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Nail polish removers are a dime a dozen, but finding one that works well without stinking up an entire home or destroying your nails can be a struggle. Whether you prefer liquid removers or remover pads, there's a perfect nail polish remover out there.
So, we asked nail professionals to recommend their favorites. Some of them even strengthen nails instead of weaken them.
The best nail polish removers, according to manicurists
- 1. Londontown Kur Strengthening Lacquer Remover, $12, Ulta
"The Londontown lacquer remover is one of my favorites on set. It’s super powerful and conditions and strengthens your nails. It earns extra points for being vegan, too," said manicurist Gerry Holford.
- 2. Deborah Lippmann The Stripper Nail Lacquer Remover, $18, Amazon
"This polish remover contains aloe vera to keep your nails healthy and avoid dryness," said manicurist Sarah Chue, represented by Exclusive Artists Management.
- 3. ZOYA Remove Plus in Big Flipper Bottle, $10, Amazon
"Zoya Remove Plus is one of my go-to polish removers! I love using it for my clients because it doesn’t even smell like polish remover. I’ve even had someone comment on how good it smells. It isn’t harsh on the nails, yet is still able to remove the most difficult of colors (like glitter!)," said Los Angeles-based nail artist and manicurist Chelsea King.
- 4. Ella+Mila Soy Nail Polish Remover, $11, Amazon
"This gentle soy-based nail polish remover is made to effectively remove all conventional nail polishes. Formulated with beneficial ingredients such as Vitamins A, C and E, as well as lavender essential oil, this remover promotes healthy and moisturized nails. This product does not contain acetone or harsh acetates, which will dry out your skin and damage the nail and cuticles," said manicurist Gina Viviano.
- 5. OPI Expert Touch Lacquer Remover, $6, Ulta
"This polish remover contains grapeseed oil and aloe vera, and is great for moisturizing nails while removing polish," Chue said.
- 6. Young Nails Caption On To The Next Cream Nail Polish Remover, $7, Ulta
“This is my favorite remover. It's is a small travel-sized bottle of acetone remover, and it’s a cream, so there is no mess and it's easily controlled when using on a remover pad. This product removes all gel product and polish super easily,” said celebrity manicurist Carla Kay.
- 7. Onyx Professional 100% Acetone Nail Polish Remover, $7, Amazon
"Despite the idea that non-acetone is 'healthier' for natural nails, 100 percent acetone is best because its ability to swiftly remove polish, glitter and gels mean less time exposed to chemicals. Of course, always wash your nail/hands after removal and before reapplying a new color if you want a longer lasting manicure," said manicurist Elle.
- 8. Cutex Ultra Powerful Nail Polish Remover, $11, Amazon
"This polish remover is 98 percent acetone and quickly removes polish without leaving fingers chalky after use. It can also double as a gel remover, which is always a bonus, and it has a light cucumber fragrance," said manicurist/nail artist Julie Kandalec.
- 9. Beauty Secrets Pure Acetone, $4, Amazon
"Acetone is organic, meaning that it’s actually found naturally in nature, and a small amount of it is in the human body! Pure acetone, however, is flammable and volatile: So, don’t sniff it or soak in it. Personally, I do use it as a polish remover because it’s a super fast solvent and removes polish so quickly that it’s actually on the skin less time than any other polish remover," said manicurist Michelle Saunders.
- 10. butter London Scrubbers 2-in-1 Prep and Remove Wipes, $10, Dermstore
"These remover pads from butter London are perfect for someone who's always on the go. The wipes are individually packaged so they’re perfect for travel, and they really scrub away all of your polish effectively while nourishing your nails," Holford said.
- 11. Mineral Fusion Polish Remover, $7, Amazon
"I love Mineral Fusion because it actually works, which is pretty rare for a product without acetone," said nail illustrator Whitney Gibson.
- 12. Nails Inc. Gel-less Gel Nail Polish Remover Kit, $19, Sephora
"One of the worst things you can do is peel off your gel polish, so I always recommend soaking off gel polish. This all-in-one kit makes it convenient for those who can’t get into a salon to soak off, and the conditioning acetone makes it a plus," King said.
- 13. Deborah Lippmann The Stripper To Go Nail Polish Remover, $12, Amazon
"I always keep a couple of these pre-moistened remover pads in my purse in case my nail polish chips and I need to remove it on the go! They’re made of a felt material, so you can really get the polish off, and it never leaves your skin dry afterwards," King said.