How to remove SNS nails: everything you need to know

Wanna know how to remove SNS nails quickly, easily, and safely without ruining your natural nails?

Then this post is for you!

Taking off SNS nails is pretty simple once you know the routine.

Here’s the basic method for removing SNS nails:

To remove SNS nails you need to first file them down and then soak them off. You can soak them in acetone, nail polish remover, alcohol, or white vinegar.

There are a few different methods you can try to remove SNS nails.

Some people have tried using toothpaste and even alcohol to remove them.

We’ll find out if these methods work later on.

But first, I’ll give you my foolproof tried and tested method for removing SNS nails.

Then after the step-by-step tutorial, we’ll go through a few other options.

So that, if you want to, you can experiment and find the method that works best for you.

Let’s get into it.

Here’s a breakdown of what’s covered in this post:

How to remove SNS nails

Alright. Let’s get those nails off.

First things first, you’ll need to gather together some basic tools and equipment.

To remove your nails you will need:

– A bowl for soaking your nails

nail soaking bowl

– Acetone or nail polish remover

nail polish remover

– Cotton balls

cotton wool balls

– Aluminum foil or plastic nail clips

– A cuticle pusher or orangewood stick

cuticle pusher

– A nail file

nail file

Acetone is the main ingredient that’s going to help you get your nails off.

For the best results, you’ll want to use 100% pure acetone or as close as you can get to 100%.

Since most nail polish removers are acetone-based, you can use nail polish remover in a pinch.

But this will take longer.

Don’t use acetone-free nail polish remover. It won’t work at all.

Pro-tip. To speed up the removal process, I highly recommend getting a nail drill (aka an E-file).

Electric nail files (or nail drills) are much quicker and easier than filing by hand.

Ok, now that you have everything you need, it’s time to start taking those nails off.

Here’s how.

Step-by-step guide for removal

1) File off the top coat of your SNS nails to remove the shine.

The goal here is to take off as much of the SNS product as you can without touching your natural nails.

You want to file them until they appear matte and until you can just about see the natural nail beneath.

If you are using a hand file, I recommend a medium grit nail file that’s between 100-180.

2) Once you’ve filed off the topcoat, it’s time to soak your nails in acetone.

If you want to, you can just pour some acetone into a bowl and then place your fingers in the bowl.

If you choose to do it this way, you won’t need the cotton balls.

But I find that dunking my fingers straight into the bowl dries out my skin too much and uses a lot more acetone.

It’s way more cost-efficient and less drying to my skin if I use cotton balls or pads soaked in acetone.

3) Take a cotton ball and soak it in acetone.

The best way to do this is to hold the cotton ball or pad against the lid of your acetone bottle.

Then tip the bottle until you have enough acetone on the cotton ball.

You want it to be fairly wet but not dripping.

4) Place the soaked cotton ball over your nail and then wrap your finger in aluminum foil or a plastic nail clip.

Foil works just fine for this, you’ll need to cut it into strips first though.

Personally, I like to use a set of plastic nail clips to secure the cotton balls in place.

They are super cheap and make the removal process a little easier in my opinion.

5) Repeat this process for each of your fingers and then let them sit for 10-15 minutes.

You may want to do one hand at a time.

That way you have a free hand in case you need to do something.

But it does take twice as long.

6) After 10-15 minutes, check to see if the SNS nails have started to lift.

If they have, use a cuticle pusher or an orangewood stick to gently start pushing them off.

You want to be careful here not to damage your natural nails.

If you’re concerned about damage, I recommend using an orangewood stick.

They are much kinder to your nails than metal cuticle pushers.

7) Repeat the soaking process if needed.

You’ll probably need to soak your nails at least twice to get them all off.

So go ahead and soak some more cotton balls and repeat the process.

8) Once your SNS nails are off, it’s time to clean up your nails.

Use a nail buffer (240 grit is ideal) to gently remove any last bits of false nail.

You may also want to use a cuticle pusher to push back your cuticles.

9) Finally, wash your hands with soap and water to remove any acetone.

Acetone is very drying on the nails, so it’s a great idea to apply cuticle oil after removing your SNS nails if you have one.

If you don’t have cuticle oil, hand cream or some coconut oil will do the trick.

