No matter how good your manicure is, it does not last forever. The damage usually starts with hideous chipping and continues until you remove the polish completely. But what if you run out of your regular nail polish remover? You can definitely not attend your meeting or show up at a party with that horribly chipped polish. So, what is the solution? Try homemade nail polish remover made of handy household items! Yes, there are alternatives to commercial nail polish removers and they would actually get your job done. Here, we give you 5 simple recipes of homemade nail polish remover along with some useful tips to make your polish look impressive.
How Do Nail Polish Removers Work?
When it comes to the working procedure of nail polish removers, there is no chemical compounds or chemical reactions involved. A polish remover is a simple organic solvent, which is found in the nail polish itself as an ingredient. Applying it to the hardened polish on the nails actually means putting it back into the form in which it was applied to the nails. So, it dissolves the polish without causing a chemical reaction. Rather, it follows a famous rule of thumb in chemistry i.e. “like dissolves like”. In other words, if the organic solvent (the nail polish remover) likes the organic polymer (the hardened nail polish), the dissolution occurs.
Typically, the solvents used in nail polish removers are acetone, ethyl acetate, etc. When applied to the polished nails, the molecules of these solvents get in between the chains of the polymer and break them down by pushing apart. This converts the hardened polish into a solution that can easily be wiped off with a cotton ball or tissue. Finally, the solution evaporates from it while leaving a hardened residue behind. (1)
Types of Nail Polish Removers
Just like following a regular nail care routine is critical to the health of nails, choosing the right type of nail polish remover is also important for the same. There are basically two types of nail polish removers i.e. acetone-based and non-acetone available in the market. Both of them have their own shares of advantages and disadvantages. Given below are the details of both (2):
1. Acetone Nail Polish Removers
Acetone-based products are the most common, popular, and inexpensive choice you can ever make for commercial nail polish removers. The clear liquid solvent usually contains 60% acetone, which breaks down even dark and glitter polishes quickly and efficiently and removes the from the nail surface without leaving traces behind. You may need to soak your nails in this kind of remover for a comparatively longer time in order to get rid of gel nail polishes. However, regular use of acetone nail polish removers may strip your nails of their natural oils, thus drying them out and making them brittle. Being pretty harsh on the skin, they may also cause damage to your cuticles and the skin around them.
Using cuticle oils, applying hand moisturizers, choosing acetone-based removers with nourishing and hydrating formulae, or trying acetone-dipped cotton balls instead of soaking the nails in acetone may help you avoid the adverse consequences.
2. Non-Acetone Nail Polish Removers
This is a gentler and less toxic version of commercial nail polish removers that does not contain acetone solvents. Rather, non-acetone removers are oily in consistency and have ingredients similar to those of nail polishes. This helps in keeping the nails as well as the skin around it well-moisturized and nourished. They are also widely used for acrylic and other false nails. However, acetone-free nail polish removers do not remove dark nail polish shades as quickly and effortlessly as the acetone-based ones do.
Variations of Nail Polish Removers
When buying commercial nail polish removers, you may feel spoilt for choices. Find out the most suitable one from the following variations based on your requirements:
- Liquid Nail Polish Removers: These popular bottled products are available in both acetone and non-acetone forms.
- Nail Polish Remover Pads: Soaked in acetone or non-acetone formula, these moist pads are portable and highly functional. They can remove up to 2 coats of nail polish in no time.
- Corrector Pen Nail Polish Removers: As the name suggests, these products are particularly useful for removing excess nail polish from the cuticles or correcting nail art mistakes in a jiffy.
- Instant Nail Remover Pots: You can simply dip your fingers into these travel-friendly pots and your nail polish will vanish in a moment.
Why Use a Homemade Nail Polish Remover?
Whether you choose acetone-based remover or non-acetone one, you have to remember that both of them are full of harmful chemicals. Using them too frequently or without proper ventilation may cause peeling or cracking of nails. But when you go for a DIY homemade nail polish remover, you can stay away from these and enjoy beautiful nails. Here is how:
- DIY removers are made of simple and easily available household items, which are not only less harmful to the nails and the adjacent skin but also quite gentle on them.
- They can be made easily and used quickly every time whenever you need to take off your nail paint.
- The ingredients required for these homemade nail polish removers are also quite inexpensive and you can prepare them at home for a fraction of the cost.
If ingested accidentally by children, non-acetone nail polish remover may lead to adverse symptoms, such as cardiorespiratory collapse, vomiting, hypotension, and a slowing heart rate. (3)
Read Also – 14 Simple Nail Polish Hacks That Will Make Your Nail Painting Effortless
5 Easy Homemade Nail Polish Remover Recipes
So, here are some excellent homemade nail polish remover choices that you can try for wonderful results:
1. Vinegar and Lemon Juice Mixture
Both vinegar and lemon juice are acidic, which causes the nail enamel to dissolve upon rubbing. To make this nail polish remover, mix equal parts of white vinegar and lemon juice together well. Dip a cotton ball into the mixture and squeeze the excess liquid out of it. Place the cotton ball on each of your nails for about 10 seconds and rub it gently on them. Repeat if necessary to remove all the remnants of the nail polish and you are done! If the nail polish is hard to come off, soak your nails in lukewarm water for about 10 minutes before the procedure.
