How To Remove Broken Acrylic Nails Without Pain?

Accidents happen all the time. That’s why it’s always a good idea to know the ways to remove broken acrylic nails in case of emergency. Read on!

Don’t assume too soon that your acrylic nails are worth whatever problem that might come later. The moment those extensions harden, they practically become one with your actual nails.

If breakage is about to happen, your natural nail may be pulled off as a result of the injury. There are several ways your nail might be injured, but the damage is painful and bloody.

This must have you wondering, how to remove broken acrylic nails without pain and keep the situation under control? 

Most importantly, is there any way to recognize the main reasons for them falling off and avoid them in the first place?

Stay tuned! We’ll reveal the steps for the nail removal soon, then include some simple tricks for the healing to kick in faster in non-serious cases as added bonuses.  

5 Steps To Remove Broken Acrylic Nails Without Pain

Note for safety:

What we’re about to recommend could do little for situations that have taken a turn for the worse.

If your nails are in excessive bleeding, half of the real nail torned or the nail bed seems to take a real blow, they truly need proper medical attention. Please pay your doctor a visit before it’s too late.

What To Prepare?

There is a lot to get ready for the removal.
There is a lot to get ready for the removal.
  • Soap & water or disinfectant: To disinfect the affected areas
  • Nail clipper: To get rid of the acrylics’ length
  • File and/or nail buffer: To thin out the acrylic coating
  • Cotton ball
  • Nail polish remover
  • Hand moisturizer: For post-removal care

Steps To Follow

Step1: Disinfection

Bacteria love the gap between the acrylics and your nail plates. 

Unless you’re looking forward to an infection, the first thing to do before picking up any tools is to run your hands through water and soap. Only proceed with the next steps after properly drying them.

Note: Skip the soap if you detect open wounds on the nails.

Step 2: Secure The Nails (When The Damages Are Visible)

This step is optional. However, we do advise you to spend a few minutes on it if your artificial nails are broken in a way that hinders any repair attempt.

A horizontal crack that almost turns one into two separate pieces flimsily held together at the edge and won’t stay in place for you to file it all down would serve as a fitting example.

When this happens to be what you’re facing, a touch of nail glue or some spare acrylic will do. There is no more than a 10-second wait until the adhesive hardens up, and the upcoming steps will be more convenient as you no longer have to bother about keeping the cracks together. 

Step 3: Remove The Broken Nails 

Here are two quick ways to free your damaged nails from acrylics despite their tough nature: by a clipper and by a coarse nail file. 

With a clipper

  • Move the clipper around the edge of the broken acrylic and start trimming the part that extends over the length of your natural nail. Don’t rush it. 
  • Snip off one bit at a time. The wound can be close by, and a rough yank of the clipper could end up tearing it wider.
  • Keep on pressing down on the level and shortening your fake nail. The cue to stop is when the acrylic doesn’t stick out too much to be a concern, or the position of the crack makes it impossible to go down any lower.

With A Coarse Nail File

You might find yourself dealing with thick acrylic, which your average clipper hardly lays a dent on. That’s where the nail file comes in. 

  • Grinding it against the surface of your fake nail to remove as much excess as possible, and try using the clipper once more. You will see a huge difference. 
  • If you are lucky to have an acrylic nail lifted at the right degree, simply file at the place where the lifting begins, and it might fall straight off
  • Make sure to scuff the nail surface a little. You’ll be working with nail polish remover containing acetone in the next step, and the scratch does a wonderful job channeling it through your nail.

Step 4: Use Acetone On What Refuses To Come Off

Acetone can be a lifesaver when dealing with acrylic.
Acetone can be a lifesaver when dealing with acrylic.

The two steps above should be more than enough to reveal your broken nails under the acrylic. If you still feel some residue upon contact, there’s no other choice but to resolve to acetone – the ultimate fix for all things manicure-related. 

The method we’ll let you in on is something you might have already seen at the nail salon – the tin foil wrap. Refer to the following steps to see how it’s done

  • Dip the cotton ball you previously prepared into acetone. 
  • Place it directly onto the nail you want to treat and cover it all up in a considerable piece of tin foil. It should be big enough to go around your fingers and fold over all the sides to create an enclosed space for the acetone-soaked cotton to take the best effects.
  • Wait for the acrylic to dissolve, asking you to spare about half an hour before unwrapping the foil. By checking the consistency, you can tell if the nails are in the right condition to be scraped away with the nail file. Viscous and gummy means you’re good to go.

