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Acetone 101

Updated: Nov 27, 2019

Difference between Acetone and Non-Acetone Nail Polish Removers

If you’re like me, you know how important well-manicured nails are. Upkeep can be high maintenance; especially, if you like to change colors often. It’s not the most exciting part of my beauty routine, but someone has to do it.

Let’s take a look at the difference between Acetone and Non-Acetone nail polish removers:


Because Acetone is a strong liquid solvent, it can easily dissolve nail polish, paint and pigment. It can be dehydrating and hard on both your nails and your cuticles. BUT it gets the job done! While it can quickly and effectively remove nail polish from the nails, cuticles, and surrounding skin, many think it’s very damaging on the nails and skin (is it?). Especially for those with brittle nails and dry and sensitive skin.


- Fast and efficient (does not require much rubbing)

- Removes:

- All types of nail polish

- Glitter nail polish

- Gel nail polish

- Acrylic nails

- Nail glue


- Drying to nails, cuticles and skin

- Can cause split at the free edge

- Removes natural oils and moisture

- Can cause white spots on the nails

- Ruin/melt artificial plastic nails

(i.e. nails tips, full nails and press-on fashion nails)

- Weakens extensions and can cause them to separate from natural nail


Non-Acetone nail polish remover does not work as well as Acetone and requires a LOT more effort in removing nail polish; especially, highly pigmented polishes.


- Gentler than acetone

- Removes light nail polish colors

- Perfect for those with dry, sensitive, brittle nails


- Time consuming

- Will NOT remove:

- Gel nail polish

- Acrylic

- Artificial nails

- VERY difficult removing:

- Glitter nail polish (good luck trying ;))

- Highly pigments and dark color nail polish colors

I prefer to use Acetone. Why? It’s quick, easy and gets the job done! Is it safer than Non-Acetone? Nope - - it’s a myth. Since Acetone evaporates faster, it’s less drying than Non-Acetone. Non-Acetone does not evaporate fast - - it lingers and you’ll spend a lot more time rubbing nail polish off your nails. The key ingredient in Non-Acetone is ethyl acetate. Both Acetone and ethyl acetate are highly flammable. At the end of the day, both are safe when used sparingly.

If you have all the time in the world, lol then go with Non-Acetone. It eventually removes nail polish. If not, go with the big gun, Acetone. Whichever you prefer to use, be sure to re-moisturize your skin and nails after a manicure and then twice a day with cuticle oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, coconut oil or your choice of oil. There are so many wonderful oils out there. Visit my Amazon store to see some of my favorites.

TIP: To prevent dry skin, apply oil before removing nail polish. You’d be surprised how well it works!

If you have health concerns about the chemicals used in both Acetone and Non-Acetone nail polish removers, consider switching to a nail polish remover that’s organic or does not contain toxic ingredients. I’ve added some high reviewed organic nail polish removers in my Amazon store.

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