How To Remove SNS Nails With Toothpaste

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We are living in the age of DIY YouTube videos and TikTok hacks, so for whatever you need to have done, you can almost certainly find a do-it-yourself method online. SNS nail removal is no exception.

All you have to do is Google “How to remove SNS nails with toothpaste”, and you will find loads of videos and blogs that give you how-to instructions. But does it actually work?

Using toothpaste to remove SNS nails works about as well as all of the non-acetone home removal methods out there, including vinegar, nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and vinegar.

That’s to say, you’ll eventually get your SNS nails off, but not without damaging your natural nails.

In this article, we are going to take a look at SNS nails, what they are, how they are applied, why you should not attempt to remove SNS nails using toothpaste or any of the other non-acetone DIY SNS nail removal ‘hack’.

But not to worry – you can still remove SNS nails at home! And we will show you how to do it properly and safely, without ruining your nails.


What Are SNS Nails?

Dip powder manicures are often called ‘SNS nails’. SNS stands for Signature Nail Systems, and is actually a name brand of dip powder, like people calling tissue, Kleenex or adhesive bandages, Band-Aids.

Instead of using a traditional “painting on” application of regular nail polish, color and designs are applied to your nails with powder and glue, which together create a long-lasting bond on your nails. See this article for more information.

Just as the name suggests, you literally dip your fingernails into a pot of colored powder, which is then secured with a bonding liquid. 

Well, that’s how it started out anyway.

After a while, people came to realize that dipping your finger into a pot that a bunch of other people dipped their fingers into was unsanitary and spreading nail fungus and other infections.

The SNS nail powder should be applied using a brush, rather than dipping the nail!

How To Remove SNS Nails With Toothpaste

We just wanted to note that of all the DIY methods of removing SNS nails, when there’s a list of “ways to remove SNS nails at home”, you’ll find that the toothpaste method is always at the bottom of the list, if it even makes the list.

Kind of like, well try the other ones first and this is the last resort, kind of thing.

So that should give you an inkling that it’s not a very good idea.

We do not endorse, nor recommend this method of how to remove SNS nails with toothpaste if you want to keep your natural nails healthy.

But this method involves:

  • Mix toothpaste and baking soda together to form a paste
  • Apply the toothpaste/baking soda mixture on top of your nails
  • Let sit for 15-20 minutes
  • Use a nail file to remove

The toothpaste & baking soda mixture simply softens the SNS nails, but you will still have to file and scrape it away. This is what will damage your natural nails.

We do not endorse, nor recommend this method of how to remove SNS nails with toothpaste if you want to keep your natural nails healthy.

Will Rubbing Alcohol Remove Dip Nails?

Rubbing alcohol is often touted as one of the most popular acetone-free ways to remove SNS nails. We strongly recommend you DO NOT use rubbing alcohol to try to remove dip powder nails.

Here’s why:

Like using the toothpaste & baking soda method, rubbing alcohol will only soften the SNS nails enough to allow you to scrape and file them off.

That’s SO bad for your nails!

In addition, rubbing alcohol will only soften one layer of your manicure at a time, so you will have to repeat soaking your nails in the rubbing alcohol as many times as you have layers.

So depending on the color (s) you choose or desired effect of your dip powder nails, you may have ‘dipped’ 2 or three times, followed by resin for each dip.

That’s a lot of layers!

It will take so much longer, which in turn means your nails are exposed to the drying alcohol for a much longer period of time than they would be to acetone.

Rubbing alcohol is not only extremely drying and irritating to the skin, but may be cytotoxic. Extended exposure to alcohol fumes can also make you sick.

Can I Remove SNS Nails With Vinegar?

Vinegar is also hailed as one of the most popular acetone-free methods of removing dip powder nails using the same removal technique as using acetone (we will get to that in a bit).

Vinegar has lots of benefits for your nails, including being anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, but it does not have the chemical makeup to remove dip powder nails. 

Despite its circulation online, vinegar simply will not work. 

Vinegar is only mildly acidic with a low pH of about 2 -3, which is not acidic enough to dissolve anything quickly. What it will do is soften both your nails and your manicure. And you will still have to file and scrape it off, damaging your nails in the process.

What Should You Use To Remove SNS Nails At Home?

You should use acetone to remove SNS nails at home.

Why Is Acetone The Salon Industry Standard Remover?

We all know that anything that’s also used as a paint stripper can’t possibly be good for you, right? So why is acetone the professional’s go-to for removal in the first place?

Acetone is the most effective method to remove gel, acrylic, shellac and dip powder (SNS) nails.

It’s as simple as that.

It is the best at getting the job done the fastest, and this is why:

Acetone molecules have a stronger pull on the nail polish polymers, causing them to break down at a rapid rate. It’s the chemical reaction that occurs that reverts the hardened polish to its liquid form, making it easy to wipe away and fully remove.

There’s a reason it’s used in every nail salon, even though there are countless searches for alternates.

How Do You Remove Dip Powder Nails With Acetone?

Removing SNS nails with acetone is a relatively easy process you can do at home. Follow the steps below to ensure you are removing your dip powder nails properly, without damaging your nails.

What You’ll need:

  • nail file
  • pure acetone
  • cotton balls 
  • Tin foil wrap or a small bowl
  • Towel
  • Cuticle pusher or an orangewood stick

Step #1: Buff down the top coat

With a fine-grit nail file, buff down the shiny topcoat until it’s no longer shiny. Your nails should have an almost white powdery appearance. This step is important in order to allow the acetone to dissolve the dip powder under the topcoat.

Step #2: Prep cuticles

Before soaking, apply a very thin layer of petroleum jelly to each cuticle (not the nail!). This will help protect the surrounding skin from drying out from the acetone.

Step #3: Soak nails in acetone

There are two ways to do an acetone soak:

A.  Let nails sit in a bowl of acetone, or…

B.  Soak one cotton ball in acetone for each nail. Place on the nail and wrap in tin foil. The tin foil will prevent the acetone from evaporating and keep the cotton balls from falling off.

Let sit for 10-20 minutes. If you got fancy with designs and there are lots of layers, you may need to soak for closer to 20 minutes.

Pro Tip: Acetone is also used in paint strippers, so choose your work surface accordingly (i.e. not over your wooden family heirloom coffee table), and use a towel underneath.

Step #4: Rub off the polish

Remove your nails from the bowl, or unwrap the tin foil and remove cotton balls.

Use a fresh cotton ball dipped in acetone to rub off the powder polish. It should wipe away, but you may need to use an orangewood stick or cuticle pusher to help if you have a particularly thick application.

Just be gentle.

Pro Tip: If using the tin foil method, after soaking, remove only one foil and try to remove the polish for one nail first. If it does not come off, keep soaking for another 5-10 minutes. (It’s a lot easier to only have to re-wrap one finger!)

You should only need to do this process once.

Step 5: Moisturize!

Acetone, although drying, is still the most effective and least traumatic way to remove SNS nails, as long as you properly condition and moisturize your nails and cuticles afterward. A cuticle & nail oil or balm is a perfect way to do that.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).