Best Nail Polish Remover [Review] in 2021
written by nail expert Jess Rowley
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Have you been struggling to find an effective nail varnish remover that won’t stink out the whole room or damage your nails in the process?
Well let me tell you, you’re not alone.
I’ve looked into everything you need to know about the best nail polish remover looking at 23 of the top-rated nail polish remover that won’t leave those pesky chips in the corner behind.
With so many to consider, from acetone-based, acetone-free, wipes to conditioning formulas it can be a task to know what to look for especially as some can actually be damaging to your nails.
To make things easier I’ve done all the research, listing a range of different nail varnish removers and if you scroll down I have listed what’s the difference between each, which one is best for a certain gel or polish, or even acrylics.
Here’s something that could help you: if you love always having color on your nails but switching it up frequently I would recommend investing in conditioning or natural nail polish remover so you don’t strip or damage your nail.
As a side note, if you want something that won’t be harsh on your nails you must check out my first pick
We’ve spent the time so you don’t have to:
The Best Nail Polish Removers On The Market
ZOYA Remove Plus 3 in 1 Formula
best acetone free nail polish remover
ZOYA steals the number one spot for their award-winning highly effective 3 in 1 formula that you’re gonna love. Not only does it remove your previous nail polish it also preps and conditions your nail ready for your next color.
Cleaning and prepping the nails while nourishing, moisturizing, and fortifying the nail bed for extended polish wear all while being left without a trace of your last color. You’ll have the moisture and nutrients restored every time.
This formula is super gentle on nails due to it not having acetone in its ingredients. Acetone is great for harsher polish and gel but can be harsh on nails, but this doesn’t affect ZOYAS performance in any way.
But wait let me tell you something.
If you hate the smell that fills the whole room when you open a bottle of nail polish remover then you’ll love this one, it has a lavender smell in a no-spill dispenser that will leave nails looking flawless.
Get ready for the base coat with this powerful machine, highly rated by buyers and other reviewers you can’t go wrong.
- Nourishing, moisturizing, and fortifying for the nail
- Gentle 3 in 1 formula
- Preps the nail for a streak-free base coat
- Pricier than drugstore nail polish remover
Latest deal: ZOYA Remove Plus 3 in 1
Sally Hansen Nail Polish Strengthening Remover
best drugstore nail polish remover
If you’re looking for an effective but affordable option, Sally Hansen’s polish remover is a gem for the price point. This is an acetone-based formula that is said to strengthen your nails!
All you’ll need is cotton balls or any absorbent material to apply this product to your nails, and quickly even the more stubborn of varnish will vanish. The acetone will wipe away anything left behind.
But wait there’s more.
With it packed with glycerin, vitamins, and proteins that will nourish nails, it’s a simple but effective option that won’t destroy your nails you can’t beat it. It will remove polish quickly but gently strengthen weak, thin nails.
For the price, this item is a complete steal and a must-have on your list if you’re looking to not break your bank.
- Acetone based
- Strengthening ingredients
- Quick and easy removal
- Drug store prices
- Acetone has a strong smell
Latest deal: Sally Hansen Nail Polish Remover
LONDONTOWN kur Strengthening Lacquer Remover
best nail polish remover for weak nails
Are you sick of having to use harsh chemicals in order to remove your favorite nail polish looks? You and me both girl. You may be thrilled to find LondonTowns gentle and strengthening and up for the job without the harsh chemicals.
With is an acetone-free formula that will remove even the toughest of polish without stripping the nails of moisture.
This is my new favorite formula and it gets extra points for being completely vegan, it’s super-powerful despite being acetone-free.
Here’s the kicker.
It’s like an eraser, no smudging, no basing your color over the color that was left behind previously, you only need a smidge and it’ll wipe away no problem. The days of scrubbing your fingers and stripping them bare are over.
It will definitely last you a long way even if you love doing your nails as often as I do. With the acetone-free, vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and paraben-free formula you can’t beat the performance on this bad boy.
