How to Remove Dip Nails Fast in Just 10 Minutes

Here’s How to Remove Dip Nails at Home Fast!

If you’re wondering how to remove dip nails and if you can do it in as little as 10 minutes – yes! It really is that easy. You just need to follow the right dip nail removal process. You can even use this technique to remove your acrylic nails too.

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Learning how to remove dip nails shouldn’t be a hassle. Not only does this technique work quickly, but it also reduces damage to your natural nail by removing the dip powder properly and without force.

Why does this dip nail removal technique work so well?

Well, it involves a traditional soak off method with acetone. But, we are going to gently heat the acetone for faster removal. Not only does this speed up removal, it also limits your hand and nail exposure to acetone.

remove dip nails at home

Full disclosure: it takes me 10 minutes per hand. That’s because I like keeping one hand free to access my phone, drink coffee, maybe some wine… etc.

However, you could soak both hands at once to remove everything as quickly as possible.

Watch Video: How to Remove Dip Nails at Home

Products Needed for Dip Nail Removal

To remove your dip nails, you’ll need a few things.

  • Low Grit Hand File – Before soaking off, you must file off the shiny top layer. This is easier when using a low-grit file.
  • MelodySusie E-File (optional) – You can make your dip nail removal much faster by using an e-file. I highly recommend using an e-file paired with these carbide bits.
  • 100% Pure Acetone – You need pure acetone for this technique to work effectively. Regular nail polish remover is not the same thing! Check your acetone to ensure it’s pure.
  • Coconut Oil (optional) – Acetone is very drying. To retain moisture while soaking the nails, you can add a tiny bit of coconut oil to the acetone.
  • Willowash Electrical Nail Enhancement Remover (optional) – This electric remover makes taking off the dip nails quick and hassle-free.

How to Remove Dip Nails at Home

Step 1) File the Shine Off of Your Nails

To reduce the amount of time you need to soak, it’s best to file off as much dip as possible.

You can use a regular coarse hand file. To speed up removal, I highly recommend using an e-file paired with a coarse bit.

The more you file off during this step, the faster your soak-off time will be. That’s why I recommend an e-file as you can quickly file off more of the dip powder. However, be careful not to allow the file to reach your natural nail as this can cause damage.

Please note: if you are wearing a gel top coat, you need to fully remove that layer. Gel top coat is resistant to acetone. So, it will not soak off.

Recommended products for this step:

Step 2) Fill a Bowl With Warm Water

You want the water to be as warm as possible but without risk of burning yourself.

I like to heat the water in the microwave for a few seconds as I find this warms the water to the perfect temperature.

Step 3) Put Coconut Oil in a Bowl and Pour 100% Acetone Over Top

Adding coconut oil to the acetone will keep your nails moisturized while you are soaking off your dip powder. However, make sure that you only add a tiny bit of coconut oil. Adding too much coconut oil will dilute the acetone and prevent it from working efficiently.

Also, make sure you are using pure acetone for this step! Regular nail polish remover and pure acetone are not the same thing.

Regular nail polish remover will not be as effective. You can ensure you’re using pure acetone by checking the ingredients list. If acetone is the only listed ingredient, you’re good to go.

Bonus tip: Place a paper towel into the bowl with the acetone. This will give you something to rub your nails on and speed up removal.

Recommended products for this step:

Step 4) Place the Bowl with the Acetone/Coconut Oil into the Bowl of Warm Water

This will gently heat the acetone so that it works much more efficiently.

Step 5) Place Your Fingers into the Bowl and Rub Your Nails

While your nails are soaking, it’s important to rub them to remove the dip. This is why I recommend adding a paper towel. This will agitate the dip powder so it will be easier to take off.

Continue rubbing your nails until the dip is fully removed. This process generally takes about 10 minutes.

Step 6) Wash and Moisturize Your Hands

apply cerave in nail care routine

Acetone is drying and will strip moisture, even with the added coconut oil.

Once removal is complete, replenish your hands by applying moisturizer and a good cuticle oil or cream.

Recommended products for this step:

Troubleshooting: If Your Dip Nails Won’t Come Off or It’s Taking Too Long, Here’s Why…

I’ve seen people say that this removal method doesn’t work or it takes a lot longer than 10 minutes. Here’s the thing…

Acetone is a solvent that breaks down and dissolves the polymers found in dip powder. The reason this soak-off method works is because acetone penetrates the layers of dip powder and then weakens the bond between the polymers and natural nails. This is a chemical process that will occur no matter who’s dip nails come into contact with acetone.

