beauty

How to remove SNS nails at home safely. Because stress-picking them off never ends well.

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Anyone who’s ever had an SNS nails manicure will deeply resonate with what I’m about to describe:

The moment when, after three, maybe even four weeks, you find yourself a bit stressed or bored and can’t possibly survive a second longer without getting the bloody things off your nails. Immediately.

As soon as the sides of the nails start to lift around the edges, it’s hard to resist taking it further until you’re left with 10 scratchy, uneven, traumatised nails. And 10 gross-looking fake nails in a pile on the coffee table.

To re-wind a bit, SNS nails (a.k.a Signature Nail Systems) is a type of salon manicure that involves dipping your nails into powdered colour before sealing them off with a shiny top coat. The result is a hard, chip-proof (and bite-proof) set of nails that look brilliant and last between two to four weeks.

 

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The downside to SNS nails, like any professional manicure including gel/shellac and acrylic nails, is they grow out and eventually need to be either removed or re-filled (topped up from the bottom to hide the natural nail growing out).

That’s great, but what if you can’t get to a salon? What if you’re, say, in self-isolation?

The temptation is to pick and pull and bite and force the nails off, which I can tell you from experience is satisfying but very painful. It’s also very damaging to your natural nails because you’re actually lifting layers of your natural nail off with the SNS.

If you’re at this point, take a breath and try this DIY trick instead. It’s called the ‘Baggy Method’, and as SNS Nail Technician Lilli Vo told Mamamia, it trumps causing your poor natural nails major damage any day.

“If SNS is not removed properly, it could lead to damaged nails. Yanking, scraping or picking off the thin layer of SNS from your nails causes trauma to the nail, and if you use a sharp instrument to do it, you may cause possible bleeding,” she said.

So, keep scrolling for a step-by-step guide on exactly how to remove SNS nails at home.

Before we get started – in an ideal world, it’s always best to have SNS nails removed by a professional. At the time of publishing, Australia is not in lockdown but social distancing and self-isolation measures are in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Many salons and technicians are keeping up-to-date with Government guidelines and best practices, but this means it’s up to you to decide whether to postpone or cancel any non-essential appointments like getting your nails done. Please your best judgement to keep public safety top of mind.

How to remove SNS nails at home.

Watch exactly how to remove SNS nails at home using the Baggy Method in this video, post continues after video.

Video via SNS Nails
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As you can see in the video tutorial above, here’s the quick rundown on how to remove SNS nails at home.

  1. File off the topcoat layer.
  2. Cut the length down.
  3. Put cotton wool and acetone into a large zip-lock bag.
  4. Place hand into the zip-lock bag, then place your bagged hand into warm water and keep it there for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Make sure your fingers are completely covered by the acetone-soaked cotton wool, and wriggle your fingers around to aid the SNS removal process.
  6. Once the SNS has dissolved, repeat on the other side and wash hands when done.
  7. File and buff nails.

Let’s break it down.

I asked Vo to share a bit more information on exactly how each step works so you can be confident shoving your hand into a bag of acetone.

What you need to remove SNS nails at home:

  • Coarse nail file.
  • Buffing nail block or file.
  • Large nail clippers.
  • Cotton wool.
  • Acetone – a non-toxic solvent used to break down nail polish and remove it from the nail plate surface. You can find out more about acetone in our explainer here.
  • Large zip-lock bag.
  • Large bowl of warm water.

Learn about different types of manicures and how they affect your natural nails in this episode of the You Beauty podcast below, post continues after audio.

Step 1: File off the topcoat layer.

“All SNS applications are usually finished off with a special topcoat that keeps your nail looking shiny and new for weeks. The SNS top coat also acts as a protective barrier against damages to your nails from daily routines,” Vo explained.

“As a result, we want to file off this layer of the protective topcoat before soaking, so the acetone can penetrate through to the product underneath for quicker removal. If we don’t file off the topcoat before soaking, the removal process may take longer.”

In the tutorial video, a drill file is used to remove the top layer. At home, you can use a coarse nail file.

Step 2: Cut off the length.

This one is fairly straightforward. Shorter nails = less product to remove = quicker process.

You’ll need to use larger nail clippers over small ones as SNS nails are thicker than regular gel/shellac manicures. Cut off where you think your natural nail ends, and pro tip: use your clippers to cut each side diagonally (you’ll end up with a triangle tip), then cut off the tip. Cutting in a few stages rather than straight across will be easier and less painful.

Step 3: Put cotton wool and acetone into a large zip-lock bag.

In-salon, technicians generally soak cotton wool in acetone and cover each finger tip in squares of foil. You can do this at home, however Vo said this Baggy Method is the easiest way to complete the process one-handed and prevent acetone spillage.

Here’s what it would look like if you used the foil method instead.

 

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SNS removal, glides off with the correct technique! ❌NO DRILL ❌NO NAIL DAMAGE Happy healthy nails ????????

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For the Baggy Method, pop a decent amount of cotton wool into a zip-lock bag and drench it with acetone.

Step 4: Place hand into the zip-lock bag, then place your bagged hand into warm water and keep it there for 10-15 minutes.

If you’re wondering why you have to put your hand, that’s in a zip-lock bag, into a bowl of warm water, it’s because the heat acts as an accelerator for the acetone to remove the SNS product from the nails faster. I’d suggest sitting on the couch with the bowl on your lap while watching TV to pass the time.

Step 5: Make sure your fingers are completely covered by the acetone-soaked cotton wool, and wriggle your fingers around to aid the SNS removal process.

“Wriggling helps to get the SNS to separate from your natural nail faster. You can also use your other hand to massage the cotton around your fingers towards the end to remove any stubborn bits. Once the SNS product is dissolved and you can see your natural nails, the removal process is complete,” Vo said.

Step 6: Repeat on the other side and wash hands when done.

This step is self-explanatory – rinse your hands when you’re done and towel dry as acetone can stain clothing.

Step 7: File and buff nails.

Finally, use a coarse nail file to gently file the top of your natural nails to create the shape that you want (you can learn about different nail shapes here) and soften any sharp edges, and across the nail to smooth any ridges. Then, take your buffing block or file and go over the entire nail for a smooth, shiny finish.

And that, folks, is how you remove SNS nails at home without damaging your natural nails. Godspeed!

Feature image: Supplied/@theamyclark.

Have you tried removing SNS nails from home before? tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Want more helpful content on nails? You can read more here:

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