Which nail polish remover suits your lifestyle?
Not every nail polish suits every user, and there are almost as many nail polish removers as there are manufacturers. Whether you are in need of a chemical-free remover, a moisturizing remover, or an easy to pack one for the girl on the go, I hope that this guide will help you find your perfect product.
How do you even begin to choose?
There are so many different brands, each one offering different benefits.
The list below is curated from reviews of some of Amazon’s popular products to help you find your favorite.
Mineral Fusion Organic Nail Polish Remover – Best Overall
Mineral Fusion, as the name suggests, is made from natural minerals. It is a great option for supporters of beauty without cruelty. It hasn’t been tested on animals, and it is acetone, paraben, and formaldehyde-free.
Surprisingly, for a gentle nail polish remover, it has no trouble removing even dark colors. It is fast-acting and saves time, effort, and cotton wool pads.
The reviews for this product are not only prolific, but at least 83% of their reviewers rate them 5 out of 5 stars. Even professional nail stylists have reviewed it with great excitement.
Available in a 6 fluid ounce bottle, it ticks the boxes for being gentle, natural and non-drying.
- Cruelty free
- A fairly strong odor, though not as strong as many, commonly used polish removers
- Tends to evaporate quite quickly if not stored carefully
- Not suitable for salon gel nail polish
Mineral Fusion Nail Polish Remover Q&A
Does it remove Shellac nail polish?
Yes! It will take about 30 seconds of holding a soaked cotton wool pad to it, but thereafter will come off with a couple of easy wipes.
Can it remove glitter polish?
Yes. It is strong enough to remove glitter polish, but gentle enough not to dry out your nails.
Does it smell as strongly as acetone?
It doesn’t have as powerful a scent as acetone, but it is also not scent-free. The scent is quite floral.
Overall Mineral Fusion has not only the most reviews but also the most positive ones. It might not be allowed in your hand luggage, and you will have to store it in a cool place, the price is above average, but I think it’s worth it. The perfect pairing for the eco-conscious.
Cutex Ultra Powerful Nail Polish Remover Review – Best Price
Cutex Ultra is a very strong spa formula containing 98% acetone. It is specially formulated to cut through the toughest nail polishes, even salon gels.
It works quickly for home manicures and pedicures, removing dark colors, glitter polishes and gels in a very short time. Having been around since 1911 it has stood the test of time and continues to be a best seller.
This polish remover does what it says on the bottle. It’s extremely powerful and effective. It also contains apricot seed oil to nourish the nails, and a cucumber scent to enhance the spa feeling.
- Removes tough polish, including salon UV gels
- Saves time
- Gives a thorough clean, so great for dark nail colors
- The scent is strong and while some people love it, others are not so crazy about it
- It’s best to moisturize after using, as it can dry out nails
Cutex Ultra Power Nail Polish Remover Q&A
Does it remove acrylic nails?
Yes. Due to the high acetone content it is able to remove acrylic nails.
How long does it last?
It apparently does not have an expiry date and doesn’t lose its potency, so as long as it’s kept sealed in a cool place it can last indefinitely.
This product is ideal for the busy working girl with a love for dark nail polishes, acrylics, and gels. If you don’t always have time to pamper, and need a thorough stain-free clean, it’s quick, efficient, and cost-effective.
Pretty Nails Regular Nail Polish Remover Review – Best Design
This one from Pretty Nails contains no acetone, making it less harsh. It also contains a conditioning formula to nourish the fingertips and strengthen nails.
Its most unusual feature is in the form of its packaging. The 8-ounce screw top tub is fitted with a wand for use on toenails and a sponge. You can either use the sponge on the end of the wand to remove toenail polish, and fingernail polish, or you can remove the dauber, and insert your finger into the center of the sponge and twist to remove fingernail polish. Most reviewers found the dauber to be a special addition that they would like to see more of in other brands.
- Quick to use
- Gives a thorough clean
- Cost-effective because you’re not pouring out large quantities onto the cotton wool
- The scent can cling to the fingers for a while if not washed after removing nail polish
- Can leave a bit of color residue on fingertips if you don’t use the wand
Pretty Nails Regular Nail Polish Remover Q&A
Does it remove acrylic nails?
It is not specifically advertised for the removal of acrylic nails, but a number of reviewers have reported success in using it for this purpose.
Can it remove gel polish?
It does not contain acetone, so while being a healthier option, this also makes it a gentler option. It is better to use an acetone-based polish remover for gel polish.
Pretty Nails Regular is a no muss, no fuss nail polish remover that is gentle on the nails and skin. It has a handy wand that appeals to many users but is better suited to regular nail polish than glitters, gels, and particularly dark colors.
