Tips & Tools: How To Remove Nail Extensions At Home

Even the best gel nail extensions need a refresh from time to time, but it isn’t always possible to get to your nail salon. Thankfully, you don’t have to put up with grown-out nails, you can remove your extensions at home.

Although visiting a salon for professional removal is often the preferred choice, there are numerous tips and tools available for safe and efficient gel polish removal at home.

We’ve compiled a list of beginner tips and essential tools to help you refresh your nails at home. Let’s begin!

Essential Tools For Removing Acrylic Nails at Home

Before you jump straight into removing your acrylic nails yourself, there are a few things you need to make the process easier and help protect your natural nails.

  • 100% pure acetone nail polish remover. This is the most important thing to remove your acrylic nail extensions as it helps to break down the adhesive without damaging your nail bed.
  • Nail file and buffer. These will help you rough up the surface of the polish to help the acetone get to work faster.
  • Nail Clips. These make it much easier to soak your nails and are far more effective than using aluminium foil, although this can also be used in a pinch.
  • Cotton Balls. Cotton balls or pads are the ideal way to apply the acetone to your nails. They’re also gentle on your skin and nail beds.
  • Cuticle Oil. Finally, cuticle oil is essential to help moisturise and nourish your skin after you’ve removed your nail extensions.

Once you’ve got these essentials, you can jump right into the removal process.

How to Remove Acrylic Nails at Home in 6 Steps

Here is our 6-step guide to removing your acrylic nail extensions at home.

1) Clip the Excess Acrylics

The first step is to trim the excess from your extensions. You can use a simple pair of nail clippers to do this. Try to cut your acrylic nails as close to your natural nails as possible.

2) Buff Out Your Nails

using a nail buffer or a soft nail file, gently rough up the surface of your nails. Keep going until all the shine has been removed. This will make the polish softer and create gaps for the acetone to penetrate the polish more easily.

3) Soak Your Nails in Acetone

This is where the nail clips will make your life much easier. Apply the 100% acetone to your nails using a cotton ball or pad. Then, use the nail clips to keep the cotton pad firmly in place. Soak your nails for at least 5 minutes.

4) Gently Push the Softened Polish

Using a metal cuticle pusher, begin to gently push the softened polish off your nails. Always begin from your cuticles and push downwards. Keep re-soaking your nails until all of your acrylics have been completely removed.

5) Buff Your Nails for a Smooth Finish

There are likely to be a few bits left from the acrylics, even after multiple rounds of soaking. You can remove these leftover pieces by buffing your nails again until they’re smooth.

6) Massage Your Nails with Cuticle Oil

Once you’ve removed all the gel nail extensions from your natural nails, you need to rehydrate and soothe the skin around your nail beds. Cuticle oil is the best way to do this, but petroleum jelly can also work really well. To get the most out of the moisturisation, use the soft side of a nail buffer to really work it in.

6 Tips to Remove Acrylic Nails Safely

If you’ve never removed acrylic nails at home before, there are a few things you need to know to make sure you do it safely and don’t end up damaging your natural nails underneath.

  1. Don’t ever try to pull your gel extensions off. It can be tempting to begin picking at your gel extensions, especially when they’re starting to grow out. However, this can cause significant damage to your natural nails. Always follow the proper removal method to protect your nails.
  2. Don’t rush. When you’re new to the process of removing gel extensions, you should take your time. Make sure you’re following all the steps properly to get the best results, there’s no need to rush.
  3. Always protect your skin. Acetone is a harsh chemical that can cause damage to your skin over time. To reduce any irritation, you should use a barrier cream or petroleum jelly on the skin surrounding your nail before you begin acrylic removal.
  4. Avoid touching your face. While you’re using acetone to remove your acrylic nails, it’s incredibly important to avoid touching your face, especially near your eyes. There’s plenty of sensitive skin on your face that can be irritated by the chemical.
  5. Wash your hands after using acetone. Always wash your hands after using acetone. This will remove any traces of the chemicals that are left behind. Not only does this help avoid unnecessary irritation, but it also prevents you from accidentally touching your face with the chemical.
  6. Moisturise after removal. As we mentioned in our removal steps, moisturising your skin afterwards is essential. Focus on your cuticles, the surrounding skin, and even the actual nail bed.

The most important thing to remember is to follow removal instructions properly to keep your nails healthy.

Removing Acrylic Nails at Home for Beginners

Removing your acrylic nails at home might seem daunting at first, but with the right tools, a little patience, and by following our detailed step-by-step guide, you can safely and effectively remove your gel nail extensions.

Always remember, it’s important to never force or rush the process and to keep your skin and nails moisturised. This way, you’re not only ensuring the health of your natural nails but also preparing them for your next gorgeous gel extension application. Happy removal!


How long do I need to soak my nails in acetone?

You need to soak your nails in acetone for at least 5 minutes. However, the process might take longer, depending on the thickness of your acrylic nails.

What can I use if I don’t have nail clips?

If you don’t have nail clips, you can use aluminium foil to hold the cotton pads soaked in acetone against your nails. This can work in a pinch, but clips are the preferred method as they apply more pressure.

My acrylic nails are hard to remove. What should I do?

If your nails are difficult to remove, repeat the soaking process. Never try to force the acrylic nail off, as it can damage your natural nails. Remember not to rush through the process.

My skin feels dry after the process. Is this normal?

Yes, acetone can dry out your skin. That’s why it’s important to moisturise your hands and nails after the process, using cuticle oil or petroleum jelly. You should also make sure to moisturise your skin between application and removal to maintain healthy skin.

Can I reapply acrylic nails immediately after removal?

It’s recommended to give your natural nails some time to breathe and recover after acrylic nail removal. However, if your nails feel healthy and strong, you may reapply when you feel ready.

Speak Your Mind