Best Nail Polish Remover
There are tons of nail polish remover options on the market today, and the sheer variety can make it difficult to pick the best product for your needs. For example, an otherwise excellent nail polish remover will fall apart when met with a tough-to-remove dark or glittery color. Gel, acrylic, Shellac, and dip powder nails require extra attention above and beyond regular nail color. When you're unable to get to the salon to remove your manicure, it's important to take the correct steps to protect the health and integrity of your nails.
Acetone is somewhat controversial, with many preferring to avoid using it due to its reputation for being harsh and drying out your nails - not to mention its intense odor. We chose to include both acetone and acetone-free options here; while this chemical solvent is indeed harsh, it typically remains the best option when you need something fast-acting and requiring the least amount of scraping and rubbing. Because acetone works quickly, it also helps you to resist the urge to peel your polish off.
While some of our picks can actually help to strengthen your nails instead of weakening them, don't forget to hydrate your nails and cuticles after you're done removing your polish. A good habit is to soak your nails in oil for at least 5 minutes; try natural options such as olive, vitamin E, or argan oil. After, we recommend applying a cuticle oil or cuticle cream and finishing with a rich hand lotion to moisturize your skin and counteract any drying effect of the nail polish remover itself.
**During this time of acetone shortages, we have chosen to feature predominantly products that were confirmed to be in stock at the time of publishing this article. Availability is subject to change.
CND Offly Fast Moisturizing Remover
Pronto 100% Pure Acetone Nail Polish Remover
Onyx Professional 100% Acetone Nail Polish Remover
Zoya Remove Plus Nail Polish Remover
Ella + Mila Soy Nail Polish Remover
CND Offly Fast Moisturizing Remover
CND Offly Fast Moisturizing Remover is one of the few nail polish removers that effectively removes gel, Shellac, acrylic, and dip powder manicures without the drying effect and harsh smell of pure acetone. This professional formula includes macadamia and vitamin E oils to help condition nails while removing color in a relatively short amount of time. The manufacturer suggests placing your hands in warm mitts or in a warm towel during the soaking process; otherwise, there are no special steps required to use this product versus pure acetone. If you need to remove your manicure at home, CND's Offly Fast Moisturizing Remover is a great choice for minimizing the risk of damage to your nails.
Pronto 100% Pure Acetone is a widely available option that works well for removing gel nail polish; it happens to be inexpensive to purchase as well. When removing gel polish, once you've filed down the shiny topcoat and have applied a cuticle protector, the next step is to soak your fingertips. This can be done using either a small container filled with remover or by using soaked cotton balls and wrapping them over your nails with aluminum foil. Since the last amount of harm will be done to your nails when the gel polish is removed in the shortest time possible, many manicurists recommend using the closest thing to pure acetone that you can get your hands on. Formulas with added ingredients will typically slow down the removal process and increase the amount of damage caused by scraping and rubbing after soaking.
Dip powder manicures have become popular thanks to their incredibly long-lasting results; the application process also limits exposure to harmful UV lights, providing health benefits as well. Although dip powder nails are often thought to have a similarly damaging removal process as gel nails, this type is actually the least damaging to remove simply because they do not require scraping. Other than this difference, the removal process is similar to gels. After you've filed off the shiny top layer, you apply a soaked cotton ball and wrap your nails with foil. Most manicurists recommend pure acetone for this step due to it being the most effective at removing the polish the fastest. Our top choice is the Onyx Professional 100% Acetone Nail Polish Remover because it's effective and easy to find.
The award-winning Zoya Remove Plus nail polish remover is a great option for those who are sensitive to the pervasive chemical smell of most nail polish removers. This formula is gentle on your nails while still being able to effectively remove all colors and glitter. Zoya claims that this product goes as far as to act as a nail prep and conditioner as well as removing polish. This particular polish remover also comes with a unique dispenser that makes it both spill-proof and easy to travel with. Although Zoya Remove Plus nail polish remover is still an acetone-based product, its gentle and relatively pleasant-smelling formula makes it a great option for anyone looking to avoid chemical odors without giving up hydration for both nails and cuticles.
If you prefer to avoid using harsh acetone on your nails, this soy-based nail polish remover from Ella + Mila is an excellent alternative. This nail polish remover works well to remove color without too much effort, unlike many non-acetone options on the market today. It's enriched with vitamins A, C, and E to help strengthen and hydrate nails. Lavender essential oils lend this polish remover a spa-like scent while also serving to keep nails hydrated during the color removal process. Best of all, the price is incredibly reasonable, making the Ella + Mila Soy Nail Polish Remover a great acetone-free choice.