How to Remove Glitter Nail Polish When it Feels Like You're Stuck With it For Life

Two experts weigh in.

In our humble opinion, glitter nail polish should be worn any day of the year. Yes, it's impossible not to feel festive when you've transformed your fingers into minature disco balls, but unlike your one neighbor that leaves their Christmas lights up until March, sparkly nail polish doesn't feel out of place once the holidays are over.

While glitter polish is easy to apply (the shimmery flecks cover up any streaks!), it can be a pain to remove. Even going over your nail a few times with a nail polish remover doesn't always get all of the sparkles off.

Scraping glitter off with a cuticle pusher in a last-ditch effort works, but it can also damage your nail.

Instead of relinquishing our favorite glitter nail polishes, we turned to Julie Kandalec, a New York City-based nail artist, and Brittany Boyce, a Los Angeles-based nail artist and founder of Nails of LA, to find out why glitter polish is so hard to remove, how to correctly take it off, and why it's important to take your time with removal.

"The reason glitter is so hard to remove is because it's made of non-porous materials, like glass, mylar, or aluminum," says Kandalec. "Because it's suspended in a polish base, it adheres to the nail as it dries, making it difficult for acetone to penetrate it."

That said, it is possible to safely remove glitter nail polish at home. Boyce recommends tearing up a cotton ball into 10 small pieces, soaking the cotton pieces with acetone or nail polish remover, placing the cotton piece on top of each nail for two-three minutes, and then gently push down to wipe the glitter polish off.

"If you want to make sure the cotton pieces stays in place, you can wrap it in a foil," she suggests. For the best results, she recommends using the ORLY Genius Remover as it's formulated to remove gel polish, so it's heavy-duty, and has a ton of moisturizing ingredients that minimize the drying effects.

Glitter Nails
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Taking the time to properly remove glitter polish is crucial to maintain your strong, healthy nails. "If you pick off glitter, [you] will damage your nail as you'll pick off top layers of the nail bed," explains Boyce. "Otherwise, if you just rub really hard to remove the glitter, you can irritate the cuticles and sides of your nails. Since nail polish remover is drying, you want to avoid rubbing it all over your fingers to scuff up any cuticles."

For people like us who love glitter nail polish but want to save the extra hassle that comes with taking it off, Boyce has some advice: There are peel-off, temporary base coats that you can use to make the removal process easier. "These are best for just short term use, like one or two nights, as it's meant to be temporary," she adds. Regardless, you need to use a base coat to act as a buffer between your nail and the polish to prevent the glitter from scratching your nails and causing damage.

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