- Free of acetone and other harsh chemicals
- Vegan and cruelty-free
- No need to scrub nails to get color off
- Moisturising and strengthening
- Strong odor
Latest deal: LONDONTOWN kur Lacquer Remover
Karma Organic Nail Polish Remover
best natural nail polish remover
If you’re looking for a natural formula that’ll still get the job done with no problem then this is the top nail polish remover for natural nails.
With the fresh smell of lavender, mint, geranium, and rosemary that will smell like heaven when removing your polish. It is also non-toxic and organic which’s not only good for you but also the environment.
This is perfect for if you have allergies or sensitive skin, it’s safe for children and even safe for if you’re pregnant. This may be the answer to your prayers. The proprietary formulas ensure safety for the body.
It will remove nail polish without the harsh chemicals and foul odor and will nourish your nails and nail beds as well as effectively removing the polish.
Based on unscented oil, derived from American farm crops and packaged in a 100% recycled glass bottle, you can’t go wrong really.
- Acetone and alcohol-free
- Natural and non-toxic
- Suitable for sensitive skin or if you’re pregnant
- Fresh smell you’ll love
- Doesn’t remove gel or acrylics
Latest deal: Karma Organic Nail Polish Remover
Ella+Mila Soy Nail Polish Remover
Some nail polish removers can be so harsh on your nails, it sometimes takes a layer of your nail with it. But you won’t need to worry about that with Ella + Mila’s formula.
Packed with vitamins E, C and A that will help with nail growth while giving a lavender essential oil smell that you’ll love. It’s ready to tackle all-natural nails giving you that healthy and moisturized finish.
It’s super easy and simple.
All you need to do is apply to a cotton pad and wipe your nails allowing the remover to absorb in each nail and then boom, your nail is both color-free and restored.
All polishes are 100% vegan, never tested on innocent animals, certified by PETA, while also being made in the USA. Polish with love and not have to worry about the damage with this polish remover.
I was gripped on this polish the first day I laid eyes on it and you will too.
- Packed with vitamin E, C and A
- 100% vegan and cruelty-free
- Nourishing and repairing
- Soy-based and acetone-free
- Not suitable for gel nails
Latest deal: Ella+Mila Soy Nail Polish Remover
OPI Nail Polish and Nail Lacquer Remover
If you’re looking for superior performance without the drying effect of harsh removers then OPI is up for the job. It will wick away even the darkest of shades, leaving the cuticles soft and smooth instead of parched and dry.
It can even tackle gel nail polish.
It is super easy, all you need to do is apply to the polished nail or soak the gel nail then boom it removes like magic. It contains grapeseed oil and aloe vera which is brilliant for moisturizing nails.
All you need is a couple of drops of this baby of this bad boy to remove every last inch, even the darkest of colors, impressive right?
If you would much rather use acetone formulas but looking for ones that are gentle you’ll love this one.
- Gentle acetone remover
- Grapeseed oil and aloe vera
- Can tackle even the toughest of nail varnish
- None so far
Latest deal: OPI Nail Polish and Nail Lacquer Remover
Cutex Ultra-Powerful Nail Polish Remover
best nail polish remover for glitter
Leave your slow-acting nail polish remover at home and pick up this gem instead. Not only does this polish remover get rid of even the toughest of nail polish in one fast sweep.
With a spa formula that contains 98% acetone for fast and easy at-home manicures and pedicure removal, it will even remove UV gel, long-wear, glitter, and dark colors giving you top quality results.
But there’s more…
It is infused with a special blend of ingredients and apricot seed oil to nourish your nails. It also gives a cucumber fragrance that creates a light and fresh scent instead of a toxic one.
If you’re looking for a top acetone nail polish remover this is the one. For under 5 bucks you can’t go wrong.
