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How to Remove Acrylic Nails at Home

How to Safely Remove Acrylic Nails at Home

How to Remove Acrylic Nails at Home
Image Source: Getty / Westend61

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By day 15 of wearing acrylic nails, your fingertips might start to feel uncomfortable — borderline painful — from having the heavy material sitting on top of them for so long. The uncomfortable feeling might have you wondering: how long do acrylic nails last? The answer is that it's typically recommended that acrylics are not worn for more than two weeks, but we'd be lying if we said we always strictly adhered to that rule and, even more so, if we said we always went to a professional to take them off.

If you fall in the latter camp and are wondering how to remove acrylic nails at home, there are a few things to know first. If you're without the proper tools, it's very easy to weaken the nails, and the damage can be much more dangerous than you think if you do it haphazardly. Professional manicurist and Gelish educator Danielle Candido previously told POPSUGAR, "[Removing acrylic] literally pulls pieces of the nail off with [the polish] if done improperly." So if you're anything like us, before you try picking, peeling, or prying off your acrylics, consider the harm you'll be causing in the long run, and let us give you a few tips on how to remove acrylic nails safely.

The easiest way to remove acrylic nails is to have a licensed technician do it for you, but if that is not an option for you, there are still safer options than removing acrylics with hot water or vinegar. To help guide us, we asked celebrity nail artist Elle Gerstein, who has worked with A-listers like Blake Lively, Jennifer Lopez, and Jessica Chastain, to give us the best tips on how to remove acrylic nails. From the products needed to ensure the health of your nails to when to remove them, here's the safest way to remove acrylic nails at home.

How Long Do Acrylic Nails Last?

According to celebrity manicurist Julie Kandalec, acrylic nails can last anywhere between two to three weeks if applied correctly. However, your natural nails grow out as the acrylics grow out, so your natural nails start to get weighed down, and you may want to take them off before you get to that point. With proper maintenance, you can keep your nails for as long as you want and have them rebalanced as often as you like.

When to Remove Acrylic Nails

Because of the weight of acrylic nails, experts recommend you take a break from them every few months. Although it's easier to get another fill-in rather than dealing with your natural nails, it's crucial to let them regain their strength. "Nail cycling" is a great way to take a break from heavy nail treatments like acrylics. Either way, Kandalec recommends that you have your nails rebalanced every three weeks.

Do Acrylics Ruin Your Nails?

Acrylic nails can cause damage if they're removed improperly by a professional or doing it yourself by picking or peeling them off. If your nail tech mixes products and gets too much monomer on the cuticle area, this can result in contact dermatitis if a person is allergic to the substance. Also, acrylic nails attach to the top layers of the nail plate, so ripping them off or any forceful removal will remove your healthy nail layers with them.

Additional reporting by Naomi Parris and Renee Rodriguez

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