Removing Shellac Nails At Home: Oh Yes, It’s Possible!

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Tips on removing shellac nails at home

I’m going to kick off this DIY with a little story.

Before Vanessa and her new hubby ditched me for Asia (I’m not bitter, I swear), we decided to have a pre-departure mani/pedi bonding sesh at the local nail salon. Two things happened here:

1. My girl was the Flash Lightning of nail technicians while Vanessa’s was more like a slow-dying sloth. We were a different stations most of the time therefore bonding was not to be.

2. I convinced V that shellac nail polish would be perfect for beach roaming and of course the tiny island in Thailand she was moving to would have everything she needed to remove it….Oops!

In the back of mind I knew there was a very good chance they wouldn’t have what she needed for removing shellac nails but figured shellac really was more durable for playing in the sand.

After all, I had a pedicure in Koh Phangan and ended up sealing half of the beach in my polish before heading back to Canada. But, the seed was already planted and she went with Shellac.

Two weeks after being in Thailand I woke up to this email:

This was my response:

photo (1)

Obviously sympathy isn’t my strong suit, but since this begged for a DIY solution for removing shellac nails, I got down to business and this at home shellac removal is what we came up with!

What You Need

  • Aluminum Foil
  • Cotton Balls
  • Nail Polish Remover
  • Nail File/Buffer

Alright beauties, once you’ve rounded up your supplies, follow these simple steps:

Step 1

Using your nail file/buffer, file away at the top layer of polish to weaken its durability.


Step 2

Cut 10 strips of aluminum foil (one for each finger, duh!). Each should be about 6 inches long and 2-3 inches wide.

Step 3

Soak a cotton ball in nail polish remover

Step 4

On a strip of aluminum foil place your finger and then cover the nail with the soaked cotton ball. Wrap it up snuggly.


Step 5

Repeat with each finger and then allow them to sit for 15-20 minutes. If you had acetone this would only take about 10 minutes.


Step 6

Once the time has passed, remove your foil wrapping, give one more quick swipe of nail polish remover over each finger then wash hands with soap and water.


Step 7

If your nails look dried out from this process rub some Olive Oil into each nail. This should help restore moisture and make them look healthy and nourished.

This process should work for both gel nails and shellac polish. The trick is to really wear away at the top layer.

For those of you living in a first world nation, I am fully aware that you can just go into a salon and have this problem dealt with but at $10 a pop (minimum), why waste your money and inconvenience yourself?

On a final note, this DIY for removing shellac nails worked great for Vanessa and this is how I know:

Oh friendship…ain’t it great?

Do you have any tips for removing shellac nails at home? Or do you prefer to just hit up the salon? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!


1 comment… add one

  • Thanks for the great tips…no pun intended….I wonder though, how long should you leave the actual shellac on from a manicure?


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