“Glitter can be a real pain to remove, and you MUST NOT pick it off, no matter how fun it is to cover the subway in flecks of gold,” says Nonie Creme, manicurist extraordinaire and founder of butter LONDON. “When you pick, you remove little chunks of nail as well, causing damage that has to grow off.”
One thing all manicurists agree on? For best results, be sure to use an acetone-based polish remover, like Cutex Quick & Gentle Nail Polish Remover ($2.49 at drugstore.com). Soak a cotton pad or cotton round in remover and then place over your entire nail, firmly pressing down for about a minute. “Let them soften up a little bit with the pad on top of them,” says celebrity manicurist Beth Fricke. “I think that’s really the only way.”
After pressing the cotton round against your nail, use a fresh remover-soaked pad to whisk away remaining polish. Celebrity manicurist April Foreman recommends swiping the cotton in a downward motion, away from the cuticle. “This ensures that you don’t press glitter into cuticles and surrounding skin, which makes cleanup that much more work!” she says.
And if that glitter is just so stubborn, no amount of rubbing and acetone-based remover seems to make it go away? “Follow up using a facial exfoliating pad for a second pass over nails,” Foreman recommends. “This grabs any remains of glitter, leaving your nails completely bare and ready for the next color.”
Manicurist Susan Nam, who owns Polished Beauty Bar on NYC’s Upper West Side, says you can also pour an entire bottle of acetone-based remover into a glass bowl and then soak your nails for about 2-3 minutes. “The polish should come off completely,” she says. If you let the remover sit in the bowl for awhile, you’ll notice all the glitter sinking to the bottom — at which point Nam says you can actually pour the remover back into the bottle “until the next time you need to take off that really stubborn color!” Just use a coffee filter when pouring to ensure none of the glitter gets back into the bottle.
If you plan on repainting your nails right after removing the glitter, Creme recommends doing so immediately following the remover. But if you’re taking a break from polish — “Heaven forbid!” Creme says; she advises washing your hands thoroughly and rubbing a capful of olive oil into your nails.
Seen above: Deborah Lippmann Boom Boom Pow, $20 at deborahlippmann.com