Airshine Magic Nail Polish Remover Review – My choice
Now here is one for those who want a salon experience at home. Airshine Magic Nail Polish Remover is specifically formulated to remove normal and gel polish within 2 to 5 minutes. It’s pricier than the other options reviewed, and has a mixed bag of reviews.
Many of the less favorable reviews come from those who have not followed the instructions carefully. While this product can remove UV gels, the manufacturer is clear that this will take longer if you don’t first break the seal of the nail polish by buffing. See my nail buffers list here.
A handy small bottle for traveling, and a simple, clean paint on the method. This nail polish remover is specifically handy for dealing with gel nail polish without having to go to the salon, or use foils, wraps or soaking (which can damage the tender skin around the nail bed)
- Works on gel nails without foil, soaking or wrapping
- Takes less than 5 minutes to work
- Easy travel size for airline hand luggage
- Not recommended for dip powder or poly gel
- Works best on gel nails after buffing
Airshine Magic Power Nail Polish Remover Q&A
The contents of the bottle are thick, is that correct?
Yes. This is a paint on remover with a similar consistency to nail polish, it is not a liquid.
How should I use it?
Unlike traditional nail polish removers, you do not apply and wipe with cotton wool immediately. You buff your nail polish, then paint a coat of Airshine Magic over the nail polish. Leave it for about 3 minutes, then wipe off using cotton wool.
Love the gel nail polish, but not always able to get to a salon every day? This is your perfect partner, and with a small bottle, a great travel buddy too.
Zoya Nail Polish Remover Review – Multipurpose Remover
Zoya Nail Polish Remover may appear pricey at first glance, but at 8 fluid ounces, it’s the biggest bottle of all of those compared in this review. This makes it quite a reasonable cost, but don’t forget you’ll have to put it into your checked luggage when traveling.
While with other products it is recommended to use them prior to painting as well for longer-lasting color, Zoya drives this point home. It is a 3-in-1 remover, prep, and moisturizer.
This is a multipurpose polish remover, also used to prepare and moisturize the nail bed prior to the next color is added. It guarantees smooth streak-free manicures that last longer.
- Less harsh than standard removers
- The plastic bottle is too big for hand luggage
- Some users have had difficulty with the pump top
- While this is a relatively gentle, moisturizing nail polish remover, it is not chemical-free.
Zoya Nail Polish Remover Q&A
Can I use it to remove gel nail polish?
Although this product is not specifically marketed as a gel polish remover, a number of reviewers report having successfully used it for both gel and glitter nail polishes.
What’s the point of using it to prep before painting?
It nourishes and moisturizes the nail prior to painting, and helps the new polish to go on more smoothly and last longer.
While not acetone-free, this nail polish remover seems to have less trouble with dried out nails than most, so a good moisturizer. Overall the product itself has very good reviews, but the packaging less so. It is inexpensive and not overpowering in scent.
Nail Polish Removers – Guide
Before exerting yourself, regardless of which nail polish remover you use, always let the soaked cotton wool or layer of paint on remover penetrate the polish. Give it time, the longer it is on, the softer your remover will be, and the quicker it will be to remove.
With the nail buffer
For extra tough polishes, like gels, or particularly thick layers, use a metal or bamboo scraper to gently scrape off the majority of the polish after it has been soaked and before wiping the nails with cotton pads.
Wash your hands
No matter how good, healthy, or eco friendly your nail polish remover is, once you are finished, wash your hands with soap and water and apply a moisturizer. Remember even the gentlest moisturizing one has to be strong enough to dissolve nail polish otherwise you wouldn’t be buying it in the first place.
So, there you go, five very different nail products. They all do the same thing in essence but take different amounts of time and effort, some are easier to travel with, some are better for you and the environment and some even have other uses.
All of them are cheaper than a visit to the salon, but they do vary in price.
In the process of researching, I came across some amazing questions, like “is it vegan or gluten-free?” or “can I use it on leather?” My best advice would be to stick to using nail polish remover on nails (either natural or acrylic) to remove nail polish (either normal or gel).
I am messy too with the nail polish!
If you are inclined to be a bit messy with the application of nail polish, put a magazine or cloth on your leather sofa before starting out (or paint your nails at the kitchen table as I do).
There is something for everyone, and we can all, in our own unique styles, step out with beautifully manicured nails, no matter skin color, age, or status.
Nail Polish Removers FAQ
What is the best nail polish remover?
My first choice would be Mineral Fusion. It is the best-rated, has a lot of good reviews, and it is also an organic product.
What can you use instead of nail polish remover?
A good tip would be to soak your nails in warm water and then apply a cotton pad with vinegar or lemon juice on your nails. You can also get the job done with perfume or hand sanitizers.
Can I use acetone instead of polish remover?
Although nail polish removers contain acetone, they also contain different types of solvents, oil, or scents. That’s why I would choose a polish remover over acetone.