If you’ve spent the last couple of days picking at your nails trying to get rid of your permanent nail polish, this article is just for you. Removing permanent nail polish is annoying to say the least.

It is a common enough predicament to find your nail polish chipped at odd times. Regular nail polish remover, while good at removing simple nail polish, is not at all effective on permanent nail polish.


intro remove permanent nail polish

Typically, people have permanent polish removed by a salon professional, but often it is not possible to get an impromptu appointment to get your nails fixed. Besides, a salon trip just doesn’t fit the budget sometimes.

Meanwhile, you can’t help but pick at your nails, which is extremely harmful. Usually, the keratin layer on your nail is pulled off along with your nail polish. Compulsive picking can ravage your nails, even causing cracks and pits in your nail bed.

You can easily remedy that by removing permanent nail polish at home using either of two methods.


Method 1: Using a Nail File

You should use this method only if you have patience. You’ll be sorely tempted to speed up the process. But haste can be harmful to your nails if you have a file in your hands.

Things you’ll need:

things need

  • Nail file

Step 1. Gently file the surface of your nails

Gently file the surface of your nails

Use a nail file to gently file the surface of your nail.

File in one dirction


File only in one direction rather than the more tempting sawing motion, which can severely damage your nails.

Step 2. File the sides

File the sides

File the sides of your nail, also moving the file only in one direction. The sides are a bit more difficult to clean.

Brush off debris


Keep brushing away the debris as the polish comes off. It will help you file your nails efficiently without causing any nail damage.

Step 3. File the foremost part of your nails

File the foremost part of your nails

Lastly, file the foremost part of your nail. You can file your nail in a crosshair pattern (#) to ensure an even filing. However, make sure you keep filing only in one direction, not back and forth.

Repeat on other nails

Once you are successful with one nail, you can repeat the process on the other nails.

Method 2: Using Pure Acetone

Things you’ll need:


things you need

  • Petroleum jelly
  • 100% pure acetone
  • Pair of scissors
  • Cotton pads
  • Aluminum foil
  • Small glass bowl
  • Cuticle pusher

Step 1. Coat your skin with petroleum jelly

Coat your skin with petroleum jelly

The first thing you need to do is coat the skin around your nails with a liberal layer of petroleum jelly. It will protect your skin from absorbing the acetone as well as keep it from drying out.

Step 2. Cut cotton pads in half

Cut cotton pads in half

Cut 5 cotton pads in half. This will make it easy to wrap them around your nails.

You can also use cotton balls. But cotton pads save you from dealing with the annoying cotton-fiber mess that usually comes from using cotton balls.

Step 3. Cut aluminum foil into pieces

Cut aluminum foil into pieces

Cut aluminum foil into 10 pieces that are big enough to completely envelop your forefingers.

Step 4. Pour acetone in a bowl

Pour acetone in a bowl

Pour acetone in a glass bowl. Make sure that it’s 100% pure acetone. Anything less than that won’t be effective on the permanent nail polish.

Step 5. Soak a cotton pad in acetone

Soak cotton pad in acetone

Soak a half piece of a cotton pad completely in the acetone.

Step 6. Wrap soaked cotton pad around the nail

Wrap soaked cotton pad around nail


Wrap the soaked cotton pad around the nail. Make sure it covers the nail completely.

Step 7. Cover with aluminum foil

Cover with aluminum foil

Secure the cotton pad on your nail by covering it with a piece of aluminum foil.

Make an aluminum foil cocoon around your nail so that the cotton pad remains firmly in place. The foil cocoon needs to stay put for about 30 minutes.

Repeat steps 5 through 7 on all of your nails.

Step 8. Take them off after 30 minutes

Take them off after 30 minutes

After 30 minutes, remove the foil and cotton pads from your nails. You’ll see that the permanent nail polish has come loose.

Step 9. Remove leftover polish with a soaked cotton pad

Soak cotton pad in acetone

Soak another cotton pad in acetone.

Remove leftover polish with cotton pad

Use it to gently remove any leftover nail polish.

Step 10. Use a cuticle pusher on any stubborn traces of polish

Use cuticle pusher on any traces

Make use of a cuticle pusher to scrape off any stubborn traces of permanent nail polish. Be gentle and exercise caution as you do not want to harm your nails.

Rinse and moisturize your nails

Once you’ve cleared all your nails of the permanent polish, you can rinse them gently with water to remove any acetone. Liberally moisturize your nails thereafter.

Additional Tips:

  • Do not use a sawing motion on your nails with the file. It damages your nails and weakens them considerably.
  • You can cut the cotton pads and aluminum foil into pieces beforehand and keep them at the ready. This will save you time.
  • Acetone is flammable, thus it should be kept away from heat and flames.
  • Work with acetone in a properly ventilated area. You do not want to inhale the fumes.
  • Allow your nails to stay bare for a week or so. Acetone strips your nail beds of natural oils. Your nails will need some time to recuperate.
  • Wear protective gloves while cleaning for the next few weeks, as permanent nail polish and acetone have most likely made your nails fragile as well as sensitive to chemicals.
  • If possible, allow your nails to grow out, clipping them regularly, until all the permanent nail polish is removed. It may take several weeks, but it is the healthiest and most natural option for your nails.