How To Remove Shellac With Household Items

Last updated Sep 26, 2021 | Beauty Tips | 2 comments

How to Remove Shellac

Hard wearing properties, super shiny, a combination of gel and nail polish, shellac is a preferred choice for many especially those who want their manicure to last more than 2 weeks, sometimes even longer. Shellac may be brushed on like traditional nail polish, but requires special attention for removal. There are several ways to remove shellac at home, and you don’t need any hard to find items to do so.

Method 1 – How to Remove Shellac Nails

Things you will need:

  • Small pieces of cotton wool
  • pure acetone nail polish remover
  • orange stick
  • aluminum foil cut up into 2″ x 2″ (5cm x 5cm) squares
  • a well-ventilated area
  • nail buffer

Steps to Remove Shellac

  1. Start by soaking a small piece of cotton in the acetone nail polish remover and set it on your fingernail.
  2. Next step is to wrap the fingertip in aluminum foil and repeat this process with all your fingers.
  3. Let the foil wrapped around your fingertips remain undisturbed for approximately 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the foil, and you should notice the shellac being lifted off the nail from the base to the tip.
  5. Should you have a large amount leftover, repeat the process again for another 5 minutes or so.
  6. Using a nail file, gently (literally), file away any remaining shellac remaining on the nails.
  7. Finally, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and apply moisturizer as acetone nail polish remove tends to cause the skin to dry.

Method 2 – How to Remove Shellac without Wrapping

Things you will need:


  1. In the first step of method 2 to remove shellac, apply a moderate amount of cuticle oil to the skin surrounding the nails. Acetone can have adverse effects on your skin, and the cuticle oil will ensure your skin isn’t harmed in the process.
  2. Next step is to prepare the acetone by pouring a liberal amount into a dish or bowl just enough to dip your fingertips completely into the solution. Acetone concentration of 60% is ideal, but pure acetone is highly recommended to remove shellac polish.
  3. With the acetone in place, soak your fingernails in the bowl and ensure all your shellac nails are exposed to it, and not your skin.
  4. Allow your nails to soak in the acetone for 10 minutes even if you notice the shellac coming off.
  5. Remove your fingernails from the acetone after 10 minutes, and begin scraping what’s left of the shellac with the manicure stick.
  6. Finally, wash your hands with soap and water, and be sure to use a moisturizer to allow your nails to recover from the effects of acetone.

Tips and Advice on Removing Shellac

  • Place a pair of rubber gloves over your hand to do more while your nails soak in acetone
  • For sensitive skin, consider using solar oil or petroleum jelly around the skin to avoid any possible irritation from the acetone
  • The acetone should loosen the shellac, and in most cases, you don’t have to file or scrape your nails.

Shellac nail polish lasts a good 2 weeks but oftentimes might have past its sell-by-date prompting you to remove shellac. Good news is that you can avoid expensive visits to the salon to remove shellac, and use one of the methods mentioned above to get the job done.

You can get the products we refer to in this article right here:


  1. What is cotton wool? I grow cotton on a plant and wool comes from sheep!

    • Cotton wool is the British term for cotton ball


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