One Way to Remove Glitter Nail Polish

Published in: Makeup Tips/How To, Nails


Would you believe my glittery Illamasqua Harsh mani lasted all but one day?


It wasn’t the polish’s fault. Coco and Co. were to blame! Late yesterday afternoon, the new Chanel Jade nail polishes I’ve been dying to try arrived in the mail (swatches coming soon!).

Glittery nail polishes can be notoriously difficult to remove — so difficult, in fact, that some women refuse to wear them at all. Those little bits of glitter will just grip nails with a fierceness and refuse to let go!

When I sat down to remove my polish a few minutes ago, I remembered that a few of you, including reader Sarah, asked about it too.

Hi, Sarah. πŸ™‚ Here’s a way to remove glittery nail polishes that works pretty well for me:

What you’ll need

Glitter polish removal, step-by-step

  • Start by thoroughly soaking a cotton ball or pad with the nail polish remover.
  • Place the soaked pad on the nail, making sure you cover it from cuticle to tip, and gently press down.

Acetone removers and glitter polish: There are many different varieties of nail polish remover, but ones containing acetone (a colorless, flammable solvent also found in many household cleaners and chemicals like paint thinner) seem to work faster than the non-acetone polishes I’ve tried, at least when it comes to removing glittery polish. Acetone is not a green chemical, however, and can be rather harsh on nails (making them dry/brittle), so I try to limit my use of it to polishes with glitter.

One brand I like is Zoya’s Remove +. It works well without over-drying my nails.

  • Hold the moistened pad in place for 30 seconds to give the remover time to work its mojo.

TIP: When I don’t have a clock nearby, I hum the Happy Birthday song to myself three times. That takes me about 30 seconds. πŸ™‚

  • Gently slide the moistened cotton ball/pad from the cuticle to the tip of each nail. Most of the glitter should rub away, but remove whatever’s left with the same pad.
  • Repeat the same process for each of your other nails.
  • When you’re finished, wash your hands and nails well to remove the acetone and any stray bits of glitter that were left behind.

A remover just for glitter polishes? While surfing the web I spied a remover specifically designed for glitter called Cutex Glitter Girls Acetone Nail Polish Remover ($3). Have you given it a try? If you think it’s any good, please let me know.

  • You can help to keep your nails healthy after using acetone on them by using a nail polish moisturizer like Nailtiques Nail Moisturizer. It has a thick, rich formula and a light vanilla scent.

Sin Nombre: Beautiful cinematography, intense story



How was your night?

I rented Sin Nombre, a subtitled film about a teenage Central American gang member who tries to escape the gang by heading north to the US. He joins up with a Honduran family also heading north but for different reasons.

The movie won both the cinematography and directorial awards at the Sundance Film Festival this year. I don’t understand a lick of Spanish, but I probably could’ve watched the whole movie without subtitles. It’s that captivating!

I didn’t know this before seeing the movie, but the director, Cary Fukunaga, was born not far away from here in Oakland and graduated from UC Santa Cruz. Amazingly, Sin Nombre is his first feature film.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 36 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Niki says:

    What a great post Karen! Another good polish remover for glitters is OPI Expert Touch, it’s moisturzing for your cuticles too. I’ve been doing glitter swatches all week, no removal pain. It’s comparable to the Zoya in ease of removal, but the price is slightly cheaper. Smells like citrus! πŸ™‚
    .-= Niki’s last blog post… Quickie Haul Post! =-.

  2. Sarah says:

    You are the best Karen! Thank you for answering my question so quickly. I’m very excited because now I can expand my nail polish collection to containing more glittery colors. (I’m a glitter fanatic! Call me Tinkerbell)

    Have a great weekend

    .-= Sarah’s last blog post… CrazyCatLadie: RT @karenmbb: RT to Win 5 Bare Escentuals Buffing Brushes =-.

  3. Sleepy says:

    I’ve also heard that right before you want to remove your glitter polish, put on another coat of top coat. I don’t know why/how, but it some how helps to remove the polish.

  4. Christina says:

    Thank you for the tutorial! I now feel bold enough to hunt down some glittery polish. πŸ™‚
    .-= Christina’s last blog post… The Flaming Iron, Part II =-.

  5. Kate & Zena says:

    I remove glitter on my nails (which is a PITA to remove) with white felt. I find when I use cotton balls, I use about half a bag removing the glitter. But, I use only about half a felt sheet when removing glitter. Make sure it’s white though; the dye in colored felt will rub off on your nails (!) and skin (!!!!). I have loose glitter but I generally don’t put glitter on my nails due to removable PITA. It drives me cuckoo.

    Oh, I sent you an e-mail back that said it was okay to post but I don’t know if you got it or not. The interwebs has been bipolar as of late for me.

    I’m off to give Zena the Frisky a bath. She smells.

