The Foil Method: Removing Glitter Nail Polish

I thought everyone knew about the foil method – seriously, when I heard about it about 18 months ago or so I thought it was old news and that I was the last person in the entire world to hear about it. But even now, nearly every time I feature a glitter polish in a nail post, there’s at least one comment saying something along the lines of ‘it looks really nice but I’d never wear it because glitters are so hard to remove!’.

I used to be exactly the same until I discovered this, and since it appears that in fact not everyone knows about it, I hope this may be useful to some of you looking for an effort-free, speedy way to remove glitter nail polish!

You Will Need

:: Nail polish remover (I use pure acetone but you don’t need to)
:: A few cotton wool pads
:: 10 squares of kitchen foil, about 2 inches square or so

A quick note about your choice of remover – I use pure acetone to remove my polish because it’s quicker, but using it for the foil method dries your cuticles out something chronic. However, I have tried it using other nail polish removers that aren’t as heavy on the acetone and I’ve decided I prefer using acetone, because with less concentrated removers you will need to leave the foil on for longer which dries your cuticles out nearly as much as the short amount of time using pure acetone does. That’s just my preference – I hope that makes sense!

Anyway, cut 10 quarters of round cotton wool pads (that’s two and a half pads), and cut 10 pieces of kitchen foil a few sizes bigger than your nails.

Grab one of your cotton pieces and soak it in your acetone/polish remover. Place it on your nail like so:

Then grab one of your foil pieces, and wrap up your finger and the cotton wool. This keeps the remover-soaked pad flush with your nail and allows it to penetrate the layers of polish.

Repeat on your next 4 nails of that hand. Hello, robot fingers!

Now for the waiting game. You won’t need to keep your robot fingers on for any longer than 5 minutes if using pure acetone, but other removers will take longer, more like 10-15 minutes. Actually, I should mention that I haven’t tried this with acetone free remover as I don’t use it, so if you prefer to use acetone free remover I’m not 100% certain how successful it will be or how long it would take!

While I’m waiting, I usually watch a YouTube video or something. Then starting with the nail you wrapped first, press down onto your nail through the foil and whip your robot finger off. Et voila!

All gone! Whip off your other robot fingers and repeat on the other hand. It is possible to do both hands at the same time but when your first hand is already covered in foil it gets a bit difficult to wrap up the other hand properly, and I like to have one hand free to use the laptop while I’m waiting anyway.

And yes, I know my nails are massively stained.. don’t mind that.

Like I mentioned earlier, when you’re finished your cuticles will be a bit dried out. It’s unavoidable – but nothing that’s not easily fixable with a wash of your hands a quick slick of cuticle oil.

Quick troubleshooting note: If you whip off your first robot finger and there’s still a ton of glitter left on your nail, it just means you haven’t left it long enough for that particular remover you’re using. Just do a new piece of cotton and foil, and don’t be tempted to try the other ones for another few minutes.

I hope that was helpful, and enables at least somebody to embrace glitter nail polishes without having to dread the removal process!

23 thoughts on “The Foil Method: Removing Glitter Nail Polish

  1. I’m just too impatient. I scrub and scrub until the glitter has gone. I do use acetone though. Again for the sake of speed.

    Good tutorial because people are always coming new to this topic so there’ll always be an audience for this instruction.

    1. The waiting around might be a bit time consuming, but overall it takes much less time for me than scrubbing. I CAN’T deal with scrubbing – I get through about a million cotton pads and eight billion litres of acetone, and I don’t like the thought of the glitter pieces scratching the nail surface..

  2. I tend to peel any lifting glitter (bad for my nails, I know!) then use the foil method for any stubborn bits! This method definitely makes removing glitter so much easier!

  3. soak your nails in water with denture cleaning tablets, that should help with the yellow stains. Always use a clear basic top coat so color nail polish will not stain your nails. Your nails seem super strong, mine always break from the sides and way down. Would love to know what you use to keep them strong. Thank-you for this foil info, so cool.

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