Shellac and SNS Removal At Home

If you’re stuck with SNS or Shellac that you’re now going to have to remove yourself just know that you’re not alone… I’ve had a tonne of messages from regular Shellac and SNS users who are now looking for a DIY method of removing it.

Firstly please don’t chew or peel your shellac off, it can be done, but it will damage your nails way more than necessary. SNS (aka powder nails) can’t be peeled off because they’re actually just a thin application of regular acrylic so it’s pretty tough.

Thankfully the method of removal of both SNS and Shellac are almost identical and pretty simple providing you have the right products.

There are 2 methods of removal, either ‘soak’ or ‘wrap’, but both require 100% pure acetone which you can buy at Big W, or Bunnings. The most common brand of pure acetone I’ve seen is ‘Diggers’ they sell 1L at Big W for $12. It’s worth mentioning that Big W and Bunnings stores are currently open as usual.

So let’s get started! You can either wrap the nails with foil and acetone soaked cotton balls inside, or soak your nails in a small bowl with acetone in it, both methods are as effective as each other.

You will need-

Soak method: 100% pure acetone, a nail file, a small bowl, a metal cuticle pusher tool.

Wrap Method: 100% pure acetone, a nail file, cotton balls, aluminium foil, a metal cuticle pusher tool.

1. Give your nail surface a file with the coarse side of a nail file. For Shellac just lightly file all 10 nails, for SNS you will need to go a bit harder to break through the shine top coat on all 10 nails otherwise the acetone won’t penetrate. If you have SNS nails you will know the top coat has been filed off when the shine has gone, it’s fairly easy to see.

2. Next you need to soak your nails in acetone for 10 minutes.

Wrap Method: This can be done by either soaking cotton balls with acetone, placing one on each nail and wrapping each nail in aluminium foil with the soaked cotton ball inside.

Soak Method: This is done by filling a small bowl with acetone, just enough to submerge your nails in, and soaking your nails in the bowl for 10 minutes.

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3. After 10 minutes you will notice the product starting to lift off. You will need a metal implement to scrape off the SNS or Shellac from your nails, this should be fairly easy after soaking but if there are any stubborn bits that won’t budge clean as much off as you can, then soak again for a further 5 or 10 minutes. A metal nail tool similar to that pictured below is most effective at scraping away the product and can be bought from Priceline, Chemist Warehouse, and possibly even the supermarket for under $5.

4. Once you’ve removed all the Shellac or SNS wash your hands and apply a good hand cream and cuticle oil. Pure acetone is pretty drying and isn’t very skin friendly.
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5. If you do the removal correctly you should keep nail damage to a minimum. But no matter what, both Shellac and SNS do leave some damage and weakness to the natural nail that can only be fixed with time. It usually takes a couple of months to have your natural nail back to full health and strength. I’d strongly advise using a strengthening paint on nail treatment after you’ve removed your SNS or Shellac to keep your nails strong, encourage healthy new growth and avoid breakage. I’ve found the Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Instant Nail Hardener  $13.99 to work really well.