Last updated: 16/10/2022

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And we are happy to be your allies when it comes to beauty, personal care and trends. This time, we’re going to talk about a product that is a must-have in a household with people who love to have impeccable nails. Acetone is the queen of neatness and perfection on your hands.

Acetone is the main component of the liquid we use to remove nail polish or varnish from our nails. Its powerful action allows for quick removal for cleaning your nails, maintenance or simply applying a new colour or design.

Throughout this reading we will discuss everything you need to know to choose the best acetone of all, the most frequent doubts that are generated around the subject and the best acetones that the current market has to offer.


  • Acetone is a compound often used in the beauty field, especially in manicure, thanks to its solvent and nail polish removal properties. Sometimes the product is bound to obtain a lighter formula.
  • Acetone can be contained in 2 types of bottles, when it comes to this packaging: those with a dosing cap and those plain. This peculiarity will determine to a large extent the shelf life of the product, the experience of use and the possible accidents that may occur.
  • Although almost all acetones do the same job, it is important to know certain factors that will help you to have a better result. We are talking about the presentation you prefer, the quantity in millilitres, the use you want to give it (home or professional), the frequency with which you will use it, the type of aroma it contains and other extra features.

The Best Acetone: Our Picks

Acetone: Shopping Guide

It’s easy to know that we need an acetone product to clean our nails, but it may not be so easy to choose which of the many available to take home or to work. For this reason, we are going to tell you about all the features and information you need to know about this product.

Acetone is the ideal, economical and quick way to remove nail polish from your nails. (Photo: Robert Przybysz / 123rf)

What is acetone and what are its advantages?

Actually, the name acetone is given to the chemical compound with a characteristic odour that dissolves in water and evaporates easily. However, its properties capable of dissolving other substances have made it the basis of the formula of most nail polish or varnish removers in the world.

This product is a must when it comes to nail care, both for personal and professional use. Here we will tell you a little about the advantages you will find in making it a part of your life.

  • Its concentration is safe for your nails
  • It removes nail polish quickly and easily
  • It is inexpensive
  • It is easy to acquire
  • It has low toxicity
  • Accidental ingestion can cause damage
  • It is flammable
  • It has a strong aroma

Acetone with or without dispenser – what should you look out for?

The most common form of acetone is the one that comes in a bottle. This bottle can either have a simple screw-on lid or a dispenser to apply the acetone to the cotton wool or towel. Here we tell you more about it.

Without dispenser: The contents of this bottle will remain intact as long as it is hermetically sealed. Otherwise, it will start to evaporate gradually. To apply it, you will have to pour it onto the cotton wool, which could cause spillage or cause you to deposit more than you had planned.

Due to evaporation, this product is likely to have a shorter shelf life, especially if left uncovered for an extended period of time. The lid, in this case, can be either screw-on or push-on.

With a dispenser: In this case, the lid includes a dispenser design that allows the acetone contained in the cotton to be released gradually, depending on the pressure you exert. This type of container is preferred by many, especially by professionals, as the product is better used and spills are less likely.

For the same reason, the product is much less exposed to the environment, which avoids rapid evaporation and a better use of the product. The lid can be either screw-on or press-on, and the dosing system will be at the top of the lid.

Without dispenser With dispenser
Application Turn container towards cotton Press dispenser with cotton
Spillage on application Likely Unlikely
Product shelf life Shorter shelf life due to evaporation Longer shelf life
Evaporation While open Unlikely
Type of cap Screw on or snap on Screw on or snap on, with dropper system

What is the difference between acetone and non-acetone nail polish removers?

Although acetone is the queen of nail polish removers, nowadays there are options that allow you to achieve this task without including acetone in the formula. This time we’ll tell you a little about the two and what makes them different.

With acetone: This is the ideal option to achieve a fast and effective result, as you will save product (you will use less) and time (the nail polish comes off faster). It is also the option used to remove gel nails and dark varnish. However, it may not be an option if you suffer from nail polish allergies or have sensitive skin.

Acetone-free: This is a safer option for people with allergies, irritable skin and very brittle nails. In this case, the smell will be milder and you will probably have to use a larger amount of product and rub your nails for much longer to remove it completely. It does not work very well with dark colours.

Buying criteria: factors that allow you to compare and rate the different models of acetone

Don’t rush! Before you rush out to buy the acetone you’ve always used or the one that has caught your eye, it’s important to pay attention to certain factors that will greatly influence your experience of use, health, product performance and more.

  • Presentation
  • Quantity of product
  • Use
  • Frequency of use
  • Scent
  • Extra features


The type of packaging of your product is one of the most important points to determine, as it will define the amount of time you will enjoy the product, the way it is applied and other information that we will mention below, together with the most common types of packaging.