- 98% acetone for the toughest of varnish
- Infused with apricot seed oil to nourish nails
- Super affordable
- Fast acting
- May still need an electric nail file
Latest deal: Cutex Ultra-Powerful Nail Polish Remover
Pronto Nail Polish Acetone Remover
best nail polish remover for acrylic nails
If you’re an acrylic lover then this is my top pick for you, for a quick, effective, and moisturizing fix to your nails. I know the feeling your nails underneath the acrylics need some serious TLC.
Pronto will improve the health and appearance of your nails even after nail stripping acrylics.
It has cocoa butter and keratin to nourish and soften the cuticle and revitalize the nail underneath. This with help promote healthy growth of the nail underneath and have a protective barrier to hold in moisture.
Whether you’re looking for a nail polish remover that can tackle acrylics, dark-colored polishes, glitter or permanent gel Pronto is up for the job, strengthening the nail underneath.
We all hate having weak nails after acrylics it’s always the worst feeling.
Now let me tell you it’s super easy to use, all you need to do is soak a cotton pad with remover and press firmly against the nail plate and slowly move it towards the tip.
This is a must-have if you’re an acrylic lover, it’ll prevent the weak prevent snapping underneath and overall enriching for the nail- plus its completely cruelty-free.
- Super strong against acrylics
- Infused with keratin and cocoa butter
- Strengthening nails
- Super quick and easy formula
- Nothing so far
Latest deal: Pronto Nail Polish Acetone Remover
Diamond Wipes Nail Polish Remover Pads
If you’re looking for a super convenient nail polish remover on the go then this is the one, with individually packed pads that are ready for action wherever you are. You won’t believe how convenient these are.
Diamond Wipes can conveniently fit in your bag so if you’re looking for a quick fix in the car, on the plane, at home wherever you need.
With nourishing ingredients including aloe vera which will condition the nails. No mess no problem, no need to worry about a smelly bottle spilling that’ll ruin everyone’s day.
In case you might be asking yourself.
Yes, one pad can be used for all 10 nails, with a formula that will go a long way to reduce the waste of multiple pads. If you’re on the way to an important interview and see a chip this is perfect for you.
This is perfect for convenience right when you need it, just stuff a couple in your bag you’ll never know when you may need it.
- Individually wrapped for convenience
- 1 pad can take off 10 nails
- Super quick and easy
- Infused with aloe vera
- May need more than one pad depending on what type of nail you have on- more waste
Latest deal: Diamond Wipes
Rippling Kindness Nail Polish Remover
This Pure Vitality Beauty nail polish remover is one of the safest options you can find, being free of all petroleum chemicals, acetate, ethyl lactate, and even acetone.
It will both remover your nail polish but also moisturize your nails making them stronger, take a chance on this environmentally-friendly product that’s 100% biodegradable and eco-friendly.
It will give a high performance without drying out your nails and all ingredients are non-hazardous, non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, and pregnancy safe.
To top it all off it is is completely eco-friendly and biodegrades quickly and easily without polluting the air, it is also cruelty-free so you can’t go wrong with this product.
I swear by it.
- Eco and environmentally friendly
- Free from all harsh chemicals
- Won’t dry out your nails
- Safe even while pregnant
- Slightly pricey
Latest deal: Rippling Kindness Nail Polish Remover
Best Nail Polish Remover Buyers Guide
Now I know what you’re thinking removing nail polish isn’t the most beautiful or fun job of the beauty routine but it is the most important.
Not only does the quality of your nail polish remover have an impact on the appearance of your nail if you get the wrong one you can actually damage the nail. It is essential to find a formula that will work for you.
If your nail is weak, sensitive, or brittle I would recommend going for acetone-free options on my list, unless you’re looking to take on gel or acrylic.
If you do go for an acetone option consider ones that are restoring and gentle, with nourishing ingredients so the prolonged exposure doesn’t damage your nails.
