The Chemistry of Nail Polish Remover


Nail polish remover is an organic solvent used to remove nail polish from the nails. Painting your nails is very fashionable and easy to do. I chose nail polish remover because it is almost part of my everyday life. I paint my nails and change the color constantly. But what girl doesn’t?

Composition of ...

    • Acetone (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen) C3H6O
    • Ethyl Acetate- colorless, flammable liquid
    • Butyl Acetate- production of lacquers
    • Aloe Vera- protects and conditions the nails
    • Glycerin- helps nails and skin from drying out
    • Cetyl Acetate- skin conditioning agent and emollient
    • Petroleum- chemical compound with 5 membered lactam
  • Phthalic Anhydride- made from crystalline

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

How do you remove nail polish from your nails?

    • Use nail polish remover which is made from acetone
  • It can dissolve plastics, glues, and all paints

Chemistry's Role

Acetone is one of the main components in nail polish remover. The formula is C3H6O. Acetone is made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen combined. It is a chemical that is found naturally in the environment and is produced in factories all over. However some acetone is man-made. They release acetone in the air and it is used to make plastics, fibers, camera film, and much more.

Petroleum-derived components is the next ingredient. Petroleum is the basic ingredient in many cosmetics todays as well as mineral oil. Petroleum is produced in oil making factories. It is made up of a refined oil. It is a fossil fuel and is made naturally from dead plants and animals.

Background Research

Nail polish remover is made up of acetone which is very powerful and effective when taking off nail polish. It can be harmful to our skin and cause our nails to become brittle from the chemicals. You can make nail polish remover in your home by using a liquid paint thinner bought from any store since you cannot make acetone in your own home. Nail polish remover works by moisturizing the dried nail polish and returns it to its liquid state.



Main Ingredients

Background Research

About the Author

Kayla Collett is junior at Billings Senior High School. She enjoys being out and about and loves the outdoors whether she is camping or simply just being outside. Kayla currently is not involved in sports this year but is trying to get back in track for her senior year.