So here is my quick tutorial to help you remove the acrylic without damaging your natural nails to much further:
- Cut off any remaining tips and shorten nails to desired length with nail clippers.
- With a very coarse nail block (I used a medium), sand over the tops of your nails to remove any sealants or top coats.
- Soak your nails for about a minute in a bowl of 100% Acetone.
- The first layer of acrylic will start to get gummy ... scrape this layer off (I used my thumb nails to do this - you could also use a wood cuticle stick)
- Soak again and repeat for several more layers.
- Here's how I keep my nails from being absolutely ruined ... leave a thin layer of acrylic on your nails!!
- Take your coarse file block and sand over the tops of your nails to smooth ... then use your finer sanding block ... then your finest block to buff your nails to a naturally smooth surface.
- Your cuticles and fingertips will be very dry from the acetone treatment. Apply your cuticle oil and massage into skin. Push back cuticles at this time if needed.
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water, cleaning your nail surfaces thoroughly.
- Buff nails again if needed and be sure you don't have any snags.
- Apply one to two coats of the ridge filler as your base, and paint nails with desired color. Ridge fillers tend to be a natural color, so you can even get away with using just the filler and a top coat for shine.
This process took me about 20 minutes (without painting a color). Each time I give myself a manicure, I will continue to buff off the remaining acrylic until it is gone. This keeps a protective (but very thin) layer of strength over my nails until they have had time to strengthen on their own.