Remove Glitter Nail Polishes Quicker With This Little Trick

Published in: Beauty Tips, Nails

A tip to remove glittery nail polish

I love glittery nail polishes, and I suspect that you may love ’em, too. Lately, I’ve been having a blast with glittery ombre manicures, which have taken my lacquer love for glitter to whole new levels, but they’ve also opened my eyes to a downside of having so much glitter on my nails…


It can take forever to remove!

I can usually remove non-glittery polishes in 2-3 minutes, tops, but getting the glittery ones off can easily take me 10 minutes or more.

Until last weekend, my technique for removing glitter polishes involved soaking a cotton pad in an acetone nail polish remover, wrapping the wet pad around each nail, and then massaging the moistened pad around the nail for a minute or so before firmly sliding it from the base up to the tip. Sometimes, I’d have to repeat the process three or four times per nail to get them nice and clean.

Then, last weekend, I stumbled upon something that really helped move the cleaning process along.

It was Saturday night, and I was just about to remove my sparkly Raiders mani my normal way when I decided to hop in the shower first (three words: hella greasy roots).

After the shower, I moisturized, got into my jammies and sat down on the floor with my polish remover and cotton pads.

I started going through my regular routine, soaking and massaging a moistened pad on the first nail, but this time it was working much better than usual. On some of my nails, I only had to repeat the process once; on others, the first pad did the job.

A process that usually takes me 10-15 minutes ended up only taking 5 — still a little longer than usual for non-glittery nail polishes but a big improvement nevertheless.

I’m not sure why, but I think it had something to do with the shower. Maybe the nails absorbed some water, and it loosened the polish. Or maybe it was due to the temperature of the shower, which was lukewarm, but not hot.

Whatever the reason, I think the shower helped.


If you decide to give it a try, let me know how it goes. Inquiring minds want to know.

Pier 1 furniture: yay?

Pier 1Question for ya: how do you feel about Pier 1’s furniture? Is it sturdy? I found a couple of cute and comfy chairs there last weekend, but I wouldn’t want to get something if it’s going to fall apart.

I have commitment issues when it comes to furniture, but I’m getting mighty tired of sitting on the floor when people visit…

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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  1. Great post, Karen! Thanks, this will help next time I face this problem:)
    Antonia at Swedish Love Affair recently posted … Help me choose!

  2. Kelly in DC says:

    ooh, great tip. can’t wait to try it. I’d just heard about the foil tip and was going to try that, but this sounds easier. what is that pretty pink color on the left? I love putting 1-2 layers of glitter on top of creme colors. then I can get a mani to last for 2 weeks. deborahlippmann and opi are my favs. my new fav combo is the opi muppets collection- Pepe’s Purple Passion with Gettin Miss Piggy with It on top,

    • mn says:

      The pink color on the left looks like Essie ‘A Cut Above’- it’s being sold at Walgreens/CVS now but FYI, WetnWild has a polish that’s the same color but the glitter may be smaller (WIldShine ‘Sparked #435G).

      Karen- I’m a glitter fiend so any new tips on removal are greatly appreciated.

      • Masi says:

        I learned somewhere in the Internet world to remove the polish with a piece of felt fabric, instead of a regular cotton pad and WOW huge difference! Still a bit of a challenge but much easier than with a regular cotton pad and u don’t have to go through a whole routine. You also don’t have to use pure acetone and it still works pretty decently, I imagine it works even better with 100% acetone. Just be sure to use white felt fabric, not colored, as I imagine the color would bleed. Try it!,

  3. Aimee says:

    I end up with soft nail polish that peels off in the shower a lot so I imagine that your theory is right!
    Aimee recently posted … Amazon Kindle Touch in 3G full review, hands on, demo.

  4. Angel says:

    Thank Karen! This is a really helpful post!

    I am planning on getting some glittery polishes but I was worried about how annoying it is to take them off! This might be the last push I need to go all out on a glitter nail polish haul!

