To Acetone Or Not? How to Remove Nail Polish Naturally

Having our nails done not only makes our hands look good (obviously) but also provides a much-needed self-care minute. To stop, breathe in and focus only on this fun and meditative task. 

Besides picking your favourite colour, part of a good manicure is getting the old polish removed and nourishing the nails to keep them strong and healthy. 

Unfortunately, most nail polish removers are doing anything but that. Yes, they get the varnish off, but because of the harsh formulations, these products actually harm the nails leaving them brittle and discoloured.

So what can you do to avoid it, and what's the best natural way to remove nail polish naturally at home?

Traditional nail polish removers 

If you look closely at products at your local supermarket or drug store, you'll see that the most common nail polish removers are acetone-based.

Nail polish removers have high concentrations of acetone in the range of 30%-60%. 

Because the task of a nail polish remover is to dissolve the hard film left on your nails by the ingredients in the polish, acetone is usually the first choice by most manufacturers. Why? It's harsh and does a great job at dissolving and  removing nail polish resins, pigments etc. 

The problem with acetone removers

But the super strength of acetone that's so useful in removing the nail polish is also its main problem. 

The impact acetone has on our nails, especially long term, is severe and takes a long time to reverse. And if you're nails are naturally weaker or more brittle, it's even worse. 

Acetone causes dehydration to the nail cells, can lead to skin irritation, nail infections and gives your nails that terrible yellow colour. Yellowing of nails is actually a very common after-effect. 

If that's not enough (here we go), these polish removers also cause breaking, peeling, splitting and cuticle damage.

Acetone removes the nail oils and often leaves white streaks, which are a sign of dehydration.

Lastly, acetone always leaves that strong smell on your nails as you use it.

Acetone-free nail polish removers 

So what's the alternative? Well, there is a way to remove nail polish without acetone, and your best bet is to choose a more natural and acetone-free nail polish remover

There are many of them on the market, and instead of acetone, they usually use less damaging solvents like ethyl acetate, isopropyl alcohol and propylene carbonate. 

In addition to that, these removers are fortified with nourishing ingredients that moisturise the nails and reduce drying. Often that's panthenol, glycerin and plant extracts. 

These products are much more gentle, less drying and recommended for regular use or for people who have sensitive, damaged nails and skin. 

SCOUT water Nail Polish Remover is boosted with Kiwi Fruit, Rose Water, Aloe Vera, Calcium, Pro-Vitamin B5 and Vitamin E. It softens the skin and strengthens the nails while removing all types of nail polish colour.

Shop Organic Nail Polish Remover

Nail Polish Remover with Kiwi Fruit, Rose Water & Aloe Vera

Nail polish removal tips

Clearly, we strongly suggest avoiding acetone-based nail polish removers and opting for the more natural ones. In any case, there are some other things you can do to make sure your nails are strong and healthy. 

First of all, try taking breaks between doing your nails and therefore using the nail polish remover. We're the first to say that experimenting with colours every week is fun. However, your nails need to rest, so go aux naturale sometimes. 

When using an acetone/acetate nail polish remover, always do it in a well-ventilated room or open a window to avoid toxic vapours. If your bathroom doesn't have a window, maybe switch to a kitchen (no need to worry about this with SCOUT Water-based remover).

Do your best to avoid getting the remover directly on the skin, and afterwards, wash your hands with soap and apply cream or lotion! 

How to remove nail polish naturally? 

Okay, so toxic nail polish removers with acetone are harmful to you; you've already ordered an acetone-free version and are ready to remove nail polish without acetone. 

But what to do while waiting for that delivery or if you're in a place where you are out of product but really need to get the varnish off (camping or travelling)? 

Well, there are some great natural ways to get those nails clean without bearing the consequences. 

Whatever it is, you'll be happy to learn that there are some natural ways to remove nail polish.

Let's dig in! 

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Mani-Pedi Essentials

7 natural ways to remove nail polish

Toothpaste. One of the things you almost always have around (even if you're camping) is toothpaste. It often contains sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), which helps remove plaque from the teeth and ethyl acetate, which can effectively break down the varnish. 

These same ingredients can remove your nail polish too. Use a nail brush or an old toothbrush to massage toothpaste into your nail beds and loosen the polish. Rinse with warm water and simply peel off the polish or rub it off with the paste still on.

This is a great way to remove nail polish from skin naturally if you've gotten on some during your beauty mani/pedi.

You'll need to work pretty quickly, as toothpaste tends to dry and become cakey after a few minutes.

Lemon juice and vinegar

Is there anything lemon and vinegar cannot clean? You can make a simple solution from 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and some distilled white vinegar and remove nail polish naturally at home.

Dip your fingers in the solution and keep them submerged for about 5 minutes. Then use a cloth to wipe away the nail polish. 

However, one thing to remember is any wounds or scratches - if you have any on your hands, you might want to skip this one as it will burn. 

Vinegar and orange juice solution

Don't have or like lemons? You can make a similar blend with orange. It will be more gentle than the lemon one and will work perfectly well too. 

Simply combine an equal amount of white vinegar and fresh orange juice, dip a cotton pad in the mixture and press on your fingernails for a few seconds while the nail polish softens. Then use a pad the same as you would with a regular remover, rubbing the polish off.

Moisturise your hands afterwards.

Hand sanitiser

We all have hand sanitisers these days, and they can be helpful in removing nail polish in emergencies (yes, those do exist!).

Because hand sanitisers are high in alcohol concentration (around 75-80%), they effectively dissolve the nail polish pigment.

Just pour some hand sanitiser on a cotton pad and rub your nails until the colour comes off. 

However, remember that excessive alcohol use can also be drying, so don't make this a habit and moisturise after! 

Alcohol spirits

Okay, this one is very similar to the previous one, which means that you shouldn't overuse it. But any spirits in your liquor cabinet that have high content can be used to soften your nail polish. Soak your nails for a few minutes and then wipe or peel the polish away. 

Make sure you're generous with a moisturiser or hand cream after this. 

Nourishing nail polish remover

While most of these DIY techniques can help remove nail polish, let's be honest, they're not super convenient. 

That's why here in SCOUT, we've created a nourishing and non-toxic product you can use without worrying about affecting your nails health. Even better - it will actually strengthen your nails! 

SCOUT's Nail Polish Remover with Kiwi Fruit, Rose Water & Aloe Vera is water-based, odourless and paraben, acetone & acetate free.

It's also boosted with calcium, pro-Vitamin B and vitamin E.

This unique product gently removes any nail polish, softens the skin and keeps your nails healthy and beautiful.

Just make the switch and ditch your toxic removers for good.