How to Make Nails Look Better After Taking Acrylic Nails Off

by Julie Vickers ; Updated September 28, 2017

Apply cuticle oil to moisturize dry nails and cuticles.

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Correct removal of acrylic nails by soaking them in acetone is essential to avoid damage to natural nails. However, acetone can dry out and weaken nails and cuticles. Dry nails are prone to peeling and splitting, while damaged cuticles make nails vulnerable to painful and unattractive nail infections. It is therefore important to treat nails to some tender loving care after removal of acrylics to replace lost moisture and support healthy growth and repair.

Wash your hands to remove all traces of acetone. Use a gentle, moisturizing hand wash, then rinse and dry your hands thoroughly.

Trim nails to an even length, and file by using a good quality emery board. Use a gentle, sweeping motion as you file from the sides to the center of each nail.

Brush off nail debris from nail surfaces by using a soft nail brush.

Apply a drop of cuticle oil to each nail on your left hand. Use the thumb of your opposite hand, and a circular motion to massage the oil into nails and cuticles. Repeat the process on your right hand.

Wipe each nail by using a tissue to remove excess oil from nail surfaces.

Apply a single coat of nail strengthener to each nail. Use a reputable brand of good quality strengthener, but avoid products that contain chemicals such as toluene sulfonamide or formaldehyde as they may cause redness or irritation of the skin, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Apply a single coat of pale-colored nail polish to each nail. Pale-colored, pearlescent nail polishes reflect the light and disguise nail imperfections while you wait for healthy nail growth. Pale colors also require less maintenance than darker colors because chipped polish is less visible. You should avoid frequent removal of chipped polish and constant touch-ups that cause further nail dryness and damage.


  • Take a daily supplement of 2.5mg of biotin, which may help to improve the look of your nails by increasing nail thickness, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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About the Author

Mother of three and graduate of the London Metropolitan University, Julie Vickers is an early years teacher and writer who also loves to craft and create! She writes on topics such as education, health and parenting for websites such as School Explained and has contributed learning sessions on child development and behavior for the Education Information and Learning Services website.