  5. Miriam says:

    I’m just gonna tack on one more way of getting glittery polishes off without wasting cotton and nail polish remover, after the shower soak your cotton balls in nail polish remover and apply them to your nails, wrap some aluminum foil over the cotton covering the nail. Wait a couple of minutes and slide the aluminum foil and cotton downwards. Whenever I do that technique, I never have to scrub/rub, it takes it off in one go. Works like a charm for me every time.

  6. Brooke says:

    Ooooh I may have to try that! I wear glitter polish often and it takes forever to get it off! A lot of times I place a cotton swab/pad soaked in polish remover on them and let it sit, however, I still find it difficulty to remove and I have to leave a little behind because I am a freak and can’t stand the feeling of rubbing the cotton swab over my nails too much…I have sensory/tactile issues! πŸ™‚

  7. The silly season usually means a lot of glittery nail polish for me which means mountains of cotton pads and bottles of remover. I am going to give this a go for sure!

    Thanks for sharing,

  8. Stef Smith says:

    I love glittery polish, so I’m totally going to try this tip! Thanks!

    And as for Pier One furniture, my best friend got a couple of super cute chairs there two years ago and they’re still standing. She is single, but lives with two Tabs-sized cats! πŸ™‚

  9. Heidi says:

    I’ll give this a try this week. I currently have glitter polish on that I did up for a holiday party I attended yesterday. It looks great but I always dread the removal aspect.

  10. OMG, I am obsessed with glitter for the holidays. Will shower before hand!

  11. Crystal says:

    I will def try that. I go glitter crazy and suffer when I have to take it off!
    Crystal recently posted … New Drugstore Beauty Sighted Haul Video

  12. Megan says:

    Yep–humidity and hot water are nail polish enemies. Even with amazing topcoats and basecoats, doing a bunch of dishwashing or handwashing can kill a great manicure. You may have even better results if you soak your hands in some hot water before removal.

  13. Alison says:

    Thanks for the tip! I don’t have any pier one chairs, but my main piece of furniture in my apartment is a big armoire from pier one (light blonde wood). I think it was something like $500 a few years ago, but it is made very well and has stood the test of time, and a move. I love it.

  14. Wendy says:

    Perfect timing. I painted my toenails in Butter’s glittery blue/green Henley Regatta. While I was polishing, all I could think was if the glitter was worth the hassle to remove. Butter’s Rosie Lee wasn’t too difficult to remove. But, I waited forever to do remove it.

    I don’t have any Pier One chairs. I have the tall fretted folding shelves (bookshelf) and very large amber mosaic mirror. Love them both. Their upholstered chairs are pretty.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Wendy,

      Thanks for the input on Pier One furniture. I’m also thinking of getting a few other pieces, too, so that’s good to know that bookshelves are sturdy.

      Here’s the chair I was thinking about: Liliana Armchair.

      • Wendy says:

        Nice! It will go great with most any decor style! Your guests will be happy too!

        I don’t have a lot of weight sitting on each shelf. It’s serves more for decor than function. Two vases, flameless tea light candles, and a figurine on top shelf. Box of tissues, mini clock and bonsai tree on second shelf. Black ipod player and oil infuser on next shelf. A large black wood basket (also from Pier One) filled with supplies centered on the next shelf. A black cardboard file box and a couple of books on the bottom shelf. Not sure how it would hold up if I had to use it for a ton of books.

  15. Usually when I remove glitter polish, I’ll use the foil method. Sometimes if you add some old, cheap, non-fast-drying top coat onto a nail and then remove it after a few seconds, it does the trick, too.

    I’ve never actually tried removing polish after a shower. Normally I’ll remove the polish first and then take a shower because I’m a bit strange…I like to wash extra to get rid of the acetone, which I know sounds weird. One day I’ll try out your suggestion to see if it helps! πŸ™‚
    Swatch And Learn recently posted … Nail Art Tutorial: Santa Nails

  16. MariamDad says:

    I love glitter polishes too πŸ™‚ and I love that photo of yours πŸ™‚ Will definetly try your method next. Thank you for a great post!

