Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My Favorite Things Part I: Remover

I decided to document my favorite nail related products and tools to share my views on what works and doesn't work for me.  I plan on covering implements, moisturizing products, topcoats and more.  The first installment is going to be about nail polish removers.

I'm somewhat of a purist when it comes to removers.  There are lots of different kinds and I do make use of many of them but my absolute favorite remover is regular 100% pure acetone.  It's super effective and it works really quick.

The bottle on the left is from Sally Beauty Supply, the bottle in the middle is from Harmon Discount Beauty and the tub is from Wal-Mart.  Both the green bottle and the tub list their ingredients as "Acetone, Denatonium Benzoate" while the Sally bottle is simply "Acetone".  From what I've read, denatonium benzoate is an inactive ingredient used to discourage ingesting the product.  I'm not going to pretend I know anymore than that on the topic!

I use the green Harmon bottle and refill it with the Sally's acetone because the Harmon bottle doesn't have a childproof cap, so it is just easier to remove.  Sally's acetone is available in larger quantities and therefore cheaper in "bulk" which is why I purchase it over smaller bottles of the Harmon brand acetone.  They're the same from what I can tell.

What isn't the same, however, is the Onyx remover.  Regardless if the ingredients are listed as the same, the Onyx remover has some sort of moisturizing agent in it or something.  If I soak a cotton round in regular pure acetone, and swipe it on my skin, my skin turns white from drying out.  If I do the same with the Onyx acetone, my skin is actually MORE moisturized than before using it.  The tub has little plastic scrubbies on the inside, so you have to stick your whole finger in to use it as directed.  The Onyx doesn't dry out my skin yet it works pretty well.

Additionally, and I'd love some feedback from anyone who has experienced the same thing, upon refilling the tub with the Sally acetone, the sides started to break apart (the inside, not the actual container).  I don't know if i was too aggressive with it, or what but the pink liner on the inside has broken and cracked in multiple places.  That leads me to believe that the actual pure acetone I've refilled it with has weakened the plastic inside; just a theory though.

I also keep some regular nail polish remover (also with acetone) around.  I'll be honest, I use this more for removing glue from price tag stickers more than its intended purpose. It's good to have in case pure acetone is too strong for someone you're doing a manicure for,  non-acetone remover is good for spills on surfaces with finicky finishes.

I've heard this from multiple sources and I think it's worth mentioning.  Despite the harshness of pure acetone, it's actually better to use than regular diluted remover.  Because it's so powerful, it spends less time in contact with your skin and nails.  With acetone you do a few quick swipes, with a weak remover you're holding it onto your fingers waiting for it to work.

If you skin is angry at you for using too much acetone, I suggest creating some homemade Zoya Remove +.  It's basically pure acetone mixed with some glycerin, a recipe can be found HERE.  It's much more gentle but I don't use it much because it feels filmy on my hands. I mainly use this when swatching multiple times in a day so I don't kill my hands.

Note:  My dad, the chemical engineer, absolutely hates that I have so much acetone in the house.  IT IS HIGHLY FLAMMABLE. The fumes are also highly flammable.  He swears I'm going to blow up the house.  Be cautious when using pure acetone; do not use around open flames, candles or smoke around it.

Part II to follow!


  1. Great post! I am currently using acetone-free remover from sally's. I loved the pure-acetone and it removed the polish so quickly but I think my skin was way too sensitive. My skin ended up drying out so bad I had to stop using it. The skin around my nails and eventually all on my palm started peeling. So terrible. :( lol It was a nail blogger's NIGHTMARE. lol now that i'm using nonacetone my skin seems to love me a little but more. I'm jealous you are able to use pure acetone so often without super drying out your hands!

  2. I'm with you. Pure acetone is the way to go! I also buy the gigantor bottles at Sallys (definitely the cheapest). And your dad is right...it's highly flammable but I'm willing to risk it. I keep forgetting to pick up some glycerine. *sigh* Good post! The only reason I have non-acetone remover is for when I'm using my stamping plates.

  3. @nailpolishrehab - it does dry my hands, but i use stuff to fix that, youll see in the next post!

    @megan - thanks! :) the glycerin + is great for the tubs! no dried out fingers

  4. Oh Acetone ... one of my favorite chemicals! I buy it by the gallon from nail supply stores for <$15, yea! Thanks for the linkaroo! :D

  5. Oh my goodness, this is some hardcore nail varnish remover knowledge!!!

    Lots learnt thank you

    The Best Beauty Buys xx

  6. of course loodie :) thats where i got it from!

    youre welcome elizabeth!

    thanks all for the feedback!