An image of hand with fake nails

How To Get Nail Glue off My Fake Nails Without Taking Them Off

An image of hand with fake nails

Fake nails are a blessing for many people for they are easy to apply, affordable, and, best of all, take half the time you’d spend at a nail salon. They promise glamorous, Instagram-worthy nails with just a flick of the wrist. But, as with many things in life, there’s a catch: nail glue.

As much as it plays a crucial role in binding your natural nails with the stick-on nails, nail glue can also make repairs or adjustments a tricky and, sometimes, painful task. But worry not. You can still remove nail glue without taking your nails off. 

What you need to know about nail glue

An image of nail glue

If you’re a DIY enthusiast, chances are that you’ve come across the term cyanoacrylate. It’s a type of fast-bonding adhesive known for its strength and fast curing time. You probably know it by its well-known name, superglue.

Nail glue for fake nails is also made of cyanoacrylate and hence inherits some of its properties. But unlike superglue, which is made of pure cyanoacrylate, nail glue contains ingredients such as citric acid and benzoyl isopropanol. Now, you may be asking, “Why does nail glue need to be different from superglue if they’re both based on cyanoacrylate?” Well, the answer lies in the delicate nature of your nails and the requirements of the beauty industry. 

You see, nail glue is meant to be in contact with your stick nail and sometimes can even touch your skin. Therefore, it needs to be gentler than other glues so as to avoid skin irritation or damage. 

Moreover, nail glue on nails must be flexible to accommodate the movements and bending of your natural nails without cracking or peeling off. Basically, It needs to withstand everyday activities without losing its grip. Finally, nail glue needs to be removable without causing harm to your natural nails because you’ll eventually want to replace or remove your artificial nails and glue.

Quick and easy methods of removing nail glue

A pair of hands selecting fake nails

Removing nail glue is not complicated; It just requires finesse to avoid causing damage to your natural nails and the fake nails themselves. This section will explore two of the best ways of removing nail adhesive: one widely used in professional settings and another cost-effective solution.

1. Acetone soak

An image of acetone nail glue remover

Acetone is the most popular and effective solution for dissolving nail glue, making it a staple in professional nail glue removal routines. Its utility goes beyond removing press-on nails, as it can be used for removing gels and acrylic nails.

Items you’ll need

How to do an acetone soak

An image of hand, manicure bowl, and nail cutter

After gathering the items mentioned above, follow the following steps:

  1. Trim the fake nails using a nail cutterIdeally, the length of the trimmed fake nails should be as close as possible to that of your natural nails.
  2. Buff the top layer of your nails – This gentle buffing helps remove the topcoat and allows the acetone to penetrate the nail glue more effectively.
  3. Apply petroleum jelly to the base of your nails and the surrounding area – Acetone can dry the skin, so this jelly will act as a protective barrier.
  4.  Soak the cotton balls or pads – Pour a sufficient amount of acetone nail polish remover into a small bowl. Afterward, soak cotton balls or pads in the acetone and place them on your nails and nail glue. Ensure that each nail is well-covered with the soaked cotton.
  5. Wrap with Aluminum foil – Wrap each fingertip with a small piece of aluminum foil to secure the acetone-soaked cotton in place and prevent evaporation. Then, allow your nails to soak in the acetone for about 10–15 minutes.
  6. Gently remove the glue – Carefully remove the aluminum foil and cotton from your nails after soaking. Use a cuticle pusher to gently push off the softened nail glue. Be patient and avoid forcing it; let the acetone do the work.
  7. Finish with care – Once the glue is removed, wash your hands with soap and water to eliminate any remaining acetone residue. Finally, apply a moisturizing nail or hand cream to replenish moisture in your nails and cuticles.

2. Basic liquid dish soap

An image of hand soaked in soapy water

As mentioned before, acetone can be pretty harsh on your skin and cuticles. Luckily, soap and warm water do an amazing job of removing nail glue without subjecting your hands to the harsh effects of acetone. It is, therefore, suitable for individuals with sensitive skin or those who prefer a milder approach to nail glue removal.

Items you’ll need

A bottle of Argan oil
  • Oil – Any type of oil can work, but Argan oil is the best
  • Liquid dish soap– You can also use hand soap or body wash
  • Warm water 
  • Cuticle pusher

How to remove nail glue with soap

A technician working on fake nails
  1. Loosen the fake nail – gently wiggle or pry the edge of the fake nail that has nail glue underneath it. Do this carefully to avoid damaging your natural nails.
  2. Apply oil – Drop a small amount of oil to the area where the fake nail meets your natural nail. This oil will help to loosen the bond between the nail glue and your nails.
  3. Soak your nails-Mix soap and some drops of oil with warm water and soak your nails for about 10–15 minutes. 
  4. Remove the glue – Use a cuticle pusher to gently push off the softened nail glue.
  5. Finish up – Once you are done removing the fingernail glue, rinse your hands with clean, warm water to remove any soap residue. Finally, pat them dry with a dry towel and apply a moisturizing nail or hand cream.


Dealing with removing nail glue is an inescapable part of owning artificial nails. Whether you opt for a professional-grade acetone soak or a cost-effective DIY method using warm, soapy water, rest assured that your nails can be freed from the grip of stubborn glue.






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