But when it still feels like regular acrylic to you, don’t grow impatient. You are likely to choose the wrong amount of acetone so it fails to chew through the tough enhancement. To remedy:

  • Put some more acetone on the same cotton ball you have used earlier
  • Place it back on the nail, rewrap it and continue waiting. Five minutes should be more than enough.
  • As you buff off the acrylic residue, push the file in one single direction, from the cuticle towards the tip of your natural nails. The remains of your fake nails might come off with less difficulty that way. 

And remember to be gentle. The last thing you want would be to further rough up your damaged nails. 

Note for usage: 

Acetone remover is known for its drying nature. Before making any attempt to use it on any acrylic leftover, treat it to a proper bath of cuticle oil, or it might dehydrate your nails and cause more problems than solve.

If you have dry nails and dread the brittle surface likely to result from the acetone, hot water is an alternative. Fill some in a bowl, dip the affected area in, and keep it there until the acrylic softens (which will take at least 40 minutes).

It also makes a more suitable option for those who see red through the crack – the sign of a wound deeper than it should be. You don’t plan to intensify the pain; you never let it come near acetone.

Step 5: Moisturize

A quick application of hand moisturizer and cuticle oil might reverse all of that just fine.

You might mean no harm to your precious natural nails, but the acrylic removal process might stress them out a great deal. 

The impact left by the tools, plus the chemicals your hand has to repeatedly go through to get the broken acrylic away are undoubtedly not healthy for the nails, no matter how you look at it.


Why Do Your Acrylic Nails Keep Breaking?

Your acrylic nails could break due to more reasons than you think.
Your acrylic nails could break due to more reasons than you think.

Before learning how to salvage your throbbing nails, some basic understanding of what brings about those cracks might help prevent them in the future.

The Acrylic Nails Overstay Their Welcome

Having acrylics rarely interferes with your natural nail’s growth, even though you can’t exactly pick up the sign of new length. 

Suppose you fail to schedule a refill in time monthly, gaps between the real nails and the acrylics will start expanding around the cuticle area, enlarging bit by bit until the acrylics begin lifting by themselves. 

By that, you are exposing your nail self to infection-causing bacteria aside, which means unknowingly applying more pressure onto them. Consequently, cracks are inevitable.

No In-Between Break

Going without a break might weaken your nails.
Going without a break might weaken your nails.

3-6 months is considered as the break-time-rule to give your nail time as safe against over-manicuring. 

As you might know that for the acrylics to fit onto the nail plates, one of the prepping steps is to file the nail surfaces, creating an even base for application. 

Excessive use of this technique over an extended duration thins out the keratin your nails are made of, costing them the integrity to handle the additional weight of your enhancements as they are now weakened. 

That’s not even the worst that might happen. A compromise on the typical break-in period eventually causes premature snaps in both your real and artificial nails unless.


When you drag the lengthy acrylic tips on a surface about just as tough, the force might be too much for them. Keeping doing so without noticing that your nails are taking on a beating will soon result in them cracking.  

In some extreme cases, the extensions even rip entirely off your nails and cause injuries that take ages to heal.

How to Take Care of Nails After Acrylics

Take In A Series Of Nutrients

Swapping your daily menu with one full of nail-nourishing ingredients builds strength in your real nails – a prerequisite to support your manicure.

Vitamin A, vitamin B, or calcium tops the list, and their sources are none but the greens (leafy veggies, carrots, potatoes), eggs, and dairy food your fridge are chock full of. If you can’t get off your work to start cooking, using supplements also do the trick.

Oil Treatment

Your nails love a bath in oil. It tends to the weakness in their texture and promotes even growth for their entirety. Our favorite are extra olive and sesame oil – pure extracts, containing zero chemical components to promote optimal fingernail care. 

  • With extra olive: Dip your nails in a full bowl each evening. Gently massage them for the goodness to press in.
  • With sesame oil: A weekly routine allows this remedy to show its full potential. One minor inconvenience is that you need to heat it for 45 seconds before soaking your nails in. 

Don’t Rough Them Up

Your artificial nails might look nothing short of resilient, but that is not to say that you can expect them to last against pretty much anything. They aren’t your actual nails, and they don’t have the keratin to back them up, meaning there is little to no flexibility in them. 

If you fail to understand this and trust them to perform functions, like opening cans, prying off tapes, working with hard objects, you’re in for a world of disappointment. 

The pressure inflicted on the acrylics will weaken them, cracking them from one layer to another unnoticed. One day, they simply give in to the daily beating and rip off your own nails.

