As blissful as it can be to get a manicure, removing the polish doesn’t tend to rate high on anyone’s list of favorite activities, particularly if your nails are naturally prone to splitting, breaking, or brittleness. Even if you aren’t dealing with anything as elaborate as a gel manicure or as stubborn as a few layers of glitter, the process of scrubbing away on week-old polish — and inhaling acetone every step of the way, of course — can fill beauty lovers with dread over potential damage.
After all, they know that even once every stroke of the brush has been patiently scrubbed away, that’s when the task of rehabbing those moisture-starved nails and cuticles begins. It’s enough to inspire daydreams about nail polish removers gentle enough for dry, brittle nails. And lucky for you, we’re here to make all those dreams come true. From traditional liquids, to creams (!), to wipes, and even some Best of Beauty winners, these are the best nail polish removers with moisturizing formulas on the market to soothe and even strengthen your nails, so you can continue to treat yourself to manicures guilt-free.
Consider the Olive & June Nail Polish Remover Pot the easiest way to remove your polish. Just dip your finger into the acetone-free Best of Beauty winner and pull out a spotless nail. Plus, the cap also has a built-in sponge for erasing enamel on toes, so you don’t have to try to dip your toes in the pot.
Londontown’s Strengthening Lacquer Remover is an acetone-free formula that contains moisturizing rapeseed oil and strengthening garlic extract, so nails never feel weak or stripped after removing the polish.
Ella + Mila’s Soy Polish Remover relies on an infusion of lavender oil for an extra boost of nourishment. 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.
You know how they say “don’t mess with the best?” Well, they’re talking about Cutex’s tried-and-true Nourishing Nail Polish Remover, a salon-quality product from a drugstore brand that’s dominated the industry for over a century. This formula relies on flaxseed and perilla seed oils to strengthen keratin, as well as skin-softening apricot seed oil to keep fingers in tip-top shape, and earned our coveted Best of Beauty Award in 2018.
Instead of being satisfied with pioneering a non-drying formula and leaving it at that, the Remove+ Nail Polish Remover from Zoya takes things not one but two steps further. The multitasking product is a polish remover, nail prepper, and nail conditioner all in one, so you can set yourself up for your next manicure even as you’re removing your old one. (Oh yeah, and it won the Best of Beauty Award three years straight.)