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How to Remove Nail Extensions at Home (2020)

Edited By Vaishali Bhatt, Reviewed By Deeksha

Nail extensions are awesome, but they require regular care and look shabby when they wear out. 

If you opt to swap your old ones with new nails extensions, most nail salons provide free removal services

Additionally, most salons do provide removal services at a nominal fee.

But if you aren’t inclined to visit the salon and want to know how to remove fake nails extensions, you can easily and conveniently remove them at home.

How can one remove nail extensions at home? 

There are a number of ways to do this. Some of the methods might require a partner and all the methods provided here are safe and effective

How to Remove Nail Extensions at Home

The main aid to easily remove fake nails is acetone, which is easily available at any convenience store.

There are two ways one can remove nail extensions using acetone; one is using acetone and a tin foil, and the other is using acetone and warm water.

Both are equally effective, and you can get the fake nails off comfortably and quickly.

How to prepare the nails before the procedure? 

Right before jumping into any of the methods to remove fake nails, the first step is to prepare your nails

Preparing your nails beforehand will make it easier for acetone or any other remover used to go under your nail extensions, thereby making it quicker and easier to remove them.

How To Remove Nail Extensions

  1. 1
    First, cut down the nail extensions to the size of your natural nails. Take care to not actually cut or damage your actual nails in any way. Cutting and trimming of natural nails should only be done once the nail extensions are removed.
  2. 2
    The next step requires a nail file.

How to remove Acrylic Nails at home?

For acrylic nails start filing on the top in the area where the acrylic nails and your natural nails meet (base of your nail). Keep filing until the adhesive shows.

For gel nail extensions, start filing on the surface until the topcoat is removed. The top, shiny protective coat needs to be removed for the acetone to properly work.

Once the preparation is taken for how to remove artificial nails at home, you can jump right into the method.

Method 1 – Using Acetone and Tin foil

For this method, you will require a large piece of tin foil, scissors and a wad of cotton. You have to do it one nail at a time and having someone to help makes it easier, faster and more efficient. The step-by-step process is:

  1. 1
    First, cut the tin foil into ten pieces of size 4x2 inches. They should be big enough to totally cover the tip of your finger, nails and all.
  2. 2
    Soak a ball of cotton in the acetone and place it over your nail. The cotton should be soaked with well enough acetone but not too much that it is dripping wet. For acrylics, make sure it is in contact with the exposed bit at the base of the nail. In the case of gel extensions, it should cover the whole area of the nail extension.
  3. 3
    Wrap a piece of tin foil tightly around the acetone soaked cotton. The best way to do this is, spread a piece of foil on a flat surface, put your finger so that the surface of the nail is facing downwards and then wrap the foil tightly. Do this for all nails.
  4. 4
    Wait and relax; wait for at least 20 minutes for the acetone to seep through and get the job done.
  5. 5
    Unwrap one of the nails and check with a cuticle pusher. Gently, insert the cuticle pusher in between the nail extension and your natural nail and try to remove the extension. If the nail extension comes off easily, repeat for the other nails. If not rewrap the nail and wait for another 10-15 minutes.
  6. 6
    Use a small foam buffer to remove any stubborn patches. Wash off your nails and hands thoroughly and apply some moisture to your nails and hands.

Method 2 - Acetone and warm water

This method is simple and requires just acetone, a couple of bowls and some warm water. It is easier, more hassle-free and can be done on your own without the requirement of a helper.

  1. 1
    Take a small bowl and fill it acetone until it is half full.
  2. 2
    Take a bigger bowl and fill it with warm water. Fill it with water in such a way that nothing overflows when you place the bowl of acetone in it.
  3. 3
    Now place the bowl of acetone in the bowl of warm water and dip your fingernails into the acetone. Angle your fingers in a way that the tips of the nails are in contact with the acetone in the bowl.
  4. 4
    Soak the nails and the extensions in acetone for 20-30 minutes.
  5. 5
    After 30 minutes check with a cuticle pusher. If the extension comes off, easily remove your fingers from the solution and remove all the extensions, one by one. If not, keep soaking for another 10 minutes.
  6. 6
    Use a foam buffer to remove the tough parts. Thoroughly wash hands and nails and apply a thick moisturizer over your nails and skin.

This method might require a bit more time compared to the previous method but is easier and requires less effort from your side. Both the above methods are suitable for removing nail extensions at home as they are safe and don’t require any experience or finesse.

How to remove nail extensions without using acetone? 

Not everyone is comfortable using acetone on their skin and nails. If you are looking for alternatives, there are ways to conveniently remove nail extensions at home without using acetone. Here are a few easy methods:

Method 1 - Using nail polish remover: The best way to avoid acetone and still get the nail extensions off is to replace acetone with your preferred nail polish remover in the above two methods.

Acetone-free nail polish removers work as well as acetone; the only thing is you might have to soak them for a bit longer.

Method 2 - Using warm water: In case you are not comfortable using any nail polish removal products on your nails, simply use a bowl of warm water to remove the nail extension.

This is the safest method to remove nails extensions at home but might take a bit more time compared to the other methods.

  1. 1
    Cut your nails extensions to the size of your original nails and prepare them with the nail file as described for the previous methods.
  2. 2
    Get a bowl big enough to dip both your hands and fill it with water that is as hot as you can bear.
  3. 3
    Dip your nail extensions and keep soaking until the extensions soften and you are able to remove them easily.

Method 3: Using dental floss: A convenient way to remove nail extensions using products available at home is with dental floss. For more convenience use dental floss on a stick, but even regular floss is fine if you have someone to help. 

All you have to do is take the floss and force it between the nail extension and your actual nail (at the base).

Start making the flossing motion up and down under the nail extension until it comes off. Repeat for all the nails and once done wash your nails and hands thoroughly.

Method 4: For emergencies: When you are on-the-go, or in a hurry, you can just use laminated business cards, credit or debit cards or even a nail file to gently pry the extensions off until they pop out.

All you have to do is push in the edge of the nail file or the business card into the gap between the nail extension and the actual nail and keep pushing it in, gently, little by little.

Do this one side at a time so that you don’t harm your nails. Keep pushing upwards slowly until the nail extension pops-out. Repeat for all nails.

Thus, it is possible to remove nail extensions at home in a safe and convenient manner, and you don’t need to go to a professional to get the job done. A bit of time and with products commonly available in most households, you can get the job done quickly and easily.


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About the Author

She is a budding copy editor as well as a freelance content writer. So far, she has proofread around 500+ articles, indicating her stronghold on the profession. If she's not in front of her laptop, you'll probably find her watching Netflix. She has a very keen interest in beauty and personal care products. She likes to stay updated about the latest beauty products in the market. Know More About Vaishali

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