Nail Polish Remover Guide

By Carly Cochrane, Beauty Editor

With our nail polish removers guide, you can find out everything you need to know before buying or using the product including how can I remove nail polish without remover and what are some natural nail polish remover alternatives. If you're ready to buy or want to see our selection, visit our nail polish remover page.

Top Nail Polish Remover Brands

  • DIOR
  • OPI
  • Bourjois
  • Le Mini Macaron
  • Red Carpet Manicure
  • Sensationail

Nail Polish Remover FAQs

How can I remove nail polish without remover?

While remover is the quickest and easiest way to take off nail polish, there are other household products you can use. For instance, rubbing toothpaste over your nails can help to remove polish as the paste contains ethyl acetate, an ingredient found in nail polish remover.

Perfumes, body spray and deodorant can also work as a nail polish remover. Simply spritz on to a cotton pad and rub gently across your nails to break down the polish. If you don't want to waste your favourite scents, you can try applying hairspray to a cotton pad instead. Hairspray contains rubbing alcohol, which is a great alternative to nail polish remover. Work quickly with this method or you might find the cotton pads sticking to your fingertips. Hand sanitiser also contains alcohol and can therefore be used as an efficient way to remove nail polish.

Last but not least, painting your nails with a top coat can remove polish too. Apply a thin layer and while it is still wet, wipe it off with a cotton pad. The top coat melts the old varnish, making it easy to peel away.

What are some natural nail polish remover alternatives?

If you want to stay away from chemical-heavy formulas, then why not try some natural nail polish remover alternatives. The most popular method when it comes to removing nail polish naturally is to soak your fingers in vinegar and lemon juice. Simply mix equal parts of vinegar and lemon juice in a bowl. Soak your hands in the mixture for 15 minutes to break down the nail polish then rub your nails with a cotton pad to get rid of all traces.

gel nails wrapped in foil for removal

How can I remove gel nail polish at home?

The best way to remove gel polish at home is to soak nails in acetone. Soaking gel nails in acetone helps to break down the polish so that it can be peeled away easily, without damaging the nail bed.

You can do this by soaking balls of cotton wool in acetone and placing them on to each nail. To hold the cotton balls in place, you should wrap aluminium foil around fingers. Alternatively, you can soak your fingers in a bowl of acetone for around 15-20 minutes. After this time the gel polish would have lifted and you will be able to gently scrape it away with a nail tool. If the polish has not peeled away, you will need to soak nails for another five to ten minutes.

lady taking off nail polish with nail varnish remover

Are acetone and nail polish remover the same?

Acetone and nail polish remover have their similarities, as they are both effective when it comes to taking off nail polish. However, they also have their differences.

Acetone is a volatile, flammable and colourless liquid and is used as a solvent in many industries, including the pharmaceutical, beauty and domestic sector. It is the main ingredient found in nail polish remover, although non-acetone formulas are also available.

On the other hand, nail polish removers are an organic solvent and can utilise everything from colouring and scents to oils and other components, such as ethyl acetate. Nail polish removers are only used in the beauty industry.

To summarise, acetone and nail polish remover can both be used to dissolve nail polish, however they both contain different ingredients. Acetone can be used alone or as a component in nail varnish remover.

Carly Cochrane

Written by Carly Cochrane

Carly is a beauty editor at Cosmetify and has been a part of our family for three years. She has over five years of experience in health, beauty and wellness writing.