How to Remove Glue On Nails – 5 Easy Steps with Pictures

Updated on September 21, 2023
Lauren Long By Lauren Long
Lauren Long

Creative Writer, Lifestyle Blogger, and Skincare and Wellness Enthusiast

Table Of Contents

    How to Remove Glue On NailsPIN

    How to Remove Glue On Nails – 5 Easy Steps with Pictures

    Manicured hands provide the ultimate confidence boost.

    Groomed and decorated nails are the jewelry of our aesthetic appearance when we want to look our best.

    From typing at our keyboards for hours to preparing meals to holding our loved one’s hand, we spend so much time looking at our hands that getting our nails done is an excellent way to remind ourselves to practice self-care.

    Some of us enjoy the pampering and relaxing experience of getting our nails done at a salon. Others like the look of perfect nails, but don’t have the time, money, or patience for bi-weekly trips to the nail salon.

    Fortunately, glue on nails are an alternative to pricey visits to the nail salon. We can apply fake nails at home without being overcharged for a topcoat, sparkles, or an extra service we didn’t want.

    Glue on nail kits come with:

    • Nails in various sizes made of various materials including acrylic resin, gel, or ABS plastic
    • Liquid nail glue
    • Orangewood manicure stick
    • Nail file

    While some manufacturers make press-on nails that come with glue for a sturdy application, press-on nails are generally considered fast-application nail sets with adhesive tabs Both are at-home nail kits that come in various sizes to fit your fingernails, and you can get them in beautiful designs.

    The table below outlines some of the various glue on and press-on nail features you should consider before trying or buying.

    Glue On Nails Press On Nails
    Use waterproof glue Use adhesive tabs
    One-time use or twice with proper removal Use up to five times when removed and stored properly
    Last between 5-14 days Last a few days
    Timely application process Quick application process
    Best for everyday wear Best for a special occasion

    Technically, acrylic nails are a type of glue on nails since nail technicians use liquid adhesive glue to attach the tips. However, removing acrylic nails requires a different approach if done correctly and safely.

    Zohna Tip

    Save your leftover nail glue to use with press-on nails to make them last longer, or purchase nail glue separately if you want long-lasting nails.

    Why Are Glue on Nails Hard to Remove?

    Nail glue for artificial nails works so well because it is similar in chemical structure to super glue. Both contain cyanoacrylate, a chemical that dries quickly and is clear in color.

    Cyanoacrylate is different from other types of glue due to its unique bonding conditions.

    How Does Nail Glue Work?

    Nail glue works like any other glue or adhesive through mechanical bonding.The bond in the glue on nails occurs when the nail glue adhesive works its way into the pores of the surface of your nail bed. The mechanical adhesion occurs during the drying process, where the glue bonds with your nail bed, allowing you to have beautiful artificial nails!

    Don’t worry, this isn’t a science lesson! It’s important to know that to safely and effectively remove glue on nails without damage to the nail bed, we must dissolve the mechanical bond in the nail glue.

    How to Take Off Glue on Nails

    The quickest and most effective way to dissolve nail glue and how to take glue on nails off is by soaking the nails in acetone. Acetone is a solvent that breaks down the polymers in hardened nail glue and allows the fake nail to separate from your nail plate.

    Here’s what you’ll need to remove glue on nails:

    What You Need What It Is For
    Small bowl of warm water mixed with liquid hand soap Soaking your glue on nails
    Argan oil or baby oil (optional) Added to the warm water to help lift glue
    Cotton pads To soak nails in acetone and dry nails
    Orange wood manicure stick or cuticle pusher To peel off the glue on nails
    Acetone-based nail polish remover Liquid used to break down the bonds in the dried nail glue
    240 fine-grit nail file or nail buffer For buffing off excess glue
    Cuticle clippers or electric nail drill (optional) To remove dead cuticle skin
    Cuticle oil (optional) For rehydrating your skin

    Using acetone-based nail polish remover too often can cause damage to the nail plate. For this demonstration, our goal is to remove the glue on nails using as little acetone as possible. If you want to jump right into using acetone, skip to step 3.

    How to Remove Glue on Nails Step 1

    Soak your fingernails in a small bowl of soap and warm water for 15 minutes. You can add a few drops of baby oil or hand soap to help lift the glue.

    How to Remove Glue on Nails Step 2

    Use an orange wood manicure stick or cuticle pusher to lift loose nails from your nail bed gently. If the nails do not easily peel off with the stick, move on to the next step using acetone-based nail polish remover. Do not pry the nails off!