  6. Solé says:

    I haven’t worn glitter polish in years. I had a bad experience at an airport once. I couldn’t get past the metal detector for the life of me. It was right after 9/11 and I practically had to disrobe so they could figure out what it was. After removing my shoes and socks, it turned out to be the glitter polish on my toes. The TSA agents were laughing their butts off as they held the metal detector wand at my toes and it was beeping like crazy. Yeah… But I think I’m about ready to start again (as long as I don’t have to fly anywhere!). That silver is really pretty and festive, but I’m also excited about OPI’s upcoming holiday collection. I love glittery reds in the winter! πŸ™‚

  7. Solé says:

    Oh, and thanks for the movie review. πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to see it.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sole,

      LOL! Okay, note to file: avoid glitter when flying.

      I hope you like the movie. Both El Hub and I have been talking about it on and off all day… I can’t wait to see what Cary Fukunaga does next.

      How is your weekend going so far?

  8. Glosslizard says:

    I tried the Glitter Girls polish one time, and I’m sorry to report that I could detect no discernable difference between it and the regular Cutex remover. On the other hand, I haven’t had that much trouble removing glitter, I just use cotton pads (as opposed to cotton balls) and rub pretty hard!

    Happy Saturday, hope your weekend rocks! πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      Hi Glosslizard,

      Hmm, good to know!

      I like using pads too — they seem to cover more surface area and hug the nail a bit better.

      How was your Saturday? I spent most of the day trying to organize stuff. I don’t think I was very successful.

  9. Tavia a says:

    I’m using acetone removers all the time. I don’t like the removals that don’t contain acetone cause I need to spend double time to remove the nail polish and it also takes me double number of cotton pads. With acetone removals is all very fast and simple and my nails never suffered cause of this. I apply nail treatments all the time before applying the nail polish. πŸ™‚
    .-= Tavia a’s last blog post… Review Γ’β‚¬β€œ La Prairie Anti-Aging Complex Γ’β‚¬β€œ A Cellular Intervention Cream =-.

  10. Kate & Zena says:


    Almost. Zena still refuses to go into the bathroom or the bathtub on her own accord. I had to haul all her weight up the stairs, into the bathroom and into the tub. She did let me scrub her paws but then she decided the towel was a toy and ran off only to run back into the towel like a bull running to a red cape. It’s cute but so irritating as I was trying to get as much shedding fur out as I could while she ran in and out of the towel. She’s so silly!

  11. amy says:

    I love glitter nailpolishes because the are long lasting. One of my friends recommend OPI nailpolish remover because it removes everything quickly and cleanly.
    .-= amy’s last blog post… John Masters Organics Bourbon Vanilla Tangerine Hair Texturizer =-.

  12. Kate & Zena says:

    No, thank you, Karen. I have enough trouble with the one. I’d probably scream and run in fear if I had to bathe Tabs.I imagine he does a great deal of hissing and meowing and clawing. I’m only willing to sacrifice so much of my arms and legs to scratches. I imagine cat claw scratches hurt more than dog claw scratches.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kate,

      He’s actually a good boy. He hates water, but he doesn’t hiss or scratch. He goes limp and makes these really pathetic mewling sounds. Poor lil’ guy!

  13. Tavia a says:

    My mother works in a beauty salon, she is specialist in “all about nails” πŸ™‚ so I’ve tried many acetone removals (I’m borrowing hers everytime ) and I like the best Perfect Nails acetone removal (it’s professional product and here you can only find it in beauty salons) but I like it because cleans fast without damaging the nails, has a great smell and a pink color πŸ™‚
    .-= Tavia a’s last blog post… Review Γ’β‚¬β€œ La Prairie Anti-Aging Complex Γ’β‚¬β€œ A Cellular Intervention Cream =-.

  14. Shirleen says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial, I love it! πŸ™‚
    .-= Shirleen’s last blog post… Lux Invites You To Express Yourself On Its New YouTube Channel =-.

  15. bomi says:

    hey karen, why is that movie rated r?
    my mom wants to watch it with me but i have a little brother hahha.

  16. bomi says:

    ooh hahhaha alright,
    thanks karen
    i think we’ll just watch it when he’s at a baseball game or something hahaa.
    do post more movie stuff, i’m really intrested in this one!

  17. Janelle says:

    Ooooh, I’ll have to rent or watch that film online πŸ™‚ I hope I dont end up disturbed/scarred for life though!

    I might try to hunt down a polish remover specifically for glitter polish, because Im one of those people that has avoided wearing it because it’s so hard to remove XD thanks for the tips!

  18. Michelle says:

    I love glitter polishes but they’re always such a pain to remove. Thanks for sharing this.
    .-= Michelle’s last blog post… I wonder what would happen if… =-.

  19. Sasha says:

    This worked wonders! Thank you SO much! (:

  20. awesome tip! i just did a How To make your own glitter polish on my blog if anyone wants to check it out!


    take a look around πŸ™‚

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