How to Remove Nail Glue in 6 Steps

Nail glue is our fake nails’ best friend when it comes to keeping them stuck on natural nails. But removing it from our nails and skin is one of the challenging parts of having artificial nails. It’s messy and sticky and can be the most unpleasant thing.

That’s why removing nail glue from natural nails should be done correctly to prevent damage. When done improperly, it’s not only the natural nails that are affected but also the surrounding skin. Irritations may develop the longer the glue stays on the skin.

Today, we are going to show you how to remove nail glue from natural nails in a safe and effective way. Plus, you’ll learn some important information related to nail glue that you may not know about!

What Is Nail Glue?

Before we tell you the steps to remove nail glue from nails, let’s discuss a little background about the adhesive. Nail glue is a cyanoacrylate adhesive that’s a clear liquid with high bond strength and fast bonding ability. It’s also very simple to apply and dries quickly, making it the most popular nail adhesive. It typically comes in a small container with a dropper or brush applicator.

What Makes Nail Glue Unique?

Nail glue has a closer chemical structure to the popular super glue. Both adhesives have cyanoacrylate, which makes these glues clear in colour and gives them a quick-drying effect.

Now, you might be wondering why not use the old-fashioned glue we use in our artistic crafts. Well, these glues are not made to stick to our nails’ cells, making them fall off quickly.

Also, nail glues have a few varieties. Some are made of vegan ingredients, while others are created to be hypoallergenic.

6 Steps to Remove Nail Glue from Natural Nails

1. Make Sure to Apply Fake Nails Properly

For easy removal, proper application of fake nails should be secured in the first place. This also prevents you from facing the negative effects of nail glue due to improper application. Always prepare the things you need before the application and don’t rush each step just to quicken the process even if you’ve already mastered the whole procedure.

2. Soak Both Hands in Warm Water with Oil

This step is to primarily help soften the glue. In a basin, mix warm water with olive oil or baby oil and submerge your hands for 10 minutes. While waiting for the glue to soften, allow your hands to relax in the water.

3. Soak Fingers in Acetone

Acetone is the most popular solution for removing fake nails as it softens the glue quickly without causing damage. At this point, your fake nails should start to feel a little softer as a result of the previous step. Still, you need to soak your fingers in acetone for 5 minutes to successfully separate the fake nails from your natural nails.

To follow this method, use cotton balls and dip them in acetone. Place each cotton ball over each fake nail and wrap the tip of your finger with foil. Wait for 10 minutes before unwrapping the foil. You may want to check the cotton ball first before putting it over the nail to see if it has enough acetone. Try to squeeze it and see if there is acetone dripping off. If so, it should be enough to remove the glue.

4. Use a Cotton Pad or Kitchen Towel to Remove the Fake Nails

At this point, the fake nails should already be loosened from the natural nails and are ready to be peeled off. To remove them, use a cotton pad or kitchen towel and gently push off each fake nail by putting slight pressure at the base as you push upward.

5. Repeat Step 2

This time, you must soak your hands again to get rid of the glue residue on your natural nails. Wait for several minutes or until you make sure all the glue residue comes off.

Additional tip: If there are still traces of glue left after this step on how to remove nail glue, try to buff them with a nail buffer. Just make sure you don’t polish your natural nails.

6. Moisturise the Nails

Once the nail glue is completely removed, you must moisturise your nails. This step is equally important as removing the nail glue successfully as hydrating can help prevent damage. Oils, serums and even creams are all great moisturisers for the nails. These are rich in hydrating nutrients that your nails need to promote healing.

To moisturise your fingers, apply a generous amount of the product on each nail and the surrounding skin. Make sure to cover the entire area and allow a few minutes for your nails and skin to absorb the product.

Additional tip: Allow time for your nails to have a break with fake nails. During this time, apply nail strengthener to each nail every day to help regain their healthy condition.

Removing Nail Glue on the Skin

Accidents happen, and you may experience worst-case scenarios when the nail glue ends up in the wrong places. One common example is when you accidentally glue some body parts together or areas in your fingers. This can tear the skin or cause irritation. When this happens, it’s important to take action immediately. Here are the things you can use to remove nail glue from the skin:

Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum jelly is always a skin-friendly product you can use to help with burns, hydration and more. In terms of nail glue, the jelly’s hydrating effect can soften the stuck glue on the skin when soaked for a period of time. It may take a while, however, for the product to soften the glue than acetone.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Apply petroleum jelly to the affected area of the skin in a circular motion.
  2. Gently massage the jelly on the glue until you feel the adhesive has slowly loosened.
  3. Once the glue has separated from the skin, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water to remove any residue.

Nail Polish Remover

If you frequently do your manicure at home, you already have this ready. Make sure to use the acetone-based product as it’s more effective in removing dried glue on the skin.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Use a cotton ball and dip it into the nail polish remover.
  2. Press the cotton ball onto the affected area and allow the acetone to settle. Apply more acetone as needed.
  3. Once the glue has started to dissolve, use a clean toothbrush to rub away the residue.

Hand Lotion

Like petroleum jelly, hand lotion has a hydrating effect that helps soften the glue on the skin.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Apply a generous amount of hand lotion onto the affected area and massage it in a circular motion.
  2. Continue massaging gently until the dried glue loosens.
  3. Once the glue is peeled off, wash the area with soap and water.

Natural Oil

If you’re into using products with natural ingredients, you can always opt for natural oil. It also has the hydrating effect that petroleum jelly and hand lotion provide but is healthier. Coconut oil or olive oil is a popular option for hydrating nails.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Apply a desirable amount of oil to the affected skin.
  2. Massage the area gently until the dried glue starts to peel off.
  3. Wipe the area away with a kitchen towel to remove the glue.
  4. You may need to repeat steps 1-3 if there is still glue residue on your skin until the adhesive is completely removed.

Soap and Water

If you don’t have any of the above products available when nail glue is stuck on your skin, soap and water are always handy. This combination is also a great alternative if you don’t want to use acetone-based solutions. It may take the longest to remove the glue but is still effective.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Mix warm water and a little soap in a bowl.
  2. Submerge the affected skin into the bowl for several minutes or wait until the glue loosens. The waiting time varies on how quickly you’ll act once you notice the stuck glue on your skin.
  3. Once the glue starts to soften, gently remove it from your skin.

Regardless of the product or method you’ll use in getting rid of the nail glue on the skin, always apply hand cream or moisturiser afterwards for hydration.

Preventing Nail Glue on the Skin

Prevention is always better than the treatment itself. You’ll avoid facing more challenging issues if you’re ready. There are helpful tips you can try when removing nail glue or even when applying fake nails to prevent dried glue in the wrong places.

First, during fake nail application, try not to stretch out your fingers’ pads too much. This prevents nail glue from seeping out of the sides. Take time to apply each nail, making sure you press it firmly.

Also, always prepare a bowl of warm water and a clean kitchen towel before the application of fake nails. Once you notice glue on your skin, immediately dip the towel into the bowl and wipe the glue off before it hardens. The key here is to act quickly, so stuck glue will be avoided.

You can create a protective barrier on the skin as well by applying a layer of cuticle oil or petroleum jelly. This barrier prevents the glue from sticking firmly, which is easy to remove when it contacts the skin.

Wrapping Up

Following the guide on how to remove nail glue above, you’ll save time visiting a salon. Still, we always encourage you to seek professional assistance from a nail technician to properly attach or remove fake nails. This is also true for dried glue that has caused redness and irritation in any area of your skin.