  17. KSlone says:

    Nails are little layers of protien that look like fish scales when under a microscope. When a nail is wet, the water molecules settle between the “scales”, causing a bit of a plumping effect. When the nail dries back out, naturally or by chemical means (ie acetone), it shrinks the nail “scales” back down. This expansion and contraction loosens nail color and helps with removal.
    It is also why a “dry” manicure is better at keeping nail polish on rather than a soaking manicure.
    Any time the nail dries out and shrinks back, polish loosens….and can cause chipped tips!
    I hope this helps solve the mystery Scooby! πŸ˜€ feel free to ask any questions if I was a bit confusing in my explanation!

  18. KSlone says:

    Oh yeah…I’ve had great success with pier one furniture! I have pieces at work that I still use and they look great!

  19. Maryam says:

    This is a very helpful trick… I’m definetly going to try it this holiday season!! Thank you.

  20. Nina says:

    i have a bunch of stuff from Pier 1 … i do love them and their bookcases in particular are very sturdy.

  21. Anitacska says:

    This is a good idea, I might try it, the only problem is, I have my shower in the mornings and I don’t have time to remove polish then. Maybe during the holidays… πŸ˜‰
    Anitacska recently posted … More Guerlain Rouge Automatique Lipstick Swatches – 100, 163, 164

  22. Liz G. says:

    Hi Karen. Thanks for the tip on glitter polish removal. I have my first glitter manicure and I was wondering how to remove it when the time comes. I have some Pier 1 bar stools that are black metal with wicker seats. I’ve had them for about 10 years. When I first saw them I thought they looked a bit flimsy but I loved them and bought them anyway. They have survived a move and much use and are still going strong. So I would give Pier 1 a try on a few things and see how you like them. Hopefully you will be pleasantly surprised.

  23. shiny says:

    When sitting on a seat to test it out, wiggle and bounce. Why? You might get an idea of what parts move that perhaps shouldn’t!

    Also, Craigslist may become a good good friend. Get a lovely, unique chair that could serve as your hostess chair – you know – YOUR chair.

    Finally, over-sized cushions may be the best option: They can look funky, be adapted to the style you choose, and may serve your space best without cramping it. Once guests leave, they go into a closet or whatever else you choose.

  24. Tiffany C. says:

    Hi Karen,
    I don’t use the foil method, i use the Deborah Lippmann method where you unroll a cotton and tear off a small piece, soak in acetone and put on your nail but LEAVE IT THERE and do the same to the rest of your nails on that hand. by the time you finish putting the cotton on your last finger the first one you started with will be ready for polish removal. so then whatever cotton i have remaining i put acetone on it and put it on top of the cotton that’s on myfinger and rub a little and remove. voila!! takes just a few minutes and no foil!! i use this method for regular polish as well.

    here’s a link describing the method in pictures

  25. Vonvon says:

    I have been wearing a lot of glitters in my nails too.

    I will try this tip soon…having lots of glitters on my nails right now.
    Vonvon recently posted … Look: L’Oreal Color Infallibles 013 Burning Black & 027 Goldmine, Stila Shadow Pot in Petal; MAC Dubonnet Lipstick

  26. Carrie Ann says:

    Thanks for the tip. It can be so annoying to remove glitter nail polish, but I love it.

  27. Kim says:

    Definitely a shower will kind of gum up your polish (I think it’s a combo of the heat and moisture, but mostly the heat) and make it easier to remove. I notice this with dark polish on my toes, which otherwise takes forever and a day for me.

    Sorry, I can’t help with the Pier 1 chairs. We don’t have one locally anymore (and by local, I mean within 100 miles) so it’s been ages since I’ve gotten anything there. And never furniture because I was too young for that at the time. Good luck, though! πŸ™‚

  28. Barbara says:

    Thank chair looks beautiful. Certainly not like the old days when Pier 1 was all wicker.

  29. DanaJae says:

    Hands down, best thing I have ever found to take off “The glitter that just won’t go” is Deborah Lippman THE STRIPPER – it is amazing! A little pricey at $18 for 4oz but I just save it for glitter only removal and it has lasted quite a long time.