But not to worry, I’ve gathered all the best nail polish removers that won’t be as damaging to your nails as the cheap one you see at the store that leaves you with stripped and stained nails- trust me we’ve all been there.
I used to dread taking off my nails until I did some research and found quality removers that 1) won’t take ages to work and 2) strip the nail to the point you wished you never went with those acrylics.
But let’s get into what to look for and check before clicking buy, so you can sit back and relax knowing you’ve made the right purchase.
Tips and things to check
Ensure you’re in a well-ventilated room because acetone is highly flammable, also to ensure you don’t inhale the fumes as they can be damaging to your health.
If you’re constantly using harsh chemicals on your hands it can actually make your hands sensitive so choose a gentle non-acetone for everyday natural nails and only use acetone when necessary if you’re a manicure junkie like me.
Once you’ve removed the nail polish be sure to rinse your hands and don’t repaint for another hour so the water has a chance to be absorbed.
Once you’ve finished making sure you moisturize your skin and nails with a nourishing nail and cuticle oil.
Things to check before buying your nail polish remover
Ingredients- Ingredients like acetone may be effective for taking off gel and acrylic but if you’re using it for everyday nails I wouldn’t recommend it. Prolonged exposure to acetone and chemicals like this can actually strip the nail and be more damaging than good. Not to mention the fumes you’ll be inhaling- it can cause headaches, dizziness, confusion, and even nausea. Lucky for you I have listed many acetone-free options that are not only safer for you but also the environment.
When it comes to the health of your nails if you need acetone to tackle a tough and stubborn acrylic I would look for nourishing ingredients like keratin and vitamins that will restore and strengthen your nails.
Cruelty-free or Vegan: Many nail polish remover manufacturers have decided nowadays to create products in ways that aren’t harmful to animals. If you’re looking for a top-quality but guilt-free finish then I would suggest going cruelty-free. With a wide range of brands to choose from that are cruelty-free there’s no reason to support brands that use animal testing!
Frequently asked Questions
What is the best nail polish remover? Personally, I feel that the best nail polish remover has to be my number one pick on this list, Zoya’s 3 in 1 formula. Not only does this formula nourish the nails it also preps them for the base coat of your next color. It is also acetone free meaning it won’t damage your nails.
How do you remove acrylic nails with nail polish remover?
- Clip the acrylic nails as short as possible.
- Poke the edges with the pointy end of the tweezers.
- Pour your chosen nail polish remover into a bowl
- Soak the nails in the nail polish remover for 30-40 minutes.
- Once you feel that the acrylic has loosened, tug it with the tweezers gently.
Can nail polish remover harm you? If the nail polish remover you are using has harmful chemicals in the ingredients like acetone then prolonged use can be bad for your nails and if you inhale the fumes.
Does acetone remove regular nail polish? Yes but I wouldn’t recommend it on natural nails, I would only use it on tougher nail polish like gel or acrylic.
In this guide today we have gone through my top ten picks of nail polish remover that will get off even the toughest of nail polish.
I have selected the very top nail polish removers on the market, whether you’re looking for acetone or natural I will assure you that these polish removers will do minimal damage to your nails underneath.
Your hands tackle more than you know, it is essential to take proper care of them and your nails by using high-quality removers.
This is the wrap of the top nail polish removers you can rely on whether on the go or at home.
For convenience, my favorite has to be Diamond wipes, as if you’re constantly on the go like me and need a quick fix these do the job flawlessly.
My favorite natural formula has to go to Karma, as they look after both your nails and body with their toxic-free formula that even pregnant ladies can use!
But in general, nothing can beat ZOYA’s 3 in 1 formula for both its effective removal and prep for the next challenging color.
Pick from any of my selections you and your nails definitely be well looked after with these polish removers.
Nail Technician Expert
Jess Rowley, a veteran nail tech, has been studying beauty over the last 11 years and has completed the nail technology program in California. Watching the latest trends in beauty, Jess searches for the highest quality products that make your nails feel loved.