We Talked To A Chemist About Nail Polish Remover

stock image- Photo: Bryon Summers for StyleBlazer
Photo: Bryon Summers for StyleBlazer

While nail polish formulas are definitely becoming more chip resistant, it can be hard to find a trusty remover that can adequately remove even the most stubborn of polish. But, like the different types of lacquer already hitting the market, different kinds of remover are readily available to remove even the most unbending of glitter and gel lacquers.

To properly comprehend remover basics, it’s important to understand first that there aren’t too many overwhelming formulas available. Consumers can usually purchase acetone, non-acetone and soy types of formulas to remove nail color. These type of products are usually available in liquid bottles, one-step remover pads or brush and sponges.

While there are differing amounts of formulas, always know that various removers tackle different kinds of removal jobs, according to Frank Busch, leading chemist at Cutex Brands.

If you have sensitive skin or acrylic nails, non-acetone or soy-based removers are the best choice,” Busch says. “To remove UV-cured coatings (like gel, lacquer, shellac), acetone-based is most effective.”

What’s Inside Remover? 

stock image- Photo: Bryon Summers for StyleBlazer
Photo: Bryon Summers for StyleBlazer

The key active ingredients found in most nail polish removers are acetone, ethyl acetate or butyl acetate, and isopropyl alcohol, says Dr. Gillian Palette, a Board Certified Adult Nurse Practitioner specializing in Cosmetic Dermatology and Esthetics. Ingredients often differ based on the brand, and each may have different compositions. But despite their ability to remove polish in seconds, some polish removers contain ingredients that can be harmful to the skin.

“Acetone for example, may be a more effective way to remove polish but is also more harsh, drying, and toxic to the nails, skin, and cuticles,” Palette says. “These chemicals are known to dehydrate the skin, and can make nails dry and brittle.”

For safer and less-toxic options, experts like Dr. Palette recommend looking for water-based removers made from Ethyl acetate, which are more gentle and more nourishing.

“A less toxic option is nail polish remover made from Ethyl acetate which is the active ingredient used in non-acetone nail polish remover and is also found in nail polish itself,” Dr. Palette says. “Some removers like this add in Aloe Vera, different essential oils and vitamins.”

Products To Use

Ruffian Wipes

For effective removers that won’t quit, there are plenty of great products available that work well for any occasion. If you are a grab-and-go kind of lady, the RUFFIAN Dressing Room Nail Lacquer Remover Towelettes ($12) offer an acetone free formula that comes in the form of convenient disposable wipes.


But if you prefer both a nail prep and conditioner, use the Zoya Remove Plus Big Flipper Polish Remover ($9.99) to successfully remove polish and soften your nails.


And for all those hard to remove lacquers, the Cutex Twister Nail Polish Spa Formula ($4.99) allows you to dip your finger into a reticular shaped sponge for effective mess free removal.


The post We Talked To A Chemist About Nail Polish Remover appeared first on StyleBlazer.

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