    How to Remove Glue on Nails Step 3

    There are two options for this step that you can consider, depending on your personal preferences and chosen application methods:

    • Option 1: Soak a cotton pad or cotton ball with acetone-based nail polish remover. Apply the pad over the nail and massage it around the edge of the fake nail. Allowing the acetone to seep in between the fake nail and your nail bed. Repeat for each nail for a minute.
    • Option 2: Pour equal parts of warm water and acetone-based nail polish remover into a small bowl and soak them for 15 minutes.

    How to Remove Glue on Nails Step 4

    Use an orange wood manicure stick or cuticle pusher to lift off the remaining nails. Dry your nails using a dry cotton pad. Take a nail buffer or a fine-grit nail file and buff away any remaining glue.

    How to Remove Glue on Nails Step 5

    Clean your nail plate using an orange wood stick or cuticle pusher to push your cuticles back. Remove excess dead tissue with cuticle clippers or an electric nail drill. Massage each nail and cuticle with hydrating cuticle oil.

    Zohna Tip

    Castor oil and coconut oil are rich in Vitamin E and are great to use as cuticle oil.

    How to Remove Glue on Nails Without Acetone

    While acetone is not toxic, many people want to avoid using acetone-based nail polish remover.

    The top reasons for avoiding acetone include:

    1. It is not a great product to leave around the house if you have infants or curious pets as it is harmful if ingested
    2. Dehydrates the nail bed
    3. Dries out cuticles causing them to become red and flaky
    4. Aggravates sensitive nails
    5. Fumes cause some people to feel lightheaded or have headaches

    If you’re not a fan of acetone-based nail polish remover or you don’t have any handy and want to avoid spending money removing glue on nails, there are steps you can take to remove glue on nails without acetone effectively.

    Just grab the items in the table below to get started on removing glue on nails.

    What You Need What It Is For
    Small bowl of warm water mixed with liquid hand soap Soaking your glue on nails
    Argan oil or baby oil (optional) Added to the warm water to help lift glue
    Orange wood manicure stick or cuticle pusher To peel off the glue on nails
    Petroleum jelly Softens glue
    240 fine-grit nail file or nail buffer For buffing off excess glue
    Cuticle clippers or electric nail drill (optional) To remove dead cuticle skin
    Cuticle oil (optional) For rehydrating your skin

    How to Remove Glue on Nails Without Acetone Step 1

    Soak your nails for 15 minutes in a small bowl of warm water and liquid hand soap. You can add a few drops of baby oil or cuticle oil to help loosen the fake nail from the nail bed. While soaking your nails, rub your fingernails together. Some nails will come off easily.

    How to Remove Glue on Nails Without Acetone Step 2

    Use an orange wood stick to lift the edges of your nail gently. Peel off any nails which come apart without forcing them.

    How to Remove Glue on Nails Without Acetone Step 3

    For any remaining nails, apply a pea-sized amount of petroleum jelly, hand lotion, or cuticle oil and massage it into the space between your fake nail and nail bed to remove nail glue from your skin and nails.

    How to Remove Glue on Nails Without Acetone Step 4

    Once all your glue on nails are removed, wash and dry your hands. Use a nail buffer to buff away any glue residue.

    How to Remove Glue on Nails Without Acetone Step 5

    Clean your nail plate using an orange wood stick or cuticle pusher to push your cuticles back. Remove excess dead tissue with cuticle clippers or an electric nail drill. Massage each nail and cuticle with hydrating cuticle oil, and apply hand lotion to rehydrate your hands with a moisturizing hand lotion.

    How to Remove Kiss Glue on Nails

    Kiss Glue Off Nail Remover
    $16.50 ($5.50 / Count)
    10/31/2023 06:45 pm GMT

    Have you heard of Kiss nails? KissNew York is one of the most popular brands for at-home nail application products. KissNails Glue Off is an instant fake nail remover. It conveniently contains all the steps you need to take off the glue on nails in a single stick. There is no soaking required!

    Here’s how you use this innovative product:

    1. Remove the cap and squeeze the tube.
    2. Apply a thin layer of the Kiss Nails Glue Off gel along each cuticle line.
    3. Wait 5 minutes for the gel to dissolve the nail glue buildup between your natural and artificial nail.
    4. Gently rub each nail to determine if they have loosened. Wait another 5 minutes if necessary.
    5. Use the chisel tip to separate the fake nail from your nail bed. Do not force or pry the nails off.
    6. Wipe off the excess gel with a paper towel or a damp cotton pad.
    7. Use the nail buffer included in the product package to buff off any glue residue.

