What is the best nail polish remover? Or specifically, which nail polish remover is better: acetone or non-acetone? The answer depends on what type of manicure you want to take off. Acetone works on everything, but it’s drying to the skin and nails and has a strong odor. Other acetone-free polish removers are more pleasant to use but won’t work on gels, for example.
Then, you might wonder about how fast a polish remover works and whether it leaves your nails dehydrated or with a residue coating them. These are things you can’t really know just by reading a label.
In this article, you’ll learn about the most effective types of nail polish remover. We’ve also included tricks and tips for taking off polish more easily while making your manicure look professional. Let’s begin with an answer to the top question about removing manicures.
What kind of nail polish remover works best?
What is the healthiest way to remove nail polish? Acetone, although stinky and drying to the nails, works the quickest. Did you know it’s a solvent that can dissolve paint and superglue? It’s also a potent degreaser used to prepare metal for soldering (1).
Acetone is naturally produced by the human body and it’s found in all sorts of consumer products including food. But since it can cause skin irritation, and the vapor can mess with the nervous system, it’s important to limit exposure to it.
Use acetone to take off gels, shellac, dip powder, and nail art. It works the quickest. But try one of the other acetone-free polish removers for nail lacquer. Your skin and your nose will thank you. Here are our top picks summarized for you:
|The top nail polish remover
|Why we love it
|Mineral Fusion Nail Polish Remover
|Pronto 100% Pure Acetone
|Ella+Mila Soy Nail Polish Remover
|COTE - TAKEOFF Wild Sea Rose Acetone-Free Polish Remover
|ZOYA Remove Plus 3 in 1 Formula
|The Sign Tribe Remove and Chill Nail Polish Eraser Cream
|Karma Unscented Nail Polish Remover Wipes
Best Nail Polish Remover in 2022
Now, see the reviews below for the inside scoop on nail polish removers.
Mineral Fusion Nail Polish Remover
Out of all the non-acetone nail polish removers, the best nail polish remover for Color Street is right here. It’s the perfect match. Color Street is a gentle, quick, and easy solution for manicures, and Mineral Fusion is a quick-acting product that takes good care of the nails and skin. It even works on Color Street glitter manicures.
Although this American-made polish remover won’t work on salon gels, it rapidly dissolves nail lacquer and shellac. It does it all without stripping moisture from the nails and skin. Moreover, it’s cruelty-free and does not contain parabens, phthalates, or gluten.
But wait, the list continues – it’s also free of toluene, formaldehyde, ethyl tosylamide, xylene, camphor, and all the other nasties sometimes found in nail products.
So what’s in it? There are only three ingredients: methyl acetate, isopropyl myristate, and a fragrance. That’s all it needs to clean the polish from your nails in seconds. It’s not going to make them crack or peel, but it will prepare them for a fresh coat of polish.
Put a few drops on a cotton ball and press it to the nail. We found that counting to five and rubbing wipes the polish right off. But you may need to wait as long as twenty seconds to dissolve multiple coats or glitter. No, we know it’s not as fast as acetone, but it’s much more pleasant to use.
- Mild aroma and gentle but effective formula does not dehydrate nails or cuticles
- Takes off nail lacquer in seconds, including glitter and Color Street
- Can be used to prepare nails for a manicure
- Free of harsh ingredients
- Won’t remove gels, acrylics, or dip powder manicures
Pronto 100% Pure Acetone – Quick, Professional Nail Polish Remover
The best nail polish remover for acrylic nails, gels, and sculptured nails is acetone. It rapidly dissolves polish and nail glue. It’s exactly what salons use.
You can remove regular nail polish by simply wiping it with an acetone-soaked cotton ball. Or in the salon, a manicurist will wrap acrylic or dip powder nails in saturated cotton. Then, it takes 10 to 20 minutes for dip powder to soften. If you’re taking off the manicure at home, use nail clips to press the cotton against the fingers. This works a little faster than wrapping them in foil. After that, use a cuticle stick to scrape off the residue.
On the downside, acetone is flammable and has a strong odor. It can melt plastic and will strip the natural oil from the skin and nails, which is why it’s important to avoid using it more than once a week.
On the bright side, this acetone is 100% pure and made in the USA. It was created especially for removing mani-pedis at home or in the salon. It’s also helpful for cleaning nail brushes.
- The gold standard for removing nail polish, gels, shellac, acrylics, dip powder, and nail art
- 100% pure with no diluents or fragrance added, made in the USA
- Useful for cleaning nail brushes, too
- Flammable and has a strong odor
- Will strip natural moisture and oil from the skin and nails
Ella+Mila Soy Nail Polish Remover – Acetone-Free
Here’s another of the best nail polish removers without acetone. It’s safe enough to use on children’s nails, which is not surprising since this company makes mother and child polish sets. It’s unscented and fortified with vitamins to nourish the nails. (There’s also a lavender-scented version).