In a nutshell, if this soak-off method isn’t working then other factors are contributing to its inefficiency.

Here are 8 Common Reasons that Prevent this Soak Off Removal from Working Effectively

  1. You’re not using pure acetone – Regular nail polish remover is not the same as pure acetone. The easiest way to tell is by checking the ingredients list on your bottle. With pure acetone, acetone will be the only listed ingredient.
  2. You’re not filing off enough of the dip powder or acrylic in step 1 – You need to fully file off the shiny top layer of your nails. It’s also best to file off as much as possible without hitting the natural nail. This is why I recommend using an e-file with carbide bits as this will make it easier and faster to file the initial layer off.
  3. Your dip powder application is too thick – If your dip powder layers are excessively thick, the acetone may have trouble penetrating and dissolving the polymers effectively. In this case, you need to file more of your dip powder off before soaking. If you’re struggling with a thick dip powder application, it may be due to your dip liquids.
  4. You’re wearing a gel top coat or builder gel – Gel is often resistant to acetone. So if you’re wearing a gel top coat and you have not fully filed it off, it won’t soak off in the acetone. Also, builder gel is often resistant to acetone as well and will not soak off.
  5. You added too much coconut oil in step 4 – Only add a tiny amount of coconut oil. Too much will dilute the acetone and prevent it from working effectively.
  6. You’re not heating the acetone enough – It isn’t necessary to heat the acetone. However, it will make this process work more efficiently so you can limit how long your hands and nails are exposed to acetone. It’s best to make the water as warm as you can tolerate without the risk of burning yourself.
  7. You’re not agitating the dip powder while soaking – Simply sticking your nails in a bowl of acetone will not be very efficient. Be sure to rub your nails to agitate the dip powder. I recommend placing a paper towel in the bowl to rub your nails against. This will encourage the dip powder to come off quickly.
  8. Your dip powder is the culprit – If all of the above factors have been addressed and you’re still having trouble, it’s time to check your dip powder. Some low-quality dip powders have formulations that are resistant to acetone. It’s best to choose reputable dip powder brands to avoid issues.
tips for how to remove dip nails at home

Can an Electric Nail Soaking Bowl Make Removal Easier?

The Willowash is an electric nail soaking bowl. It stays warm throughout the removal process. So you don’t have to worry about your acetone cooling, especially if you’re like me and like to soak each hand individually.

You do not need anything more than what’s shared above to quickly remove your dip nails at home. You will be able to remove your dip nails or acrylic nails quickly and effectively just by following the steps above.

But I have to say…

The Willowash is a nice treat. It reduces the fuss. Keeps the mess contained. Plus, it keeps the acetone warm throughout removal which is quite convenient.

I love my Willowash – you can click here to find out why and watch the full Willowash review.

If you’d like to get a Willowash, it is available here.

Frequently Asked Questions

It takes me longer than 10 minutes to soak my dip nails off. Why?

If you’ve followed these steps and it’s taking a lot longer to remove your dip nails, read the troubleshooting section to find out why.

This soak off method won’t take off my dip nails. Why?

If you’ve followed these steps and your dip nails still won’t come off, read the troubleshooting section to find out why.

Will regular nail polish remover work?

Technically regular nail polish remover will work (I’ve done it in a pinch!) but it’s not nearly as effective or efficient as pure acetone. This means you’ll be soaking your nails much longer which is not ideal. Be sure to only use pure acetone.

Can you remove dip nails without acetone?

Acetone is the recommended way to fully remove dip powder from your nails by dermatologists. While you can find other products to soak off your nails, these are often inefficient and can cause more irritation.

You should also never forcefully remove dip powder as this can cause increased damage to your natural nails. However, if you are frequently changing out your manicures, you can opt to use a peel base.

Can heating acetone cause increased harm to my skin and nails?

Gently heating the acetone presents no more risk than using regular acetone. Since gently heating the acetone speeds up removal, it actually limits your exposure time to the acetone which is better.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to remove dip powder like this at home will make doing your nails a lot easier. Plus, it’ll ensure the dip powder is removed properly to limit damage to your natural nail.

Of course, once you’ve removed your dip nails, you’ll likely be ready for another gorgeous manicure. Be sure to check out my Pinterest for the latest nail trends and nail design ideas.

Ready for More DIY Dip Nail Recommendations?

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