Fake nails can drastically change your look and style. But, when it's time to remove them, the process can be challenging if you have glued-on false nails. Fortunately, there are a few tried and true methods for removing fake nails, glue and all.
In this guide, we will explain what nail glue is made of and how it differs from superglue and other household adhesives, as well as provide step-by-step instructions for safely removing glued-on false nails.
What is Nail Glue Made of?
Nail glue typically comprises cyanoacrylate or ethyl cyanoacrylate, fast-drying adhesive compounds that bond to surfaces such as your natural nail beds.
These molecules form strong, durable bonds that can hold up against a lot of stress and strain. Nail glue is specially formulated with other ingredients to ensure it doesn't damage the nail surface or cause any other kind of harm.
We only recommend a glue that has been formulated for the false nails we sell. Other types of nail glue can damage your natural nails and make removing nail glue more complicated.
See our collection of nail glues.
How Does Nail Glue Differ from Superglue and Other Household Adhesives?
Nail glue contains similar compounds as superglue and other adhesives, but differs in concentration. Superglue and other household adhesives have a higher concentration of cyanoacrylate, which makes them not suitable for use on nails due to the risk of damage or skin irritation they pose.
Nail glue contains just enough cyanoacrylate to bond the fake nail to the natural nail bed while providing flexibility and not causing any damage.
Different Types of False Nails Need Different Removal Processes
How easily you can remove your false nails at home depends on what sort of fake nails you're using. Stick-on/press on nails are probably the easiest to remove, while full-coverage and sculpted nails from all brands require more effort. See our 10 best press on nails of 2023.
Here we provide instructions on removing full-coverage false nails, as they are the most popular type of fake nail on the market.
How to Remove Fake Glued Nails in 7 Steps
For the best results, follow these steps on how to remove fake nails:
- Trim off any remaining length from the false nails - Carefully use a pair of clippers or scissors to cut off any excess length from your false nails. Be careful not to trim too close to your natural nail bed, as this could cause damage.
- Soak your hands in warm soapy water for 10 minutes - Fill a bowl with some warm soapy water and insert your hands into it for around 10 minutes. The warm water will help to soften the nail glue and make it easier to remove.
- Gently peel away the false nails - Start by gently peeling up one corner of a nail and slowly pull the fake nail off its base. If the false nail doesn't come off quickly, you may need to soak your hands in the soapy water again for a few more minutes.
- Use an orange stick or cuticle pusher to remove any remaining residue - Once you have removed all of your full-coverage false nails, use a cuticle pusher or orange stick to scrape off any remaining glue or adhesive residue from your natural nails.
- Wash your hands - Rinse your hands under warm water to remove any soap residue and remaining nail glue.
- Moisturise your nails - Use a nourishing hand cream or cuticle oil to moisturise your natural nails and help protect them from damage caused by the false nails.
- Apply a base coat of nail polish - Finally, apply a base coat of nail polish to help keep your nails looking healthy and robust moving forward. Use nail polish remover to remove any excess polish.
Use the above steps for removing stick-on and full-coverage false nails, but gel nails are different and need a particular routine to remove them at home. Here's our step-by-step guide on removing gel nails.
How to Remove Gel Nails in 5 Steps
- Cut and file the gel nails - Use a pair of clippers to cut your gel nails as short as possible, then use a nail file to buff away gently any remaining length.
- Soak your hands in acetone - Fill a bowl with some 100% pure acetone and insert your hands into it for around 10 minutes. The acetone will help soften the nail glue and make it easier to remove.
- Gently peel off the false nails - Start by gently peeling up one corner of a nail and slowly pull the fake nail off its base. If the false nail doesn't come off easily, you may need to soak your hands in the acetone for a few more minutes or wrap an acetone-soaked cotton wall ball in cling film around each fingernail for 5-10 minutes.
- Use an orange stick or cuticle pusher to remove any remaining residue - Once you have removed all of your full-coverage false nails, use a cuticle pusher to scrape off any remaining glue or adhesive residue from your natural nails.
- Wash and moisturise your hands - Rinse your hands under warm water to remove any acetone residue and remaining nail glue or use cotton balls to rub the nails, then apply nourishing hand cream or cuticle oil to help protect them from damage caused by the false nails.
Removing glued-on fake nails doesn't have to be complicated – follow our step-by-step guide above, and you'll have your natural nails looking healthy and strong in no time.
However, if you're ever in doubt, we recommend seeking professional advice from a qualified nail technician, especially if you have had them applied in a salon in the first place. A nail technician can provide the best advice on safely and effectively removing your false nails.
Give Your Nails Some Breathing Time
Remember to give yourself a break now and then! False nails can look great, but they can also put a lot of strain on your natural nails. So take some time off from wearing fake nails every few weeks so that your natural nails can breathe and stay healthy.
We hope this guide has been helpful – considering trying out our range of full-coverage and stick-on false nails for an effortless night-out look? Check out our Kiss Nail collection today!
Now that you know how to remove glued-on fake nails, you can switch up your look with Elegant Touch False nails without worrying about the removal process. Happy styling!