This soy-based formula works well but takes considerably longer to remove lacquer. It may be as long as thirty seconds before you can wipe it clean. For best results, swipe each nail with a saturated cotton ball and count to twenty. Then you should be able to rub the nails clean. What’s nice is that it leaves the cuticles and nails moisturized.
Like other products from this company, it’s both vegan and certified cruelty-free. If you’re into safe nail products, check out their 7-free polish.
- Soy-based nail polish remover packed with vitamins to nourish nails
- Leaves the nails and cuticles looking moisturized
- Available in unscented or lavender versions
- Safe enough for children’s nails, vegan, and certified cruelty-free
- Takes up to 30 seconds per nail and a little rubbing to remove polish
COTE – TAKEOFF Wild Sea Rose Acetone-Free Polish Remover
You have lots of choices, so why go with this nail polish remover instead of something cheap like Cutex? If you have sensitive skin or fragile nails, Cote’s polish remover is a much better choice. Plus, it smells fantastic. It contains the essence of wild sea rose.
It’s the preferred choice of several celebrity manicurists because it’s non-drying and gentle. It won’t leave a residue, and it takes off the darkest of polish colors without leaving any stains behind.
But there’s one other detail many people miss. The lid is easy to open and close even if you’re trying to let your manicure dry.
- Mild enough for sensitive skin and has a pleasant fragrance
- Easily removes dark-colored polish
- Used by celebrity manicurists
- Non-drying and no residue
- Bottle is easy to manipulate without damaging a drying manicure
- More expensive than drugstore nail polish remover
ZOYA Remove Plus 3 in 1 Formula – Polish Remover, Nail Cleaner, Nail Prep
This polish remover with acetone smells good and takes off nail lacquer in one swipe. It’s won awards from NailPro, NYLON Magazine, Beauty Launchpad, and InStyle. It can handle glitter and difficult colors without a hitch, but it’s not hard on the nails. Saturate a cotton ball with it, press it to the nail, count to 5, and wipe. The job is done.
Even better, you can use it to clean and prepare nails for a fresh manicure. It conditions them while it works. Since it has a pump top, it’s simple to use and protected against spilling.
What’s more, it’s manufactured by the first company to create a Big-3 nail polish formula.
- Award-winning product made by the first company to make a Big-3 polish
- Removes multiple layers of polish, gels, and glitter within seconds
- Agreeable fragrance and non-drying formula
- Also useful for nail prep
- Packaged with a pump top
- Contains artificial color and is not acetone-free
The Sign Tribe Remove and Chill Nail Polish Eraser Cream
Here’s the best nail polish remover for brittle nails. It’s acetone-free and enriched with macadamia, argan, sesame, and almond oils. The creamy formula does not work quickly, however. It takes up to 3 minutes to work.
Nevertheless, because it’s not runny or quick-drying, you can glob it on all the nails at once, then wait. There’s no need for wrapping in foil or using clips. While it dissolves polish, it’s conditioning the cuticles and the nails. It will leave your fingertips shiny and soft.
Furthermore, it has a sweet fragrance that won’t make your eyes water like acetone.
- Super conditioning for brittle nails and dry cuticles
- Enriched with natural plant oils and waxes plus vitamin E
- Has a pleasant aroma and creamy texture
- Acetone-free formula removes regular nail polish
- Takes 1 to 3 minutes to dissolve polish and may require scrubbing
Karma Unscented Nail Polish Remover Wipes
Clean up chipped nails on the go with these handy soy-based wipes. They are unscented so the smell won’t offend anyone nearby.
Moreover, they are made by Karma Organic Spa in New Jersey. Therefore, they are vegan, cruelty-free, and toxin-free. They contain no acetone or harsh ingredients.
Instead, the conditioning formula is infused with vitamins to strengthen the nails. Plus, each wipe is thoroughly saturated so each one can do all ten fingers or toes without drying out.
- Non-toxic, vitamin-enriched, acetone-free formula made by an organic spa
- Each wipe can clean ten nails
- Convenient for on the go as they work quickly
- Deceptive appearance as they appear to be dried out, but actually still contain plenty of liquid
Acetone is an all-around polish remover that works on every type of manicure as well as nail sculptures. But there are other options that are gentler to the skin, nails, and nose.
We hope our reviews helped you find the right nail polish remover for your needs today. If so, we’d love to hear your experience with it in the comments below. Your input helps us create better reviews for all of our readers.
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acetone accessed April 20, 2021