Tips That Will Help You Take Off Every Type of Manicure

Victoria Moorhouse


Right there next to a massage, a facial, and a blowout, getting a manicure is one of the most relaxing pampering sessions a girl can treat herself to. Your nails always seem healthier and prettier after two coats of freshly painted polish—and when a pro who can polish without the tiniest slip-up gives you the treatment, it’s even better. Taking off a manicure sadly doesn’t house the same atmosphere. Getting glitter or lacquer to budge, whether it’s from your nail bed or your cuticles is a real pain, but there are some tips you can implement that will help ease up the process. Try some of these out below.

Soak It Off
The process of removing a glitter manicure is almost enough to make you never want to paint your nails with the stuff again. We say almost because once you see that shimmering, glimmering bottle all bets are off and it’s right back on your nails (where you claim it belongs). This mani has its benefits though—it’s a good option if you’re going away and want to stay chip-free for as long as possible, and it’s also a great quick fix for nails that are chipped at the tips. So what do you do when you want to take it off? Soak it off. Instead of rubbing away with a cotton ball (which will no doubt start to fall apart and stick on the leftover glitter), you should soak your nail in nail polish remover. To do this, soak your cotton ball in a nail polish remover and lay the drenched cotton ball on your nail. The acetone in the remover will lift the glitter off your nail. Remember that acetone often dries out and weakens the nail beds and cuticles, so be sure to use a conditioning cuticle oil or strengthening base coat like Deborah Lippmann’s Hard Rock Top and Base Coat before your next manicure.

Use a Q-Tip
Unless you’ve sharpened your nail polishing skills like a pro, there’s a chance you might have accidentally transferred some of the lacquer onto your cuticle or in the creases between your skin and nails. You’ll really be able to tell that you did when you go to take off your nail polish, especially if it’s a dark color like black, navy blue, or a hunter green. To get the polish out of the creases, dip a Q-tip in nail polish remover and gently run it around the cuticles and creases of your nail. This is less aggressive than going to town with a cotton ball, which irritates your cuticles, and will help treat those tiny crevices that are hard to reach.

Sometimes residue is left over from glitter or textured manicures, leaving you with rough nail beds. After you’ve removed all the polish, carefully buff your nails with a buffer to smooth out the surface, prepping your nails for their next manicure.

MORE: 5 Tricks for Making Your Nails Without Polish

Cut Your Nails
This might not seem like too much of a solution, but it’ll help when it comes time to remove left over polish on nails that have gotten way too long. After washing your hands and removing as much polish as possible, clip the tips of your nails. If there was leftover residue on the tips, it’s an easy way to solve the problem, especially if the tops of your nails are damaged or peeling.

The Sticker Solution
Nail stickers are convenient manicure options for someone who loves nail art and doesn’t have time to draw intricate designs or doesn’t want to spend the cash to book a manicure appointment every two weeks—that could get pricey. Taking them off is actually just as easy as putting them on. Most nail wraps and nail stickers peel off easily after running nail polish remover over them. Brands like Jamberry actually suggest heating up the nail under a dryer for about 15 seconds to break the seal of the nail. This is said to make it easier to peel off.

MORE: Pastel Nail Polish You’ll Want This Winter

For Gels—Head to a Salon
There are kits that allow you to take gel manicures off at home, but the safest option is to head to a salon, where they have the tools and correct products to remove this heavy-duty polish from your fingers without further risking the health of your nails or irritating them.