How to remove SNS nails without acetone

If you’re concerned about the damage acetone can do to your nails, there are a few ways to remove SNS nails without using it.

These methods are a lot kinder to your nails, but they do take a lot longer to remove the nails.

The basic steps for removing your SNS nails without using acetone are the same as those above.

But instead of using acetone, you can soak your SNS nails in either white vinegar or alcohol.

How to remove SNS nails with toothpaste


There is another method of removing SNS nails that is acetone-free.

I’m not sure how effective this method actually is as I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet.

For this method, you’ll need to mix equal parts toothpaste and baking soda.

Make sure that you have enough paste to cover all 10 of your nails.

After filing done the majority of the acrylic, instead of soaking, apply the paste to each of your nails.

Secure them in place with either foil strips or nail clips as you would in the original method outlined above.

After around 20 minutes, you should be able to gently remove the nails by scraping them using a cuticle pusher or an orangewood stick.

How to remove SNS nails with oil

For this method you’ll need:

  • A nail file (you can use an e-file/nail drill or a normal hand file)
  • Oil (coconut, olive, or cooking oil)
  • Warm water
  • A cuticle pusher or orangewood stick

How to remove your nails with oil step by step

Here are the steps to follow for using the soap and oil method:

  1. Very gently go around the edges of your nails with a cuticle pusher or orangewood stick. You want to lift them up very slightly so the oil soap and water solution can get underneath.
  2. Mix a tablespoon of your chosen oil with warm water and add a tiny bit of soap.
  3. Soak your hands in the mixture for at least 10 minutes. (15 is better).
  4. Remove your hands and use an orangewood stick to gently scrape off any loose gel.
  5. Soak again if needed.

Can you remove SNS with nail polish remover?

Yes, you can use regular nail polish remover to remove SNS nails.

The nail polish remover must be acetone-based for it to work.

Acetone-free nail polish remover does not work to remove SNS nails.

It takes longer to remove the SNS nails using nail polish remover, so give yourself a little extra time.

To remove your SNS nails using nail polish remover, soak a cotton ball in remover and press it onto your nail.

Wrap your finger in foil (or use a plastic clip) and leave for around 20 minutes.

Remove the foil and gently scrape the SNS nails away.

This method is not as quick or as effective as using pure acetone.

Using alcohol to get SNS off.

You can also use Isopropyl alcohol to remove SNS or dip powder nails.

This method does work, but it takes a little more time and effort.

Like the oil and toothpaste methods, it’s acetone-free and therefore less damaging to your natural nails.

To remove SNS nails with alcohol, simply switch out the acetone for alcohol and follow the steps above.

Add on an extra 5 minutes to the soaking time and you should be good to go.

Does removing SNS damage nails?

If you remove your SNS nails correctly, then no, removing SNS nails will not damage your nails.

However, if you try to pick or peel them off, you run the risk of damaging your nail bed.

The resin used to bond the SNS to your nail is like superglue, which is why it needs to be soaked off and not torn off.

When done correctly, removing SNS nails is no more damaging than having acrylics or gel nails removed.

The most damaging aspect of the removal of SNS nails is acetone.

A lot of people try to avoid using acetone as it can dry out your nails and make them brittle.

If you’re concerned about nail health, try switching to one of the acetone-free methods outlined above.

What is the easiest way to take off SNS nails?

Soaking your nails in acetone is still the quickest and easiest way to remove SNS nails.

It’s also the most damaging to your natural nails, so if you’re looking for an acetone-free method, try one of the above alternatives.

Using a nail drill to speed up the filing makes the whole removal process quicker and easier.

Final thoughts:

So, there you have it! Our complete guide on how to remove SNS nails.

We hope you found it helpful and that you now feel confident in removing your own SNS nails.

Remember, the most important thing is to take your time and be gentle with your nails.

If you’re concerned about damaging your natural nails, try one of the acetone-free methods outlined above.

And, as always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional.

Thanks for reading!

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  • Phoebe Meadows

    Phoebe Meadows is a self-proclaimed nail addict, always on the lookout for the latest trends and techniques. When she's not creating stunning nail designs, you can find her researching the latest nail care products or experimenting with new techniques.