  30. DalaLuz says:

    Interesting tip, I definitely will give it a try! I suspect doing the dishes may have the same effect but don’t tell that to any one, I prefer yet another excuse to stay just a bit longer in a nice hot shower around all those good smelling treasures I hoard up there. Mmmmmm

  31. Resa says:

    Hey karen! I just recently discovered that the hotness of water makes my nail polish very easy to peel! And I’m a nail polish peeling fiend. Too bad it takes a chunk of my nail too :(. I think your method will work! I’ll be sure to dip my nails in warm water before I remove nail polish from now on :).
    Resa recently posted … Presents I Paid For in the Mail!

  32. Katrina says:

    Finally an easier way to remove glitter polish! πŸ™‚ thanks so much for the tip. Now i can wear glitter more often without worrying how to take it off.
    Katrina recently posted … In My Kitchen #1 – Middle Eastern Roast Chicken (own recipe)

  33. peach_ says:

    Thanks for the tip! I’m a glitter-phobe exactly because of tough removal. I know about the wrapping in foil method, but I’m too lazy to do that!
    peach_ recently posted … Julep Nail Vernis Diane

  34. Marie C. says:

    One glitter nail polish removal tip I’ve heard but not yet tried is using acetone and felt instead of cotton balls because it is more abrasive to scrub away glitter.
    Also, I know this works for glitterless, but if you paint a new layer of polish over old polish and while it’s still kind of wet, try to remove it with acetone and all the layers just goop up and slide off.

  35. morrigan says:

    Wash dishes with warm water -___- I hate it but it’s mighty handy with glitter. It simply chips off πŸ™‚

  36. Annie says:

    one of my nail blogger buddies taught me this one trick its awesome, you need to wipe away any top coat lightly with nail polish remover this is important so the polish can penetrate the glitter without the protective top coat forming a barrier, then apply some junky nail polish you don’t really care for, either something cheap, ugly, something you don’t like, something old, etc. Let it sit for about a minute but NOT TOO LONG, my friend was getting annoyed by the noise it made when she was trying to rub the glitter off her nails but it came off easy off the one she tested a color over, and she was getting frustrated and wondered why it worked on the one but the others were bugging her so I explained why this worked, so she put it on her nails and once all her nails were painted she immediately started removing the polish starting with the first nail she painted she said it was much easier. I wanted to try this on my own but my glitter I’ve been wearing since Wednesday night started popping off like press on nails today.

  37. Shary says:

    I always remove my nail polish first, then get in the shower. If there is glitter still on my nails I use a nail brush to gently scrub them under the water while my conditioner is doing magic. πŸ™‚

  38. Sandy says:

    I just want to say, I just starting using glitter polish. I really like it! Again, I can’t get it off, is the only drawback. Now what I will tell you all is, I’ve found if you put your polish color on, the base coat. Then top with the glitter, boy it really keeps the nail polish from chipping. Anyway, thanks for the tips, I’m going to try, right now I half glitter and half not. Maybe a new trend.

  39. Irene says:

    You are correct about the warm/hot water. I noticed when I took a very warm shower, the glitter nail polish seemed to just peel off in the shower. I noticed when I was washing my hair, a strand of hair seemed to get caught on one of my nails. I thought I one of my nails had split or broken and my hair was caught in the crack. Wrong. The strand of hair was caught on the glitter polish that had lifted off of my nail. I then pulled it off and noticed almost the entire glitter polish came off in one piece. I was shocked. I continued to leave my hands in the stream of very warm water and noticed I was able to remove all of my glitter polish in less than ten minutes. That is a hella better than spending time with a cotton ball and acetone on my nails for over 30 minutes on each hand. I was able to simply scratch off any remaining glitter polish that remained on my nail. It was a great thing to discover! I decided to google and see if anyone else found out about how to remove the polish and came upon your site! Glad you shared this idea so others can know. I would think just soaking one’s nails in a bowl of very warm, almost hot water would do the trick.

  40. maggie says:

    I also made this discovery one day after I realized that my polish chips off more when I wash the dishes.

    I found a video on making it easy to remove glitter polish by using nontoxic school glue instead of a base coat! I use it all the time now and no longer hesitate to wear glitter polish.
    Here’s the link:

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