2. Rubbing Alcohol
If you have rubbing alcohol in your medicine cabinet, it can easily double up as a nail polish remover. It is a natural substance that is not as harsh as commercial nail enamel removers. In fact, since rubbing alcohol is antibacterial, it is the best thing you can ever use for taking off your nail polish while suffering from nail infections. Soak your nails in lukewarm water for about 5 minutes and dry them with a clean towel. Dip a cotton ball into the rubbing alcohol and squeeze out the excess amount. Now, rub it gently on your nails to ease out the nail enamel finely and evenly. Repeat the process if necessary.
3. Nail Polish
Nail polish to remove nail polish? Yes, you read it right! This is not exactly a ‘homemade’ solution but a quick fix for times when you are stuck without a nail polish remover. Apply a thin coat of transparent or light-colored nail enamel, also known as ‘top coat’, on your existing nail polish and wipe it off with a cotton ball immediately. Do not let the top coat dry as it is the wet topcoat only that will help soften as well as peel off the old polish.
Read Also – DIY Homemade Matte Nail Polish
4. Acetone and Glycerin Blend
Acetone is the main ingredient in store-bought nail polish removers. But it can be really harsh and drying for the nails. So, let us make it less harsh by adding some glycerin to it. Simply take 200 ml. of acetone and add 2 teaspoons of glycerin to it. However, glycerin will not mix with acetone easily and hence, you will have to add 2-3 teaspoons of water to the blend and whisk well until it forms a uniform solution. And there you have your own homemade nail polish remover that is gentle to your nails and works well too.
Do you need to take off your nail polish right now but do not have any of the above supplies? Fret not. Just grab your can of deodorant and spray it on your nails at a close range. Then, wipe it off with a cotton ball immediately. Deodorant also has alcohol in it, which will help you get rid of the old nail polish easily.
These homemade nail polish removers may not work as efficiently as store-bought nail polish removers as they do no have acetone or contain it in a very small amount. But they are cheaper, safer, and much healthier alternatives that you can ever try for the removal of nail enamels.
Tips to Use Homemade Nail Polish Remover
And now, here are a few tips and tricks that you should follow while using DIY homemade nail polish removers:
- Give your nails a break at least one day every week so that you do not need to use nail polish remover too often.
- Always practice nail polish removal in a well-ventilated room.
- Do not let your homemade remover dry fast as it will make your task difficult. Rather, wipe it off when it is still wet so that the existing polish becomes softer and easy to remove.
- Make sure that you hydrate your nails and cuticles by applying a good moisturizer or cuticle oils right after taking off the nail polish.
A nail polish remover is a simple organic solvent that dissolves the organic polymer chains in nail polishes without causing any chemical reaction. There are two types of nail polish removers i.e. acetone-based and non-acetone available in the market. But both of them are full of harmful chemicals. Using them too often or without proper ventilation may cause peeling or cracking of nails. Homemade nail polish removers, on the other side, is a safer, cheaper, and healthier way to get rid of nail enamel without causing any damage to the nails or the cuticles. Some simple household items that work as excellent homemade nail polish removers are vinegar and lemon juice mixture, rubbing alcohol, another light-colored nail polish or top coat, acetone and glycerin blend, and deodorant. However, these homemade nail polish removers may not work as efficiently as store-bought nail polish removers as they do no have acetone or contain it in a very small amount.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does Toothpaste Remove Nail Polish?
Yes, toothpaste contains ethyl acetate, which works as an organic solvent and helps remove old nail polish. Just dab it on a cotton ball and rub the polish off gently.
How Does Baking Soda Remove Nail Polish?
Prepare a mixture by adding baking soda and lemon juice to a bowl of lukewarm water and soak your nails in it for 4-5 minutes. This will soften your nail enamel and help it come off easily.
Is Isopropyl Alcohol a Nail Polish Remover?
Isopropyl alcohol is basically rubbing alcohol. We have already mentioned in the article how rubbing alcohol can be used as an acetone-free at-home nail polish remover.
Does Hydrogen Peroxide Take Off Nail Polish?
A mixture of 2 parts of hydrogen peroxide (3%) and one part of hot water can help you remove old polish from your nails easily by wiping with a cotton ball.
- “How Does Nail Polish Remover Remove Nail Polish?“, MADSci.org
- “Nail Polish Removers: What You Should Know“, SheKnows.com
- “Safety and Efficacy of Nail Products“, MDPI.com