Acrylic Nail Removal

Basic Soak-Off Procedure

  • Clip off the free-edge of the enhancement. The shorter you cut them, the less acrylic there is to remove. Tip cutters or toe-nail clippers work well for this procedure.
  • Optional: Use an electric file or a coarse file to thin down the product and remove the surface shine of the nails. This step may be necessary with some types of acrylic. If initial soaking does not produce results, then rinse hands and file as directed above.
  • Apply petroleum jelly to skin around nails to help protect it during soaking.
  • Choose a bowl for soaking. Use a glass or ceramic bowl. Do not use metal. Only use plastic that is acetone-proof (that is, won't melt). Adding colored marbles to the bowl allows you to use less acetone. It looks pretty and the client can play with the marbles while soaking.
  • Pour in the solvent: 100% acetone or a manufacturer recommended acrylic remover solution. Fill the bowl about an inch or more as needed - it must be deep enough to cover all of the clients nails. Placing the solvent bottle in a bath of warm water for 10 minutes before the procedure may help it work better.
  • Submerse nails in the solution and soak. Cover bowl with a hand towel.
  • Within 10-20 minutes the top layer of acrylic should start melting. Use a cuticle pusher or orange wood stick to scrape off the top layers of acrylic that have turned soft. As soon as the nails come out of the solvent the acrylic will start to harden again, so you must work quickly.
  • Return the nails to acetone and repeat the soaking and scraping process until all the acrylic is removed from the nail. A very coarse and sturdy nail file (the soakable type) can also be used to scrape the acrylic away on the top layers. Be sure not to file on the natural nail!
  • Wash the hands and nails thoroughly. Gently buff away any remaining remnants of product.
  • A moisturizing manicure service is recommended after removal to help condition the nails.
  • The amount of time needed to remove a set of acrylics depends on the product and the thickness.
Alternate Removal Method

  • Clip off extra length and protect the skin with petroleum jelly as above.
  • Completely saturate a cotton ball in solvent.
  • Place the saturated cotton ball on the nail that is to be removed and then wrap foil firmly around the finger.
  • To accelerate removal, cover the foil with a saran-type plastic wrap and warm the nails by dipping them in warm paraffin, or place them under a heated herbal neck wrap or heating pad.
  • At regular intervals, unwrap and test one nail at a time. Gently scarpe to see if all the acrylic will come off. If not, rewrap and try again later.
  • When the nails are ready, unwrap one at a time and scrape off the acrylic as above.
  • Buff off any residue, wash, and follow with a conditioning manicure as above.
Removal Machines

  • Look for electronic removal machines that have come onto the market in recent years.
  • Some of the methods employed include: sonic waves, ultra-sound, heat, vibration, and spinning cups.
  • These new tools can make removal easier, faster, less messy, and more comfortable for the client. They are definetly worth looking into if your salon does a lot of acrylic removal!