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Off-Topic Review: Acetone-Free Nail Polish Removers

Heeeey, all. So I might start a separate nail polish/art related blog eventually, but since the people who asked me for this review are people who follow me as Piper anyway, I’m going to post this here for now. If you’re not interested in nail polish/art, then of course, feel free to skip this post.

If you follow me on social media, you might have seen that I’ve been really into nail art for about the last two months. It’s become rather therapeutic for me, but along the way I’d noticed the strong fumes and intensely drying effects of pure acetone and acetone-based removers. I’d already started seeking more natural alternatives, but then, at the beginning of this month, I had a 4-5 day stretch of constant headaches, nausea, and dizziness. While we don’t know if it was related to acetone fumes — some of my symptoms persist even now, after avoiding acetone for a week — my doctor agreed that trying to use it sparingly in future would be for the best. So, I guess it was a good thing I’d already been seeking acetone-free polish removers and had some on order, eh?

If you’re interested in which is the best I’ve used so far, read on. They all do the job, but some definitely work faster and more effectively than others. I’ll list them from slowest to fastest.

Note: All of these polish removers were tested on a nail design with multiple layers and a dark red polish as a base, which stains and can be difficult to remove. I figured I might as well really put them to the test. 😛

Pure Vitality Beauty: 100% Natural Nail Polish Remover

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Price: $12.87 for 4oz on Amazon

Pros

-No fumes

-Plant based

-Safe for you and the environment (biodegradable, non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, non-flammable)

-Light odor (similar to olive oil)

-Moisturizing for nails and cuticles

Cons

-Very slow

-Very oily

-Messy

-Can’t be used for clean up during polishing (Oils on nails can cause polish “shrinkage” and chipping/flaking and lessen the time your manicure will last)

Summary: This will remove your nail polish, but it’s going to take some elbow grease. It comes with a dropper, which you can use to drop the product onto your nails. They suggest doing that and waiting 5 minutes before attempting to remove the polish with a cotton ball or pad. Even after doing so, it took a lot of rubbing – and a lot of cotton pads – to get rid of the nail polish. That being said, I love that it moisturizes while removing polish and I love that the scent is nearly nonexistent.

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Chrome Girl: Coconut & Island Rum Scented Nail Lacquer Remover Pads

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Price: $15 for 60 pads at Chrome Girl Nails

Pros

-Decent scent, though stronger than I expected

-Acetone and paraben free

-Contains cuticle moisturizer and nail strengthener

-Cruelty free

Cons

-Slow

-Not very cost effective (It typically took 1 pad per nail, though sometimes I could do 2 nails with one. The more stubborn polishes might take a couple pads each finger.)

-Difficult to use for clean up during polishing

Summary: These pads remove polish more easily than the plant-based remover listed above; however, if you do a lot of nail art, you’ll be lucky if they last for 6 or 7 manicures. They’re handy to have around, but they’ll never be my go-to remover.

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ella + mila Soy Polish Remover

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Price: $20 for 4oz at HB Beauty Bar

Pros

-Mild lavender scent

-No acetone or harsh acetates

-Moisturizing

-Removes polish fairly quickly

-Cruelty free

-Vegan

Cons

-Oily (Though less so than the Pure Vitality remover)

-Price for quantity

Summary: This was the most expensive non-acetone remover I purchased, and the bottle you get is tiny. Since you’re supposed to soak a cotton ball/pad thoroughly to remove polish, I can’t see it lasting very long if you’re a nail art junkie. That being said, it removed more effectively than either of the previous two removers I listed, which means less time/effort/cotton balls. I haven’t tried to use it for clean up while doing nail art, and because of its oiliness, I’m not sure I will. If I do test it, I’ll update this post with how it went.

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Nailtiques Non-Acetone Remover

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Price: $8 for 6 oz on Amazon

Pros

-Fast

-Effective

-Oil free

-Acetone free

-Contains aloe vera and conditioners

-Strong enough to be used with a brush for clean up (on the cuticle and skin surrounding nails) after polishing

Cons

-Intense chemical scent

-Contains ethyl acetate, which is used as an industrial solvent. It’s relatively non-toxic, but can cause ear/nose/throat irritation as well as nausea/vomiting/unconsciousness at high levels and other health issues with frequent, prolonged exposure. Carcinogenic properties are unknown.

Summary: It’s about as close to an acetone remover as you can get. It’s strong and a lot more effective at removing polish than the others listed in this post; however, the manufacturer’s definition of “lightly scented” drastically differs from mine. The scent is powerful and lingers for a while after using, but if you have a really difficult to remove polish and want to avoid acetone, this is probably your best bet. I’ll likely use this as sparingly as regular acetone.

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And that’s it! There’s no denying acetone is the workhorse of nail polish removers and best for clean up during nail art and removing gel polish. I won’t stop using it entirely, but I’ll probably only use it during more complicated designs with more potential for errors – and to tackle really stubborn glitter polishes.

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