Bottle: This is the most common container for this liquid. You will find it frequently and you just have to make sure that it contains a suitable amount for you and that its lid closes properly, to avoid spills or evaporation. You can find it in plastic or glass, and both options will be perfect for domestic and professional use.

Foils: Foils are often used to remove polish, but also to remove gel nails that need removal or maintenance, thanks to their high concentration of product. Since each box represents one nail, it is not recommended for daily use at home, as too much product will be lost.

Rotating container: This is one of the options that offers the fastest results, as it will work on all 5 nails at the same time. You will have to insert them into its 5 holes with pads filled with product and in seconds you will have your hand clean. It is a good option for home use, especially if you are in a hurry.

Pencil: If you want to remove excess polish from the edges of your nails or correct only a part without removing all the polish, this is the ideal option. These models have a reservoir in which you can refill the acetone. Just run the tip over the area to be corrected and that’s it! It is suitable for both personal and professional use.

Acetone containers with a dispenser will allow you to avoid spills and will make the product last much longer. (Photo: photosampler / 123rf)

Amount of product

Depending on the type of use you want to make of your acetone, you can choose between smaller or larger amounts of liquid. This will allow you to make efficient use of your product, save money and avoid wastage or discomfort due to undersizing.

From 50 to 200 millilitres: Those with small amounts can range from 50 to 200 millilitres, and are ideal for home and personal use, as you will be able to enjoy it for a long time. You can also store and transport it easily. Make sure they always have a secure closure to prevent evaporation of the product.

From 200 millilitres to 1 litre: If you are a professional manicurist or simply prefer to have the product stored for a long time, you can use larger models, which can even contain up to 1 litre.

This option is ideal for daily use, although it is recommended to pour smaller quantities into smaller bottles for convenience.


We know that acetone is ideal for removing nail polish from your nails, but it is also used to remove gel or acrylic nail systems, if you have them. Here we explain the difference in use between the two.

Nail polish removal: In these cases, you only need a little bit of fresh product to make the nail polish start to disappear. You can use acetone with a low concentration, i.e. mixed with other elements to achieve a lighter formula. This way you can apply it weekly without any problems and the result will be faster.

Removing gel nails: When it comes to acrylic or gel nails, the procedure is different, as you will need pure acetone or in a higher degree of concentration to achieve the detachment of the material. You will have to wrap your fingers for 15 to 25 minutes, until it starts to peel off. It is not recommended to do this more than once a month.

Acetone containers of more than 200 millilitres are ideal for aesthetics and manicure professionals, as it is a product of constant use. (Photo: Elnur Amikishiyev / 123rf)

Frequency of use

Not everyone will use acetone the same amount of times, so it is important to limit the number of times a week you will use the product, depending on whether or not you are a professional manicurist.

Homemade: If you want to use acetone at home, it is best to buy it in a small container that you can store without any problems. The 100 or 200 millilitre options are ideal for keeping at home. The jar and swirl options are a good choice for occasional use, maybe once or twice a week.

Professional: A larger quantity option is preferable, such as 500 millilitres or up to 1 litre. This way smaller bottles can be refilled for convenience, as the product would be used several times a day. Those in pencil form will also be an option, to give a unique finish.


The scent of the acetone you choose may be indifferent to some people, but for others it is one of the most important points to address. If we divide it into types, we can find products with a strong aroma, and others with a delicate aroma. Learn more about them:

Strong scent: In general, products with acetone usually have a strong differentiating scent. They are recommended if you do not suffer from allergies or irritability to the smell, if you use them in open environments and if you do not have children or animals nearby that could inhale them. They are usually cheaper and easier to find.

Delicate scent: In some cases, products with acetone are mixed with odour neutralisers or perfumes to soften or reduce the characteristic scent of nail polish remover. You can use them if you are sensitive to this smell, if you use it indoors or if you suffer from any allergies that could worsen it.

Did you know that the thinning property of acetone allows you to remove traces of glue stuck on your fingers, especially when it comes to the well-known Super Glue?

Extra features

There are certain aspects or peculiarities of acetone that can make its use much more beneficial and pleasant, both for you and for your clients (in case you are a professional manicurist). We will tell you about the most frequent ones.

Moisturising: Given that one of the disadvantages of acetone is that it dries out our skin when used continuously, there are nail polish removers that include moisturising active ingredients that will keep our hands, nails and fingers hydrated. If you work with this product, it is an excellent option for constant exposure.

Strengthening: Just as there are strong nails, there are others that are weak and brittle. In this case, you can use a product that includes properties to strengthen them. This way, every time you apply it, you will be helping your nails to grow healthy and strong. You can accompany it with a nail polish that also includes this property.

Safety: We know that acetone is the main component of nail polish remover, but it is important to make sure that the model you choose is manufactured by a recognised laboratory, to avoid using a product with a higher concentration than indicated. Choose only certified products.

(Featured image photo: Alexsey Kurguzov / 123rf)