How to Remove Shellac Nail Polish at Home – Simple Instructions!

Getting a manicure is more than just a way to make your hands look pretty and neat. It’s also a great way to relax and pamper yourself, especially after a week of working hard, be it at the office or at home.

If there’s anything worse than getting a lousy paint job on your nails, it’s having your nail polish chipped just days after having them painted on. It’s just a waste of money, not to mention it makes your hands look trashy and, well, just plain unsightly. Good thing there’s Shellac nail polish!


What is Shellac?

what is shellac

Shellac is a four-step manicure method created by CND or Creative Nail Designs. Unlike your regular manicure that uses regular nail polish, Shellac is quicker to do and dry and it has a glossier finish. It also does not chip quite as easily as regular nail polish.

It uses a unique blend of polymers and monomers that, when cured via quick exposure to UV or LED light, hardens with an ultra high-shine finish that can last anywhere from two weeks to a full month.

Shellac nail polish combines both regular nail polish and gel nail polish together in one bottle to give you the best of both worlds. Unlike gel polish, however, Shellac cannot be used to extend and elongate the nails or give it an alternative shape.

Why Do People Like Shellac?

why do people like shellac

Many girls (and some men) prefer shellac over regular manicures, and for good reason. Shellac has quite a few benefits that you won’t get from your regular manicures. These include the following:

Long lasting

Shellac can last anywhere from two weeks to a month on your nails, depending on how rough you are with your hands and how often you expose them to things that can contribute to nail polish chipping. This means you won’t be visiting the salon quite as often as you used to which also means saving some hard earned cash.

Quick curing and drying time

Unlike traditional gel nail polish, shellac nails are cured for shorter periods of time which means that your nails get less exposure to UV from nail lamps. This also means that it also dries quicker than regular/normal nail polish. Just apply, cure, and go.

LED -curable

using uv lights for nail polish

Now, if it’s the UV exposure that you’re worried about, don’t fret. There is another option and it is safer and more efficient and that is curing your manicure with LED lights instead. This is a way better alternative to using UV lights and they work really well on shellac nail polish.

Looks pretty and fabulous

 nail polish looks pretty and fabulous

There’s something about that high shine look you get from shellac that just makes your nails look extra pretty and posh. If you’re someone who’s always shaking hands with new and important people, you’ll want to make sure your nail game is always on point and shellac nail polish can help you with that.

Healthy alternative to acrylic nails

There are plenty of issues that have been linked with the use of acrylic nails, so if you’re an acrylic fan who’s looking for a healthier alternative to give your nails the same posh and polished look, you should definitely try going for shellac.

How to Remove Shellac Nail Polish at Home

how to remove shellac nail polish at home

Of course, just like anything else, shellac nail polish has a few disadvantages as well. Nothing to outweigh its advantages, of course. One of the biggest downsides to using shellac on your nails is that it doesn’t come off easily. That means you can’t just change colors as easily as you could if you had regular nail polish on.

To get shellac off of your nails, you can either go to the salon and have it done or you can DIY it at home. In case you choose to go for the second option, here are some of the things that you need to know.

Soaking Method

how to remove shellac nail polish with soaking method

The soaking method is a very quick and effective way to remove shellac nail polish at home. It takes about five to ten minutes to complete which is great if you don’t have that much time to remove your previous nail color and apply a fresh, new one. 

What You Will Need

  • A medium-sized bowl
  • Acetone
  • Orange stick / a nail pusher
  • Nail file
  • Cuticle oil
  • Hand cream

How to Do It

Step 1
Oil Coat

Coat your nails and cuticles with cuticle oil. This will bring in some moisture to your nails and will also help loosen up the shellac that has clinged on to your natural nail for quite some time now.

Step 2
Procedure Prep

While waiting for the cuticle oil to fully saturate and penetrate your nails and cuticles, prepare the things that you will need for the procedure. Take a medium-sized bowl that’s roomy enough for you to fit your fist in, an orange stick or a nail pusher and a lot of acetone.