    Kiss Glue Off is an instant nail remover enriched with nail-strengthening vitamins. The formula works within minutes, and there is no soaking required. It can be used to remove Kiss glue on nails, Kiss press on nails, and glue on nails made by competing brands.

    Here are a few other benefits of this handy product:

    • Contains castor oil and Pro vitamin B
    • Works within minutes
    • Easy application

    What to Avoid When Removing Glue on Nails

    Glue on nails cause minimal damage to your natural nails when removed correctly. Follow the ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts’ below to ensure you remove glue on nails safely.

    Do’s Don’ts
    Soak your fingers in warm water Use a cheap nail glue
    Use sterile nail tools Pry the nails off
    Care for nails after removal Use sharp removal tools

    Do Not: Pry the Nails Off

    When removing glue on nails, we want to allow the nails to come off with as little force as possible. Do not bite your nails, wedge removal tools between your nail and nail bed, or tug your nails before the glue fully dissolves.

    And why exactly does that matter? Consider the following:

    • Damaged nail beds take weeks to heal
    • Using force can puncture the skin and cause infection
    • Ripping a nail off will take up to six months to grow back

    Do: Care for Nails After Removal

    OPI Nail Envy Nail Treatment
    $16.96 ($33.92 / Fl Oz)
    10/31/2023 06:45 pm GMT

    To keep your natural nails healthy, you should take a break from fake nails every few weeks.

    After removing glue on nails, there are several post-care steps to aid nail repair:

    • Use a strengthening nail polish with protein and calcium every other day
    • Apply a nourishing cuticle oil with vitamin E to your entire nail plate every night
    • Soak your nails in olive oil and lemon juice for 10 minutes once a day

    Do: Try Vitamins and Supplements for Nail Strength

    There are several oral vitamins and supplements you can take to strengthen your nails naturally and speed up repair after you remove glue on nails.

    The table below outlines some top supplements for nail strength and overall nail health.

    Vitamin What It Does Other Benefits
    Biotin Helps to metabolize the protein-building amino acids that are required for nail growth
    • Boosts hair volume and shine
    • Rehydrates the skin
    Omega 3 Fatty Acids Moisturize nails and reduces inflammation in the nail plate
    • Improves cardiovascular health
    • Regulates oil production in skin
    Vitamin C Essential for collagen production, a protein which gives strength and shape to nails
    • Boosts antioxidant levels
    • Improves immune system function
    Zinc Promotes healthy growth of nail cells
    • Reduces inflammation
    • Promotes wound healing

    FAQ

    • Can You Remove Glue on Nails Without Ruining Them?

      Glue on nails are usually intended to be used one time only. Press-on nails with adhesive strips can be used up to five times if removed and cleaned properly. If you want to reuse glue on nails, soak them in warm water and soap and scrape off all the glue with an orangewood manicure stick.

    • Can You Remove Glue on Nails With Hot Water?

      Hot water is an effective solvent, which is why we use it for cleaning and showering. If you immerse your nails in only hot water without soap, it will take longer and scold your fingers. We recommend using bathwater temperature water and mild soap to soak and remove glue on nails.

    • Is Taking off Glue on Nails Harmful?

      Not if done correctly! Soaking nails with warm water and soap is the best way to dissolve the glue and allow you to remove the nails with little force. While taking off the glue on nails is rarely considered harmful, there is a chance of ripping the skin and causing infection.

      If you puncture your skin while removing glue on your nails or skin, apply a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol to the area immediately.

    • Can You Remove Glue on Nails With an E-file?

      An electric nail drill or e-file can remove acrylic or gel artificial nail enhancements but not glue on or press on nails.

      When removing glue on nails, you will always want to soak them with or without an acetone-based nail polish remover, so they come off without damaging your nail plate. Once you have removed all of the glue on your nails, you can use your electric nail drill or e-file to remove any excess nail glue, buff your nails, and clean your cuticles.

      Several different nail drill bits can be used to clean excess glue after removing glue on nails:

      • Safety bits: Designed for working on the cuticle
      • Cone bits: Removes product around the cuticle and nail bed
      • Mandrel and sanding bit: Removes excess glue and buff nails

    Final Thoughts

    Glue on nails can be a much less expensive and convenient way to achieve beautiful fake nails in the comfort of our own home. Removing glue on nails takes time when done correctly. Soak, never pry and follow with a proper nail and cuticle care for the healthiest natural nails after you remove glue on nails.