When trying to remove a chipped manicure, the last thing you want is a nail polish remover that smells awful, takes forever to use, and leaves your nails looking worse than they did before you used it. Check out our complete list of the best nail polish removers that actually work.
Below are some of the best nail polish removers available to clean your nails while keeping them fresh – and won’t make you lightheaded.
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3 Things To Look For When Choosing A Nail Polish Remover
Walk into any store that sells cosmetics and you’ll see a confusing amount of nail polish remover on the shelf.
Before you panic and grab the first bottle you see, keep the following in mind:
Generally, acetone is required when you want to remove stubborn colors, such as dark colors, reds, blues, and glitters.
More removers, however, can do the trick without acetone, which can be drying and pungent.
2. The Formula
Not all nail polish removers are created equal, and not all removers will take off all types of polish. For instance, if you get gel or shellac manicures, make sure the nail polish remover you choose can actually take it off.
A downside of some nail polish remover is the harsh smell. This is usually due to either acetone or alcohol.
More removers are being made either without these ingredients, or with ingredients that help mask the smell.
17 Best Nail Polish Removers [2022 Buying Guide]
These nail polish remover wipes do just that; wipe your polish right off. They’re effective for hard-to-remove colors and even nail stickers, and can take off glitter nail polish with just a few swipes. They also make an excellent companion when traveling, or can be thrown in your purse for emergencies.
Why We Like It: They’re portable, they work fast, and they don’t require a bottle and cotton pads.
This nail polish remover gets rid of your polish with ease, even without acetone. The formula is gentle on the skin and the nostrils, and is formulated without harmful ingredients. It’s also gluten-free and cruelty-free, with no harsh colors or scents.
Why We Like It: It’s good for getting rid of nail polish without harming the planet. It also works on many types of polish, including shellac.
This remover has rave reviews for taking off nail polish effectively while also nourishing your nails and cuticles. The addition of glycerin helps alleviate any drying or skin irritation that could be caused by the small amount of acetone.
Why We Like It: The reputation for being effective is solid, and it doesn’t leave any streaks on your nails.
You don’t have to say no to sparkly nail polishes or dark colors anymore; this nail polish remover will take them off without having to spend hours scrubbing away. While there is acetone in this formula, a cucumber scent has been added for freshness.
Why We Like It: It removes polishes that are known to be tough, such as glitter, gel, and dark colors like red and green that are notoriously difficult to get off.
Many acetone-free nail polish removers don’t work very well; the Karma Organic Beauty remover is an exception.
This natural, cruelty-free formula smells lovely and helps to nourish your hands and nails during use. This remover is ideal for those who don’t want to use harsh chemicals in their home or on their skin.
Why We Like It: The soybean and lavender oils smell delicious, and leave your cuticles and hands feeling soft and smelling great.
Stubborn nail polish and dark lacquers can’t stand up against this nail polish remover; it absolutely does strip off even the hardest polishes.
Additionally, there’s aloe and lavender in the formula for an invigorating scent that doesn’t damage your nails in the process.
Why We Like It: The formula is effective, but the ingredients list is small enough that there’s no cause for concern that it’ll damage your skin.
This nail polish remover doesn’t only smell sweet, it’s known for getting stubborn nail polish off quickly. Ingredients such as soy and Vitamins A will add life back into your nails, even if they always have harsh nail polish on them.
Why We Like It: The product performs consistently well, and the smell is soothing instead of nauseating.
These scrubbers will help remove nail polish, even with glitter, while adding moisture to your nails and getting them ready for your next color.
Vitamin E and aloe are two beneficial nutrients within the remover’s formula, adding some soothing nourishment to your nails and cuticles when taking off your nail polish.
Why We Like It: The wipes are convenient for on-the-go, and the remover doesn’t leave your nails dry and damaged.
Having this nail polish on display in your bathroom looks nice and refined, but it’s not just the bottle that works. The nail polish remover inside helps to soak off your nail polish without harsh scents or chemicals.
The ingredients have also been specially selected to leave your nails feeling strong yet soft.
Why We Like It: There are no harsh ingredients or scents in this effective nail polish remover.
You don’t have to go back to the salon to get your gel manicure removed; you can just use some of this salon-quality remover at home.
This remover works fast to get that stubborn gel nail polish off, and doesn’t leave your hands or nails feeling dry afterwards. Sally Hansen is a trusted brand for good-quality removers, and this remover lives up to that reputation.
Why We Like It: It easily removes gel polish without a ton of elbow grease needed, and the packaging is also cute.
Effective nail polish removal doesn’t have to be expensive. This set comes with a nail polish remover liquid that helps dissolve nail polish quickly while keeping your nails moisturized.
There is also foil to help remove shellac, and cuticle oil to refresh the skin around your nails.
Why We Like It: You get more products with this kit. It’s also very affordable while working well to get off a variety of types of nail polish.
This nail polish remover has some cutesy packaging, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work even for stubborn nail polish. The remover doesn’t contain a lot of acetone so it’s gentle on your nails and your skin.
Why We Like It: The remover works well to get nail polish off without a harsh smell.
Once again, acetone isn’t always necessary for effective polish removal. This gentle formula is ideal for those with sensitive skin, with almond oil to help add some moisture back into the nails after taking off your nail polish.
The ingredients are sourced very carefully, as Yves Rocher likes to avoid harming the planet when formulating their products.
Why We Like It: It’s affordable, the company’s products are responsibly made, and it works.
If you find your nails feeling brittle with a bunch of breakage after removing your polish, you’ll like this strengthening lacquer remover. It is formulated to help add some strength back into the nail, which is ideal for those who frequently change their nail polish color.
There is no acetone in this remover, and it also works to get off stubborn glitter.
Why We Like It: The price is high, but it’s justified with how well this nail polish remover works.
Get two of Karma Organic’s best remover formulas in one package, soaked into remover wipes that help you wipe off your polish in a pinch.
The lavender and rose scents are so refreshing and gentle on the nose, and there’s no acetone in either formula.
Why We Like It: These wipes are easy to use, don’t leave a big mess, and the smell is invigorating.
These nail polish remover pads are the best thing to take on vacation, on the go, or even to the office. There is no harsh smell, and they are even approved to be taken on airplanes.
A few swipes and you’ll have clean nails that feel soft and moisturized.
Why We Like It: They are travel-friendly, and they work well. Having a few of these in your purse is perfect for emergencies.
You can stock up on nail polish remover wipes without breaking the bank with this big box of wipes. These gentle wipes won’t leave lint sticking on your nails, and will also take off that difficult-to-remove gel manicure that you got at the salon.
These wipes don’t have nail polish remover on them – you have to add your own – but rest assured they’ll wipe your polish off, even the stuff that’s hard to remove.
Why We Like It: These wipes are easier to work with than cotton pads, which can leave residue on the nail.
Is Nail Polish Remover Safe To Use?
Nail polish remover is generally safe when used properly. Acetone can cause skin irritation and dryness, and it’s not ideal to use remover with acetone in an enclosed space.
How To Correctly Use Nail Polish Remover
Nail polish remover will usually come with instructions that tell you how to use the product more efficiently. One thing to keep in mind is you should remove your nail polish in a well-ventilated area, perhaps in a room with an open window.
This is especially important if you are using a remover with acetone. Otherwise, you’ll either use a wipe or soak a cotton pad with remover, and wipe the nail clean to take off the polish.
Does Nail Polish Remover Expire?
Nail polish remover doesn’t typically expire, but it can become less effective over time after it’s been opened. There is usually a symbol on the package that tells you how many months it stays effective for after opening.