Nails » How to Remove Nail Polish with or Without Remover

How to Remove Nail Polish with or Without Remover

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Whether you go to a nail tech or DIY your manicure, it is unlikely that anyone has the patience or the complete relaxed state to wait for nail polish to flake, chip and wear off completely before enjoying a new look. There are great commercial nail polish removers for this and even a few DIY nail polish remover choices out there. Read on and we’ll be happy to help you learn how to remove nail polish safely both with and without nail polish remover.

How to Remove Nail Polish the Traditional Way

Removing nail polish is the least fun part about wearing any color. You have to work in a well-ventilated area, it takes more than a few minutes and more than a bit of patience. This is especially true if you prefer dark, rich colors or lots of glitter and embellishments.

It is, however, a necessary step to remove your previous manicure to make way for the fresh one. So, gather your supplies: paper towels or newspaper, your choice of nail polish remover, cotton balls and pick a well-ventilated spot to get started.

  1. Get Your Nail Polish Remover

    Soak a cotton round with nail polish remover by firmly placing it over the opening.

  2. Rub It

    Place the saturated cotton round over your fingernail and apply pressure for a few seconds. Rub the cotton round back and forth, then slide it from the base of your nail to the tip, taking polish off with it.

  3. Repeat

    Repeat steps 1 and 2 with as many fresh cotton rounds as you need until the polish is cleared off each fingernail, working one finger at a time.

  4. Get Rid of the Residue

    Once all your nails appear clear, rub a fresh cotton round with nail polish remover over each of your nails to remove remaining polish or residue that may remain.

  5. Wash Your Hands

    Thoroughly wash your hands with gentle soap and water, trying not to use anything harsh. Pat your hands dry and then moisturize.

How to Remove Nail Polish Safely

Alternatively, you can pour the nail polish remover into a shallow bowl and let your nails soak, then wipe it off with a soaked cotton ball or round. This is also a good option if you are wearing a lot of glitter, gel or false nails.

How to Remove Nail Polish Without Nail Polish Remover? DIY Nail Polish Removers

When you are drawing close to an event and have been unable to dress up our nails as well, your backup may be to just go with clean nails. So, what happens if you have to remove your nail polish and don’t have any actual nail polish remover on hand? You don’t want to show up with chipped polish, so here are a few DIY nail polish remover options and last-second methods to help in a clinch.

Keep in mind that with most of these methods you’ll have to soak the solution on for much longer for it to be effective.

There are a few options to use as a DIY nail polish remover, but some are much better than others. Here is a quick list:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Alcoholic drinks (preferably clear)
  • Perfume
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Spray-on deodorant or hair spray
  • White vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • White vinegar and lemon juice
  • Baking soda-based basic toothpaste
  • Hydrogen peroxide and hot water
DIY Nail Polish Removers to Try

Some of these options work way better than others, so I will list the most effective ones and how to use them below.

  • The most effective way to remove nail polish in the absence of nail polish remover is with more nail polish. It might sound silly, but think about any time you have tried to fix a smeared nail and just smeared it worse. Make sure not to use a quick-drying polish. You need to apply the nail polish, give it a few seconds and then wipe everything off while the polish is still wet.
  • Hand sanitizer and rubbing alcohol can be rubbed over the nails to pull the nail polish up. It will take a few tries, and it is important that you don’t allow it to dry on your nails. This will work better if you soak your nails in water for a few minutes first, then use an alcohol- or sanitizer-soaked cotton ball or round to rub the nails clean.
  • Spray deodorant has acetone and alcohol in it, so spraying it on your nails and immediately wiping it off will help you remove your old polish.
  • Vinegar and lemon juice mixed work together to be a pretty decent DIY nail polish remover. Lemon and vinegar can also work individually, but they work much, much better together. Start by soaking your nails in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes. Then take a 1:1 mixture of lemon juice and vinegar, soak a cotton ball or round in it and press it onto your nail for a few seconds to half a minute. This will dissolve the nail polish, which you can then wipe off. You can keep doing this until your nails are clean.
  • Paint thinner or remover is the least recommended option, as it is highly toxic but it will definitely remove your nail polish, and faster than the other options as well.

Nail Polish Remover Uses & Tips to Know

There are a plethora of other, very unexpected uses for nail polish remover. Let’s be honest: if you think about the purpose that nail polish remover actually serves, the other uses for it make total sense.

  • You can use nail polish remover to revitalize a bottle of nail polish that has gotten clumpy. Just add a few drops of nail polish remover to it and be careful not to thin it out too much. This will also work for old correction fluid like white-out.
  • Nail polish remover will work to ink stains and permanent marker from clothes and surfaces – just be careful not to let it set as it will eat away at whatever was stained as well. It’s also a brilliant way of cleaning patent shoes.
  • You can use nail polish remover to remove paint from glass, remove stickers on walls and windows and to dissolve superglue as well.
  • Some people vouch for using nail polish remover as a cleaning and disinfecting agent for everything from makeup brushes to razor blades. You can even get rid of a ring around the tub with nail polish remover. You’ll still need to clean with soap and water though.
  • Using a drop of acetone nail polish remover can help buff out light scratches in watches and other metal accessories. Using a mixture of one-part nail polish remover to three-parts water will help clean tiled and laminate flooring as well as removing scuff marks.

Photos via @_tinamaria, Instagram