How to Stop Dark Nail Polish Colors from Staining Your Nails

Manicure trends change with the season, but certain polish colors — black, dark red, purple, even a rich navy blue — never go out of style. These polishes also stick around because they stain your nails and fingers when you try to remove them. Red is always my choice when I can’t decide what color to paint my nails, but I always regret it when I go to take it off. No matter how careful I am when I rub nail polish remover on my nails, red always ends up staining my actual nail bed, plus the skin around it.  

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If you’ve had the same problem, it might be because you’ve been removing your nail polish all wrong. According to Sally Hansen Global Ambassador and nail pro Madeline Poole, rubbing is the worst thing you can do when you’re taking off dark nail polish colors. 

Instead, Poole says to take a cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover and let it sit on the nail for around 30 seconds. Then, gently pull the cotton ball down towards the tip of the nail.

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Follow up with a cuticle treatment like Sally Hansen’s Instant Cuticle Remover ($5; for any bits of leftover polish. Yes, it dissolves excess cuticles, but it also breaks down the traces of nail polish that have stained your nails and fingers. Poole recommends letting the remover sit for 30 seconds before pulling it off in a downward motion towards the tip of the nail. Since its infused with nourishing chamomile and aloe, this cuticle remover won’t dry out or weaken nails. 

Still have nail polish stains? Poole says to take a nail buffer and softly buff it out as needed. 

Finally, a red manicure won’t cost you a bottle of nail polish remover, bag of cotton balls, and an entire afternoon to get it completely off. 


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