Here's How To Remove Shellac Without Ruining Your Nails

It's hard not to fall in love with shellac. The long-lasting semi-permanent nail polish is a low-maintenance girl's dream, and it's easy to forget what life was like before it was invented. The only downside to shellac is, of course, removing it. 


If you can't get to a salon to have your shellac professionally removed, the first thing you need to know is that you should never attempt pick it off. "Nails are composed of cells called keratinocytes that look like tiles on a roof if you examine them under a microscope," New York City dermatologist Dana Stern, who specializes in nail health, told Allure. "By peeling off a gel manicure, you are not only removing the gel, but also the top layers of these delicate cells. This can result in white patches and textural irregularities throughout the nails."

Here's how to remove shellac at home without ruining your nails.

DIY shellac removal in four easy steps

Lucy Mackenzie, expert nail technician at blow LTD., recommends the following four-step method for DIY shellac removal that won't completely ruin your nails (via Good Housekeeping). You'll need five cotton pads (each cut in half), 10 pieces of aluminum foil, acetone polish remover, a nail file, and manicure sticks to get started.


First, use your nail file to buff the top layer of nail polish, then soak a cotton pad in acetone and place on each nail, securing with foil just as they do in the salon. Let your nails soak for 15 minutes until the nail polish starts to lift from your nail bed, then gently lift the polish off with manicure sticks. If the polish isn't budging, soak the nails longer. To finish up, buff and apply oil to your cuticles and nails.

Mackenzie recommends keeping the nails warm by wrapping your hands in a towel to speed up the removal process. However, if your shellac still won't come off using this technique, you'll need to book an appointment with a nail expert to have it removed professionally.