How to remove Shellac nails at home


Since CND have brought out Shellac nails, I have been addicted. One thing that I think always helps you to look groomed is to have a neat set of nails, and because I’m terrible and bite my cuticles (repulsive, I know) I rely on my nails to tidy up my hands. Shellac is the perfect way to maintain a lovely manicure without the fuss of having to touch up chips every couple of days.

One thing that I always used to consider a downside, however, was the removal process. Shellac nails, although fabulous, aren’t cheap, and so I was never too keen on purchasing their removal pouches. My usual remedy would be to soak my fingers in acetone, but this really dries out my fingers and I wanted a slightly less severe method. Convinced that there must be an easier alternative, I did a bit of Googling and was pleasantly surprised.

A forum thread recommended soaking your own Shellac nails off using regular nail varnish remover (with a fairly high acetone percentage), cotton pads and tin foil. Without hesitation, I got to work.

What I used:

– Boots own brand nail polish remover
– A nail file
– Flat cotton pads
– Strips of tin foil

Firstly, I took three flat cotton wool pads and cut them into quarters.



Next, I cut ten strips of tin foil, each about an inch thick and three inches long.


With a top coat, two coats of Shellac polish and a base coat to penetrate, I decided to do a bit of chiseling before I started to soak my nails. Taking a regular nail file, I slightly buffed the top of each of my nails, taking care not to file any of my actual nail. This removed the shine from them and thus made it easier for the acetone to sink in.


I soaked a cotton quarter in nail varnish remover and placed it over one of my nails. Then, I used the tin foil to wrap it up tightly and allow it to soak. Apparently the tin foil helps the nail to heat up and therefore allows the acetone to really sink in to your nails. I did all five fingers of one hand (because once it was done I couldn’t do the other one!) and left them to soak for ten minutes.


Call me a complete amateur, but when the time came to scrape off the withered Shellac I just used my nails! The varnish had gone so soggy that it was just a case of lifting it off slightly using my thumbnail from the other hand. If there were any small nicks that just wouldn’t budge, I simply buffed them off using the nail file.

Although I had prepared supplies to use a fresh cotton quarter and tin foil strip for each finger, I actually found that my little finger packages slipped quite easily on and off so I reused the ones I had made on my other hand… the recessionista’s guide to nail care!

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