How to Remove Fake Nail Glue

by Pat Olsen

Maybe you wanted fake nails for the prom, but now they are a nuisance. You know it will cost plenty to have them professionally removed, so you start prying them off all by yourself. Stop! There is a nail bed under all that glue. Let’s try a gentler way to return your fingernails to yourself. This requires patience, so prepare to invest about an hour.

Items you will need

  • Acetone
  • Nail clippers
  • Orange sticks
  • Vaseline
  • Cotton balls
  • Emery board
  • Glass bowl
Step 1

Remove your nail polish with acetone on a cotton ball. If your nails are extremely long and you want to go back to a normal length, carefully clip off the fake nails 1/4 inch from your fingertips.

Step 2

Use the emery board to make a smooth oval. Do not be tempted to start clipping off the top of the acrylic nail even if it is loose. Clipping leads to pulling and pulling leads to nail bed damage.

Step 3

Use the orange stick to push back your cuticle. Rub Vaseline around your cuticle and over your fingertips. It will protect your skin from the acetone soak.

Step 4

Pour 2 or 3 inches of acetone in a glass bowl and immerse your acrylic-covered nail tips into the liquid for about 10 minutes. Check to see if the acetone has eaten through the acrylic nail and turned it into a tacky substance that will roll off your nail. If you have a tough nail, you can rub off the sticky ones and place an acetone soaked cotton ball directly onto the stubborn nail until it finally peels easily away from your nail bed. Some nails will come off quickly and others may take up to 1 hour before they are dissolved in the acetone.

Step 5

Wash your hands with soap and water, and dry them. Use the emery board to smooth the roughened nails. Apply lotion and leave polish off your nails for a few days until your cuticles and nail beds have returned to normal.


  • Nails grow faster and are stronger if soaked in a solution of the juice of one lemon in a cup of warm water. It is recommended to soak the nails for about 20 minutes so that the nails can absorb the natural vitamin C in the lemon juice.

About the Author

Pat Olsen has over 35 years of experience as a professional journalist in California. She attended San Francisco State and Pacific College. Olsen has several published books, is a staff writer for Mill Creek Living Magazine, and currently writes for Demand Studio. She is a retired educator who still teaches twice a week.