SNS (Signature Nail System) nails are one of the nail enhancement products that are not only durable, work with most types of nails, and relatively easy to remove. Many different brands use the same process which is commonly called dip nails.

Acetone is a preferred choice of solution to take of SNS dip nails. The process involves removing the top sealer and the dip nails are either soaked, wrapped so they directly come in contact with acetone for 15 to 20 minutes and these dip-powdered nails will dissolve and can be subsequently removed rather easily.

SNS or dip nails are relatively simple to apply but they could last up to 3 weeks on the natural nails due to a special, strong adhesive base coat solution that prevents them from chipping or peeling. When it is time to remove these dip nails, even though the process is rather simple, you should follow a proper procedure so your natural nails will not be damaged.

Similar to other new nail enhancement products, the hard, shiny topcoat should be removed by filing to exposed the main dip-powder layers below so acetone will go to work on them right away or you will have to spend more time waiting for this acetone to dissolve this durable topcoat if you do not manually remove it.

Below are the different techniques that I use to remove dip powder nails.

How to remove dip nails

Before dip nail removal:

There are things you should do before you can take off dip nails.

How to remove dip nails with tips:

If you have nail tips added to your natural nails, you can cut off this length with a nail clipper. If you prefer to keep your own nails, make sure you do not accidentally cut them by looking under your nails and you will know where to clip them.

Usually, you will have some kind of color nail polish on top of these dip nails.

If you do not have any color polish on dip nails:

All you need to do is either manually file off the dip nail top coat sealer. The more you file off this topcoat, the faster dip nails will dissolve.

If you have regular nail polish on dip nails:

You should remove this regular nail polish before removing your dip nails or this regular nail polish will dissolve in the soaking acetone and might stain the skin of your fingers, especially if the polish is dark like red, black, or blue.

Now you can file off the dip nail top coat sealer.

If you have gel polish on dip nails:

You should try to remove gel polish first before taking off your dip nails. Gel polish is a very durable polish that will keep acetone from the dip nails and will add more time in removing your SNS nails.

Start first by file off or thin out the gel polish topcoat with a coarse file, 100 or 120 grit nail file will work best on this tough gel top coat. Do this on all ten nails.

Soak or wrap gel polish with acetone for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove as much softened gel polish as you can by peeling or filing to expose the dip powder.

How to remove dip nails using acetone:

There are many methods to make acetone come in contact with the dip powder.

How to soak off dip nails in acetone:

This is the fastest way to remove SNS nails. The dip powder comes in contact directly with the acetone and it should take about 10 minutes for the dip powder to dissolve.

  • Putting acetone in a plastic bowl so it will fit both hands comfortably.
  • Pour acetone in just enough so all ten nails will be submerged.
  • Soak all nails for about 10 minutes. You can speed up the soaking time by putting this acetone bowl in another larger bowl that contains some hot water. The heat will help to dissolve the dip powder much faster.
  • Check the nails. The dip powder should be softened and can be wiped off the nails using a piece of paper towel.

How to take off dip nails using finger cots:

This is my favorite way to remove dip nails or gel polish at home. You can use your hands and move around while acetone is working on your dip powder instead of sitting at a table waiting for it to dissolve. Click hereOpens in a new tab. for detail on how to use finger cots to take your dip nails off.

How to get dip nails off using nail clips:

If you have these nail clips available, you can use them to get your dip nails off. The procedure is simple, however, you can not use your hands or fingers to do other tasks for 15 to twenty minutes.

How to take off dip nails using aluminum foil:

You can use foil to wrap your dip nails in acetone. Again, aluminum-foil wrapped fingers will limit your fingers from doing other tasks.

How to remove dip powder nails without acetone

The dip powder’s adhesive bond to the natural nail surface is a very strong chemical bond. Therefore, it should only be taken off with acetone.

However, if you must take off your dip powder nails without acetone, here is how you can do it without damaging your nails.

  • Shorten your nails with a nail clipper.
  • Using a fine-to-medium grit nail file, shape all nails to your liking.
  • Smooth out the free edges with a nail buffer so they will not snag.
  • Your nails should be shorter and easier for you to work with and you can either soak them whenever you have acetone or go to a nail salon to have them removed.

How to take off dip nails at home

The best way to remove dip nails at home is using finger cots. If you do not have finger cots at home, you can use a pair of thin gloves.

  1. First, put on these gloves and use a pair of scissors to make an incision on the gloves at the base of each finger. Proceed to make a complete cut to separate the finger cot from its base. Start rolling back each one to create a finger cot.
  2. Do this for all fingers. Now you have created 10 finger cots.
  3. Put a piece of acetone-soaked cotton at the top of a fingernail and start unrolling a finger cot onto your finger.
  4. Do this for all nails.
  5. Wait 10 minutes.
  6. In the meantime, you can place your fingernails on top of a damp-warm towel. The heat will help soften the SNS or dip powder faster.
  7. After you rub on each fingernail and see that the dip powder comes off of your nails, you can roll back the finger cot.
  8. Clean your nails with a piece of fresh acetone-soaked cotton and you are done.

How to remove dip powder nails at home without acetone

If you do not have acetone at home, I strongly suggest you wait until you have acetone and do it. You might have to wait a day or two until you can get some acetone but it will be worth it since you will not damage your natural nails trying to peel the dip powder off.

In the mean time, follow the instructions on “How to remove dip powder nails without acetone” and you will feel better after your dip powder nails are more manageable.


All the different methods mentioned here are supposed to take of dip powder or SNS nails easily without damaging your natural nails. Your nails hurt either before or after you have dip powder come from the unnecessary filing or over buffing. This will make your nails thin and they will cause soreness or pain later.

Whether you have your dip nails done at a nail salon or do it yourself at home, make sure you do not use let this excessive filing or buffing done to your nails and you will enjoy your dip nails without any pain.

If a nail technician starts to use her electric nail file on your nails, politely but firmly let her know right away that you prefer no drill on your nails because it will make your nails hurt after dip powderOpens in a new tab. later on. This way she will not use it and she will not be offended by you telling her what to do.

Happy dipping.

Image by Marion Müller from Pixabay

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