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Definition: Acetone

I've learned the hard way that non-acetone removers don't work as well on natural nails, but what's the deal with acetone anyway?

Acetone is a colorless, highly flammable liquid used as a solvent – and commonly found in nail polish removers. These products effectively eliminate stubborn nail polish, but can dry out your nails in the process. Acetone strips natural oils, which can damage already brittle nails, but helps the base coat adhere better. That's why you'll often see your manicurist swab this on your fingers before putting it on. To learn more about acetone and non-acetone removers,


If you have fake nails, it's generally recommended that you use non-acetone products to take off the polish without softening or breaking down the acrylic. Instead, these use another milder solvent, usually Ethyl acetate, because powerful acetone will remove the actual tips as well as the color.

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