Disinfect Regularly

Stop the spread of bacteria with one quick disinfection.
Stop the spread of bacteria with one quick disinfection.

A common mistake of those doing their nails (acrylic and all) is that they never remember the disinfection stage. As the fake nails cling to the surface of your actual nails, the bacteria that you fail to wash off before the application is trapped with nowhere to go. 

In the worst scenario, they might choose to thrive in their new home and invade the nail bed, marking the beginning of nasty fingernail fungus. That might do serious harm to the integrity of your nail, leaving it full of chips and cracks.

Take Care Of Your Skin Condition

If you are trying to cope with hard and dead skin issues, it’s best to temporarily forget about acrylic nails and focus on remedying them first. These seemingly unimportant pieces waiting to be picked off may damage your nails least expectedly as they cause friction, lifting the acrylics right at the base. 

One way to minimize this worrisome possibility is to invest in specific hand care products and a long list of moisturizers.

Wear Waterproof Gloves To Keep Nails Dry During Chores

The hard-and-fast rule of maintaining acrylic nails is to avoid as much contact with water as possible. You should know that it weakens them to the point of loosening. And the next reason is that moisture, when creeps between the enhancements and the real nails, will lead to infection soon.

This measure might work out in theory. However, there is no way to keep away from water in reality – tons of everyday chores involve it, not to mention the daily showering factor. 

Your only solution is to have a pair of quality waterproof gloves at home and make drying out your hands properly a priority after each shower.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Would It Take For Your Ripped Nails To Grow Back?

Your nails might be back to normal sooner than you expect.
Your nails might be back to normal sooner than you expect.

It’s hard to give accurate speculation for the matter, as the answer depends on both the condition of your broken nails and where the crack forms. 

What we do know is that it might fall anywhere between 2-6 months, the average time frame for your nail bed and any broken part to regenerate fully .

One thing to be glad about is that nails grow back pretty fast. Changes in the formerly affected areas will show themselves after a couple of weeks. 

Generally, nail injuries on the nail bed take longer to heal, and the original length might be back after a month or two. A break near the edge doesn’t need that much time with its less serious nature. You can expect the length of your nail to return in half a month.

What Happens If You Don’t Clean The Blood Off Your Nails?

We personally don’t think a nail breakage dripping with blood should be dealt with by non-professionals.

That said, if you don’t see the blood gushing out in a stream and the nail damage doesn’t raise the alarm, you may proceed with the steps above after getting rid of the blood.

This incident is not something to be taken lightly. Leaving the blood under the nails creates the ideal environment for the subungual hematoma to develop. The pain can be much worse by that point. And the chance of your nail falling off eventually is rather high.

Why Shouldn’t You Pull The Acrylic Nails Off?

Another reason aside from the intense pain it brings to your actual nails? Experts have provided evidence that an incorrect removal process of acrylics damages the keratin layers of your own nails.

With their building block and support gone, the nails will be even more prone to breakage.

What Do You Do When Your Acrylic Nail Breaks And Bleeds?

The right answer would be to examine the state of the damage and decide how to proceed with the treatment. If the blood doesn’t spill out in a stream, or only gathers in small blots outside the cracks, the nails might be salvageable. Follow these brief steps to heal them quickly:

  • Remove the potential hindrances on your hands (jewelries, watches, etc.)
  • Clean the wounds with warm water and dry it with a towel
  • Proceed to remove the acrylics
  • Bandage the affected area and wait for it to recover

This method isn’t applicable on extensive damages, with the signs being a numbing pain, or too much blood loss that it leaks through the gauges. You should consider getting an immediate medical checkup for a suitable treatment.

What Happens If You Rip Off An Acrylic Nail?

The impact of one sudden peel of an acrylic nail is severe on your own nail beds, and this is an understatement.

Forcing the enhancements to come off often rips away the keratin layers of your natural hairs, given that they are practically one at the moment.

It’s the opposite of minimizing damages, which ends up subjecting your nails to more pain and bleeding. Nursing them back to health might take age thereafter.


Now you know the steps needed to remove broken acrylic nails without pain!

They are effective and easy enough for one without experience to learn. Even better, they require no more than the tools you already have at home to get the job done safely and sound.

Then again,

prevention is better than cure.

We don’t suppose you’re eagerly looking forward to signs of infection and crack to test your skills. It’s quite a painful process you’re better off without.

So, why don’t you make good use of the nail care tips we have provided from now on to save you the trouble?


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