Nail polish removal is a bit of boring task, yet it is key to taking off your manicure and getting back to square one. A dab of remover on a cotton pad, swiped across the nail isn’t exactly riveting stuff to be writing a blog post about, but is key in any general manicure routine.

It is actually quite important what you do use to remove polish from your nails, be it non acetone remover, acetone based nail polish remover or acetone in its purest form. Different products work in different ways, and the trick is to use each product for its specific purpose.

It might be the difference in wasting best part of an hour trying to scrub glitter polish off your nails, or worse, damaging your nails more by using the wrong product. I have been there and bought the t-shirt, I will never waste my time using the wrong product!


In this post I am going talk you through different kinds of removers, their purposes, what product is best for what and tips and tricks to save you time and money.



Non Acetone Nail polish remover is my first port of call. This product is best for natural nails and is the least stripping of the formulas. This would be my go to polish remover, keeps nails from becoming dehydrated and contains nicer ingredients and usually is the least pongy of all the removal products.

Held over the nail on a cotton pad or lint free wipe, it will remove most standard polishes, in either cream, shimmer or metallic formulas.

I would not recommend using this for glitter polish removal or any type of gel or shellac type manicure, without acetone it will not do a damn thing!


My favourite non acetone nail polish remover is Superdrug’s Nourishing Nail Polish remover.

It is fortified with Aloe Vera and Vitamin E and leaves the nail plate squeaky clean, perfect for polish perfection from your manicure.

It’s also a bargain and tends to be on offer for next to nothing as an added bonus.

imageIf you wanted a more upmarket remover, OPI Non Acetone Polish Remover is a good pick.

It is good bit pricer but you don’t use half as much remover to get full removal of colour.

I use this product for more pigment rich formulas which tend to stain more, held over the nail for 30 seconds, this remover gets rid of every trace of polish from the nail bed. Well worth the money!


Acetone based polish removers are best for thicker polish formulas, brighter or bolder shades which stain the nails or for light glitter formulas which are more sparse in formula.

These polishes removers contain acetone so tend to remove polish quicker but have more ingredients which tend to help more with the removal process.

These I don’t generally tend to use too often, only with darker shades. I guess I will be using this remover more now we are coming into Autumn and Winter, I have so many darker shades I have planned to put on my nails! They are waiting in the wings!


My favourite Acetone based nail polish remover is the Sally Hansen Regular Nail Polish Remover, a cheap and cheerful product which I have never had any trouble with.

In fact I have used most of the Sally Hansen Nail Polish removing formulas and they all work well for the price point.


OPI’s Original Polish Remover is a more expensive alternative but if I am honest for me there is little difference in the removal of polish from using either product.

I would save your money and buy the Sally Hansen product, both are produced by the same parent company so I would not be surprised if the formulas were near identical.

I will admit, my nails tend to be more nourished when I use the non acetone polish remover and tend to use this more regularly in my routine than an acetone based product.


Pure Acetone, a natural nails worst enemy if you believe everything you read online nail based knowledge. Yet for me this product does have its place on the nail care shelf.

This product should be used sparingly, occasionally and for particular purposes. Pure Acetone is not to be confused with Acetone containing nail polish remover, this is strong stuff and should be used with caution and I generally would only use this for specific tasks.

Pure Acetone is perfect for glitter removal, for stubborn glitters use a cotton pad soaked in acetone wrapped in foil wraps for 15 mins, removes sparkle effortlessly.

imageIf you have had gels or shellac, pure acetone is perfect to remove those manicures.

You would firstly break down the surface of the gel nail with a rough nail file to remove surface shine, apply a cotton pad soaked in acetone to the nail and wrap with foils and leave for a good 20 – 30 minutes.

The pure acetone breaks down the gel layer and leaves you gel free in the next to no time, without damage to the nail surface.

imageAcetone is also good for tidying up around the cuticles, correcting mistakes or alternatively can be used delicately for negative space manicures and nail art, depending on how nimble your hands are.

Follow these tasks up with a plentiful supply of nail oil and hand cream and it won’t be too damaging to your nails.

This is key to using pure acetone, replenish the moisture lost to the nail plate from it’s use.

imageFor pure Acetone, I usually go to my nearest Sally’s beauty supply store. This is mainly because the bottles are better value to pick up in a larger size and can be decanted into smaller bottles for general use.

From the drugstore, Boots do sell pure acetone but in tiny bottles which generally are not the greatest value.

You can buy Acetone online but just ensure the product is pure Acetone and from a reputable seller.



Other handy products for polish removal are handy travel sized polish pads and polish remover pots. I have invested more in these the past few years whilst travelling more frequently and are perfect for on the go or nail emergencies.


imageMy favourite nail polish remover pads are Boots Moisturising Nail Polish remover pads. These pads contain a nourishing non acetone polish removal formula and are an inexpensive product to pop in your on the go nail kit.

If you want to know more about my on the go kit Click Here for my blog post.

Alternatively if you want to save the pennies you could do your own diy pads, using cotton rounds with your own chosen polish remover in a small container. I have done this before when I have ran out of my Boots removal pads which works quite well and you can re-use the pad containers to pop them in.


Polish removal pots also work brilliantly well and involve a pot containing a polish remover soaked sponge which has a hole in the top. You pop your finger in the hole, turn the nail in the pot and the sponge will swipe away the polish in a flash. Miraculous product in some ways, my go to product for nails polish removal in a hurry.

Downsides to this product is the sponges within the pots do get grubby with time. I would recommend maybe buying a few of these for different shade polishes if you are using these on a more regular basis, i.e a light coloured polish pot, a darker coloured polish pot and glitter polish pot. That way the pots will last longer.

imageMy favourite budget polish remover pot is the Bourjois Magic 2 in 1 Nail Polish Remover.

This was the first of these pots I had tried, which works well and is a bargain product from the drugstore.

It is often on offer on 3 for 2, to either pick up in bulk or buy along with pretty polishes! Bonus!

imageAfter trying this I purchased Nails Inc Express Nail Polish Remover Pot to try, which is slightly more expensive but a good product which I enjoyed using.

I liked both of these products equally, although the Nails Inc remover pot packed more punch with its polish remover formula.

Personally for the difference in the price I found I ranked them equally, the Bourjois pot being good value for the price point.



My main tips for polish removal would be to soak a cotton pad in your chosen remover and hold over the nail for 20- 30 seconds. This will allow the polish to dissolve and remove the colour and then gently pull the cotton pad smoothly away from the nail.

Try not to scrub the nail plate back and forth, this will just stain the nail plate and the cuticle.

To ensure complete removal, go over the nail with a clean cotton or lint free pad to ensure it is squeaky clean before applying your chosen colour. This will remove any residual natural oils or moisture from your nail plate leaving the nail squeaky clean and ready for polish.
And voila polish removal perfection!





If polish removal is too much of a task, try peel off base coats like Sally Hansen’s Big Peel Off Base Coat.

This product can be popped under most standard nail polish formulas and you can then remove polish with ease.

Good if you enjoy peeling off polish once it starts to chip!




Alternatively wash off polish formulas are good if you don’t want to use removal products, my favourite is Nails Inc’s H2GO polish formula.

It is a water based formulation with high shine and fast drying time. These polishes are a more cruelty free product which is a 7 free formula – free from paraben, phthalates including DBP, Camphor, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and animal derivatives.

Currently these polishes are limited edition, but they have a pretty range of shades definately worth a look at. Something to check out if you want polishes off in a flash!

What is your favourite way to remove polish?

What is your favourite polish remover? Any tips for me?

Let me know in the comments.