Acetone Vs Non-Acetone Nail Polish Removers: What’s Better For Your Nails, Let’s Find Out!

Sharon AlphonsoSharon Alphonso  |  Aug 11, 2020
Acetone Vs Non-Acetone Nail Polish Removers: What’s Better For Your Nails, Let’s Find Out!

During my teenage years, my go-to product for removing nail polish was acetone. A bottle of acetone was cheap and easily available in pharmacies. Non-acetone nail polish removers and wipes were introduced much later in the market (and my vanity kit). However, they were expensive and weren’t as effective at removing nail polish as acetone. Or so I thought. While acetone gets the job done quickly, it is a smelly and messy process. So, should you start/continue to use acetone or not? Are there any harmful effects of using acetone on nails? Let’s weigh the pros and cons.

Acetone 101

woman removing nail polish


Acetone is a powerful solvent and is one of the best products to use when removing thick coats of nail polish. While it effortlessly takes off the polish, it’s true that acetone is harsh on the nails and skin. It strips them of their natural oils and dries them out too. Using acetone once or twice to remove nail polish is fine. However, if it becomes an everyday thing then it can dehydrate and damage the nail plate, the cuticles as well as the skin around the nails. Not to forget the annoying white cast it leaves behind making the nails feel weird (read rough).

Non-Acetone Nail Polish Removers

nail polish remover


Non-acetone nail polish removers contain solvents such as isopropyl alcohol, propylene, and ethyl acetate which aren’t as harsh as acetone. The only con is that non-acetone removers take longer to dissolve the nail polish, therefore involving more effort on our part. However, you can rest assured that they won’t dry out your fingertips or leave them feeling rough. On the contrary, they will not only remove the old polish but also moisturise your cuticles and nail plates! In fact, to minimise the drying effect of nail polish removers, some products also contain special moisturising ingredients such as soy, Vitamin E, glycerin, aloe vera, and panthenol.

To know whether a nail polish remover contains acetone or not, check the ingredients list as it’s usually mentioned on the packaging itself.

In a nutshell, acetone is a faster way to remove nail polish but it’s not the safest. It also leaves behind a nasty white cast that’s difficult to get rid of. Non-acetone nail polish removers, on the other hand, cost a few more pennies but are safer and better to use in the long run.

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