11 best nail polish removers that will keep your nails in tip-top condition

Then, we discovered this nail polish remover hack, which will be music to your ears if even your top-rated varnishes are chipping after a day. Turns out the secret to a long-lasting manicure is not just using a base coat, top coat and glass nail file to prevent breakage.

It’s in the nail polish remover you use to banish your previous manicure, too. Yep: our Beauty Editor Lottie Winter found Essie’s Good As Gone nail polish remover to enable her subsequent manicure to last a whole five (!) extra days without chipping, compared to when she used a cheap nail varnish remover from her local supermarket. Impressive, right?
Guilty of picking up the cheapest nail polish remover you can find on the shelves of your local Superdrug, with little consideration for its list of ingredients or impact on your nails? We certainly were, up until recently. Sure, we’d invest heavily in the nail polish itself – opting for highly pigmented, durable and chip-free formulas by the likes of Essie and Nails Inc. But when it came to the stuff we’d remove it with? Cost was our only criteria.

And it’s not just chip-banishing benefits that investing in one of the best nail polish removers can have. Today’s new-wave of top-rated varnish removers contain good-for-nail ingredients that’ll nourish your nail bed and cuticles as you go. Think: aloe and almond oils for an injection of hydration, or collagen to encourage growth. Case in point: the nails inc.

Express Nail Polish Remover Pot that’s powered by collagen to help leave nails and cuticles feeling stronger and supple. It’s also very effective – you simply emerge your finger in the product-soaked sponge, then lift it back out to reveal a clean and colourless nail. So. Fun.

What’s more, the best nail polish removers *don’t* smell so intense that your eyes begin to burn, and they work within seconds. No scrubbing away for hours – even if you’re a glitter fan.

How to remove nail polish

The secret to removing nail polish well is to be slow and gentle. Go in all heavy-handed and you’ll only smudge your colour over your skin, leaving stains. Instead, soak your cotton pad in your chosen formula (you can pick up a pack of 50 round cotton pads here), then press on top of your nail without wiping. This will dissolve the nail polish and make it easier to remove. After a few seconds, wipe once, away from your nail. Don’t rub back and forth as this will, once again, smudge the colour.

If you’re left with pesky stripes of nail polish along your cuticles, pick up a nail polish remover pen like this one by OPI. You’ll be able to tidy up the edge and leave things feeling nourished.

If you’ve been using an at-home gel nail kit of late and you’re on the hunt for the best nail polish remover for gel nails, you’ll want to check out our guide to how to remove gel nails. The process is a little different to that of removing bog-standard polish, but – spoiler – you will need an acetone nail polish remover like Mylee’s Gel Remover. Scroll for our full review.

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