bag to the side so the acetone pools into one corner, then stick your hand in the bag, letting your nails soak in the acetone.

Step 4: Let them sit for 15 to 20 minutes (probably a good time to start a Netflix series), then gently scrape off the enhancements with a wooden cuticle stick.

Step 5: If your enhancements don’t push off easily, resoak them for another five minutes, then try again.

Step 6: Buff off any remaining residue to finish.


Now, the next time you need to remove any enhancements from your nails you know exactly how you can go about doing it and keep your nails free from damage.

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