Step 3
Soak Your Nails

Now that the oil has loosened up most of the shellac on your nails, it’s time to help them come off even further. Pour some acetone into the bowl enough to cover all of your nails and then soak your nails into the acetone by inserting your hand in the bowl nail side down. Leave it soaking for about 10 to 15 minutes or until you see the shellac starting to lift off of the nail.

Step 4
Push It Real Good

Now that the shellac is lifted from your natural nail, you can start picking on it to remove it. If you soaked your nails in long enough, everything should come off in one, whole piece. If not, don’t worry, just take your orange stick and start pushing the shellac off your nails. If you prefer to use a nail pusher, be sure to use the blunt side when doing this.

Step 5
Buff and Polish

Remember that it’s normal to still have little bits or specks of shellac nail polish on your nails after soaking them. You can either wait for these tiny bits to fall off themselves or you can buff your nail to remove them. Buffing also evens out any roughness on your nails.

Step 6

As you know, using acetone dries out your skin, your cuticles, and your nails while buffing your nails can weaken them and make them brittle. To restore your nails back to their healthy state, always apply cuticle oil after removing your nail polish, especially gel and shellac.

This will smoothen your nails and make your cuticles become healthy again. If you have dry skin, you should finish off with a dollop or two of hand cream, too.

Wrapping Method

wrapping method remove shellac nail polish

The wrapping method is a bit more tedious compared to the soaking method, but it gets more polish off and doesn’t use as much as acetone as well.

What You Will Need

  • Aluminum foil
  • Cotton pads
  • Acetone
  • Cuticle oil
  • Hand cream
  • Nail file

How to Do It

Step 1
Prepare Your Materials

Cut 10 pieces of 4x4” squares from your roll of aluminum foil and lay them out for easy access later. Prepare 10 pieces of cotton pads and some acetone. Lay everything else out so you can quickly grab them as the process calls for it.

Step 2
Wrap it Up

Take a cotton pad, soak it up in acetone and wrap it around your nails. You can wiggle the cotton pad a bit while wrapping it around your nail to help in loosening the shellac off of your nails. Once the cotton has been wrapped around your nail, take a piece of aluminum foil and wrap it around the cotton pad on your finger to seal. Repeat this for all the remaining fingers and leave it on for 10 to 20 minutes.

Step 3
Reveal and Peel

After 10 to 20 minutes, you can check if the shellac has been lifted from the nail. If it has, go ahead and unravel the aluminum foil and the cotton pad wrapped around your nail. You can either unwrap your nails one by one or you can do all of them at the same time, it depends on what you are most comfortable with.

After unwrapping/revealing your nails, you can start removing the shellac nail polish on them. You can do this by using an orange stick or the blunt edge of a nail pusher.

Step 4

After getting rid of most of the shellac on your nails, you can start buffing it with a nail file. This step will get rid of all the tiny little bits of polish left on your nails and it will also make your nails smoother and evener

Step 5
Seal the Deal

The last step in the wrapping method is the same as it is in the soaking method. Just coat your nails with cuticle oil to restore moisture back to your nails and cuticles and some hand cream on your hands to counter the drying effect of acetone.


You don’t have to go to the salon for every little nail care need that you have. If you’re always looking for ways to save some money, why not try doing some of these things at home, starting off with removing your shellac nail polish?

Removing shellac nail polish at home is easy and it really doesn’t cost much. If you’ve got the time anyway, I suggest trying to do it yourself so you can spend that $10-$20 on something else like a paraffin treatment or another mani or pedi.

Ella Jones

Hi . My name is Ella Jones . I’m a blogger, shopaholic, and beauty-obsessed blogger from NYC, armed with a Professional MBA from Fordham and a License in Cosmetology from Empire Beauty School in my hometown of Brooklyn. I’m the proud owner of a successful salon and beauty parlor in the city, and I’ve started this blog to share my beauty secrets with you.

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