We love glitter nail polish as much as the next gal (maybe even more). But taking off glitter nail polish? It’s one of the most obnoxious beauty problems we can think of. It feels like no matter how many cotton balls you use, you still end up picking the polish off piece by piece — and taking flakes of your nails along with it.
And that’s not ideal at all. “You can severely damage the nails when peeling lacquer off,” says Kelly Bannon, Spa Manager at SpaRitual. “There is the potential to peel layers of your nail off by picking the lacquer off of the nail plate which will result in weak, thin nails.”
To help us keep our glitzy manis without sacrificing our nail health, we asked the pros for some tips on how to get off that pesky polish with as little hassle as possible.
- Acetone is your ally. Non-acetone removers may promise to remove polish with less damage, but when it comes to stubborn glitter, using the most powerful stuff works best. You’ll probably end up using less remover and scraping less, too. Katie Jane Hughes, Global Color Ambassador at butter LONDON, recommended using “acetone-based removers with good grit,” like the Butter LONDON Glitter Scrubbers ($12). These removal wipes have one smooth side and one textured side, so you can safely scrub off glitter without damaging the nail. They’re acetone-based, but also contain aloe and vitamin E to nourish the nail at the same time. “Let the wipe soak on the nail for a minute; this will loosen the glitter a little,” Hughes said. “Then, simply apply some pressure and sweep down toward the tip of the nail.”
- Do the wrap-and-soak. “Wrapping and soaking is the best bet especially when using a non-acetone remover (although an extra strength remover is ideal),” Bannon advised. If you’re not using a pre-soaked product, use a cotton ball. “Fully saturate a cotton ball in remover and apply directly to the nail surface. Ideally you want something that will stay on the nail for 30 seconds or more to loosen the glitters from the nail plate.” You can also take a tip from gel mani removal — apply the soaked cotton balls, and then wrap them in pieces of foil so that they stay put.
- Go for partial glitter. “Glitter nail art versus a full nail is far easier to remove!” Hughes pointed out. Bannon also recommends applying glitter over a plain colored polish, so that the chunky glitter isn’t sitting directly on the nail.
- Consider a peel-off basecoat. If you just want blinged out tips for a day or two, try using a peel-off basecoat, like SpaRituals UNVEIL Peel-Off Basecoat ($17). This new nail innovation makes it so you can rock as much glitter as you want, and remove it in one fell swoop. Simply apply the base coat like you would any other, and desired glitter polish. When you’re ready to take it off, it peels off in one piece.