It’s time…to remove your acrylic nails. Sure, you’ve had a few good weeks of length and chicness, but there comes the fateful day when removing your set is a must. Dylan Pritchard, aka The Nail Whisperer, shared a few tips and tricks for removing your acrylic nails safely and effectively. She answered our most pressing questions: How does acetone work? Can you file your acrylics off? Do you need to use foil? Get all the answers from a professional, below.

First and foremost, understand that there are good acrylics and bad acrylics.

“Investing in your sets and finding a good technician can mean the difference between saving or ruining your nails, especially when it comes to your removal,” explains Pritchard.

When it comes to removing acrylic nails, if proper products have been used, they will soak off with acetone and patience. Dylan recommends that you see a technician to do the removal, as doing it yourself can take forever, and if done improperly, can do some serious damage.

Ensure that you’re finding a nail tech that uses high quality products.

Beware of technicians that use MMA, an illegal, toxic acrylic product that can seriously damage your nails and skin. Acrylics made with MMA will not break down properly when soaked. Pritchard notes that a good acrylic removal kit should include a few key products including a reliable nail file, pure acetone polish, foil, and cotton balls.

How To Remove Acrylic Nails, step by step:

  1. Start by cutting down excess length and filing down the bulk of the acrylic.
  2. Place a cotton ball soaked in acetone over it, and wrap it with foil. Don’t just soak in a bowl—the foils will stop the acetone from evaporating, make the process more effective, and minimize contact with the skin.
  3. Be patient! Each nail should soak for a minimum of 15 minutes to ensure the product is broken down properly. After that, the product should flake off pretty easily.
  4. If the nail hasn’t flaked off, you can always rewrap the beds.
  5. After the removal, hydration is key. Dylan’s clients know not to go anywhere without their cuticle oil!

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