Nail polish remover

Nail polish remover (Photo by Robert Przybysz on Shutterstock)

Ready to take off your chipped polish? A good nail polish remover should be able to quickly dissolve and lift even stubborn or dark-colored polishes, while also being gentle on the nails and cuticles, minimizing dryness and damage. The best nail polish removers have a pleasant scent that is not overpowering and are formulated with ingredients that prioritize nail health, such as moisturizing agents and nourishing oils, helping to keep the nails strong and resilient even after polish removal.

Some of these products can be harmful to your health, making it even more imperative that you choose high-quality removers to bring into your home. That being said, more than 5,000 tons of toxic chemicals are released from consumer products every year inside homes and workplaces, according to new research. The study reveals that people are exposed to multiple chemicals in everyday products, such as shampoos, body lotions, and mothballs, which can cause cancer or birth defects. The study by researchers from Silent Spring Institute and UC Berkeley found that many products contain toxic volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. Exposure to these chemicals, whether through touch or inhalation as they travel in the air, can lead to various health problems. 

It’s not just the goods we use at home. Workplace products are of particular concern, as workers often use many different types of chemical-containing items throughout the day. For example, nail and hair salon workers use nail polishes and polish removers, artificial nail adhesives, hair straighteners, and other cosmetics. The study found that these types of products combined contain as many as nine different Prop 65 VOCs. With this on your mind, our list is made up of a range of products that are nourishing instead of harmful to you and your environment. 

Before you grab that cotton ball to smudge away those polish remnants, we’ve narrowed down the remover choices for you. StudyFinds compiled a list of the five best nail polish removers from ten expert websites to find the most effective and nail-friendly products. As always, we’d like to see your own recommendations in the comments below! 

Spilled nail polish
Spilled nail polish (Photo by Maria Lupan on Unsplash)

The List: Best Nail Polish Removers, According to Beauty Experts


1. Mineral Fusion Nail Polish Remover 

This acetone-free nail polish remover from Mineral Fusion gets high marks from reviewers. Stylecraze points out, the formula “is gentle on your nails and easily removes even the darkest of shades. It cleans and preps the nail well to prolong the life of your next nail color.” 

Mineral Fusion Nail Polish Remover 
Mineral Fusion Nail Polish Remover

“For regular and shellac polishes, you don’t have to use an acetone-based formula. This fan-favorite nail polish remover is instead formulated with the solvent methyl acetate,” according to Bustle.

It’s available in both three and six-ounce bottle sizes. “This nail polish remover is hypoallergenic, vegan, cruelty-free, and contains no artificial fragrances. Several reviewers rave about how well it works with glitter polish,” notes Reader’s Digest.

2. Olive & June Polish Remover Pot

A mess-free nail polish remover actually does exist! This pot from Olive & June scores big for its ease of use. It “houses a soft foam sponge soaked in the acetone-free solution, so you can insert your finger into the center gap, then wiggle it around a bit, so the sponge gently breaks down and removes any trace of polish,” according to InStyle.

Olive & June Polish Remover Pot
Olive & June Polish Remover Pot (

The New Knew calls it, “the perfect natural nail polish remover. A gentle, non-acetone formula that is mess-free and eco-friendly. No cotton or wipes needed. You just dip in your finger and twist until the color is removed.”

This formula doesn’t dry out your nails as much as its harsher acetone competitors. However, it may be a bit tricky to use on a pedicure. “If you’re trying to take polish off your toes, use the cap sponge,” suggests Reader’s Digest.

3. ella+mila Soy Nail Polish Remover

What’s the magic ingredient in this nail polish remover by ella+mila? It’s soy-based. Don’t Waste Your Money adds, “this non-acetone nail polish remover is enriched with lavender essential oil for a light, pleasant scent. It has Vitamins A, C and E to help moisturize your nails and cuticles. All of the company’s nail products are 100% vegan-friendly and cruelty-free.” 

ella+mila Soy Nail Polish Remover and wipes
ella+mila Soy Nail Polish Remover and wipes

It works well removing natural nail polishes. Plus, it’s gentle on your skin and cuticles. “Even if you haven’t tried a soy-based formula before, it’s a snap. Just swipe a soaked cotton ball across each nail and let the liquid absorb for 20 to 30 seconds before wiping it away, taking every trace of color with it,” notes Allure

“It can be used to take off any nail polish that isn’t gel, and won’t leave your fingers and cuticles dried out and cracking,” points out InStyle. If you don’t like the smell of lavender, there’s a scent-free variety available too!

4. Cutex

This recognizable brand has been in households for generations. There are several budget-friendly Cutex nail polish removers that are reviewer favorites. The New York Post spotlights Cutex’s Non-Acetone Ultra-Care Nail Polish Remover, adding “the affordable remover is just under $4 and made with nourishing coconut oil as well, to moisturize after stripping away the polish.”

Cutex Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover
Cutex Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover

Stylecraze crowns the brand’s acetone-based Strength Shield Nail Polish Remover ‘Best Overall’, noting it’s “enriched with a blend of hydrolyzed silk, vitamin E, and vitamin B5, nourishing the nails and preventing drying. This formula also protects the nail to keep them looking healthy for longer. The lavender fragrance makes it even more irresistible.” 

Don’t Waste Your Money highlights Cutex’s Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover, pointing out, “it can also be a safe way to remove scuffs on car paint, as well as ink from various surfaces.”

5. Pronto 100% Acetone Nail Polish Remover

If your nails have salon enhancements, you’ll need a strong remover to handle polish changes. “Pronto’s acetone nail polish remover is perfect for removing acrylic or gel nails without damaging your natural nail. With this remover, you won’t have to go back and forth to the salon to get your artificial nails removed,” according to 22 Words.

Pronto 100% Acetone Nail Polish Remover
Pronto 100% Acetone Nail Polish Remover

The New York Post adds, the formula is “great for stubborn polish or a gel set removal. It is also a great idea for glitter nails that can be harder to remove.” While Who What Wear passes along this advice— “we recommend taking your time and letting the acetone work its magic. Secondly, give your nails some love with cuticle oil post-removal.”

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.   

About Melissa Kraus

Melissa is a freelance writer, based out of New Jersey. She has over two-decades of writing, editing, and producing experience for Radio, TV, and Digital Media.

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1 Comment

  1. Darcy says:

    Onyx 100% Acetone Remover Is THE best. Quick and clean. Its $3 dollars and some change for a nice big bottle.