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 • Nails  • Nailcare Guides  • 5 Super Quick Ways to Get Nail Glue off Skin

5 Super Quick Ways to Get Nail Glue off Skin

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Main image – Duyviet/Adobe

Press-on nails are great for a temporary manicure or special event. With so many colours, patterns and lengths to choose from, you could literally have a set for every outfit and occasion.

There is one downside though; dealing with the dreaded nail glue.

Nail glue contains cyanoacrylate, the same chemical found in many types of household superglue products, and is designed to dry quickly and hold tightly (as anyone who has accidentally glued their fingers together with nail glue will know).

Removing nail glue from your skin can be a pretty sticky situation (see what we did there), especially if you don’t know how. Essentially, you’re trying to remove something that has a sole purpose of sticking to things!

But removing nail glue from your skin is straightforward with our 5 super quick ways below, all using ingredients easily found in your cupboards.


how to get nail glue off skin

Image – lenaglukhova


What you’ll need

If you’ve managed to get nail glue on your skin, don’t worry, we’ve got you. You can purchase specific glue removers on websites like Amazon, but this isn’t really necessary since acetone is a key ingredient for glue removal.

Instead, we’ve set out a list of ingredients you’ll already have at home.

Here’s what you’ll need to remove nail glue from your skin:

  • A nail polisher remover containing acetone
  • Toothbrush, nail file or nail buffer
  • A bowl or container for soaking
  • Any type of oil, such as olive oil, baby oil, cuticle oil or petroleum jelly
  • Warm, soapy water
  • Cotton wool pads or balls
  • Paper towels for any spills


how to get nail glue off skin

Image – Etsy


5 ways to remove nail glue from your skin

Take a look at our 5 super easy ways to remove nail glue from your skin, backed by hair expert Dawna Jarvis.


1. Using nail polish remover

You will need to use an acetone-based nail varnish remover, as this will dissolve the glue.

Healthline says “Nail glue contains cyanoacrylate, the same chemical found in many types of household super glue products. Despite this, nail glue and household superglue can differ in viscosity.

“Glue for artificial nails can be difficult – even painful – to remove from your skin or nails. To remove most nail glues, you’ll need to use a nail removal product that contains acetone.”

Dip a cotton ball into your nail polish remover and press the ball onto the dried glue, allowing the acetone to sink in. You can apply more if needed. Once the glue starts to dissolve, use a clean toothbrush, nail file or buffer to remove the residue.

Acetone can dry out your skin so be sure to replenish moisture in your hands with a lotion once you have finished.


2. Using oils or petroleum jelly

Apply the petroleum jelly (this is basically Vaseline, by the way!) or oil of your choice liberally to the affected area and rub in a circular motion.

Do this for a few minutes or until you start to see the nail glue coming off. When the petroleum jelly or oil has removed the dried nail glue, wash your hand with warm soapy water to remove any residue and remaining glue.


how to remove nail glue from skin

Image – Alesia Kozik

3. Using soap and water

If you act fast, soap and water may remove nail glue from your skin.

Fill a bowl with warm soapy water and dip the affected area into the mixture, allowing it to soak for a few minutes. Depending on how quickly you reacted to the nail glue coming into contact with your skin, this can take from 10 minutes up to half an hour.

All you need to do is keep an eye on the glue until you notice it dissolving, and then you can gently peel it away from your skin. Follow up with a moisturising hand cream.


4. Using a toothbrush, nail file or nail buffer

You will need a bowl of warm soapy water for this method too – we are starting to think it might be a good idea to have a bowl of this mixture whenever you apply fake nails! Soak the affected area in the mixture until you notice the glue dissolving.

After this, you should be able to gently buff away the dried nail glue if you prefer not to peel it off.


how to remove nail glue

Image – Justyna Grochowska

5. Using hand lotion

Apply the hand lotion to the affected area and massage it in a circular motion into the dried nail glue. Continue doing this until the glue starts to flake away.

After the nail glue has peeled away, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water to remove any leftover glue. When you’ve removed all of the glue, apply extra hand lotion to seal in moisture and nourish your skin.


Top tips for applying your fake nails

As we mentioned earlier, it’s a great idea to make sure you have everything you need before you start to apply your pop-on nails. This will be nail varnish remover, a bowl of warm soapy water, paper towels, cotton wool, a nail file or toothbrush, Vaseline or petroleum jelly and hand lotion.

The warm water can be used to soften your cuticles in preparation for applying pop-on nails.

A nail file will also be super handy if the nails don’t quite fit and to get the desired shape.

NEVER use super glue to apply fake nails. I have seen first-hand how this can really ruin your natural nails, and it makes it painful when you want to take them off.

You will be at serious risk of removing your own natural nails along with the falsies, and the superglue could also contain toxins that aren’t suitable for contact with skin, as Dr Benjamin Gibson – PAHM, PharmD, said: “Superglue also known as acrylate has led to burns in the United Kingdom”.

how to get nail glue off skin

Image – Ron Lach


The Takeaway

Using fake nails is so fun, but just make sure you have everything you need before you start and in case the glue comes into contact with your skin. Getting glue on your skin is easily done and can be hard to remove, however, with our super easy tips you’ll be sorted in no time.







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Senior Beauty Editor

Laura Kemp started her journalism career as a news reporter for one of the largest newspaper groups in Europe before moving into features and editorial writing. Combining her love of hard-hitting journalism with her passion for beauty, she’s now Senior Beauty Editor at Live That Glow. When she’s not writing, researching, or interviewing her favourite experts, you’ll find Laura practicing her downward dog or drifting on her paddleboard.

Expertise: Hair care, nails
Education: University of Salford

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