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How To Fix Yellow And Stained Nails

It’s simpler than you may think.
July 23, 2020

If you’ve ever removed nail polish only to come face-to-face with yellow nails underneath your manicure, you know that it can be alarming. Aside from not being a good look, you’re probably wondering what’s causing the nail discoloration in the first place. You’ll be happy to know there’s a simple, harmless cause for stained nails and that removing those stains isn’t as difficult as you might think. Below, learn how to get rid of yellow nails and staining so you can rock the bare nails look with confidence—or at least go au naturel until you find your next nail art design to indulge in.


What Causes Yellow Or Stained Nails?

Yellow or otherwise stained nails don’t have to be a scary thing. So long as your nail texture hasn’t changed, the culprit of your nail discoloration is likely to just be nail polish. This is especially the case if you frequently wear bold, pigmented shades like ruby red or hot pink for a prolonged period of time. When you finally get around to removing the nail polish, a tint or stain can be left behind. It often matches the color you were wearing, but this stain can also be yellow. Red nail polish is notorious for pinkish staining, while blues and teals often leave behind yellow nails.


How To Treat Yellow And Stained Nails

Getting rid of nail staining is easy—in fact, there are three common methods for doing so. Take your pick!


1. Use A Nail Soak

ICYMI, there are actually nail soaks specifically meant to take your nails from yellow back to their normal, natural look. They typically come in powder form and are meant to be added to warm water. You soak your nails in the solution for minutes and let it work its magic. Of course, the directions for this type of product will vary depending on the one you purchase, so make sure you’re following them correctly. If your stains are prominent, you can consider using a clean toothbrush to gently yet thoroughly scrub your nails after the soak.


2. Use Acetone

We’re sure you’re familiar with soaking your nails in acetone to remove or gel stubborn nail polish, so it should come as no surprise that you can use a similar method to remove nail polish stains. Cut ten strips of foil that will be used to wrap around each of your nails. Then, pour an acetone nail polish remover into a bowl. Dip a cotton ball into the bowl to saturate it with acetone and press the cotton ball onto the top of one nail. Wrap the nail in foil and repeat on the rest of your nails. Let your nails soak for 10 minutes, then remove and rinse! Since acetone can be very drying, make sure you finish by applying a nourishing hand cream.


3. Use A Nail Buffer

Certain stains may be able to be removed with only your trusty nail file. For this method, first, apply a cuticle oil to your nail to lubricate it and help loosen any polish. Then, use the buffing side of a nail file or a nail buffer, buff out the nail as needed. Keep in mind that this method will likely only work for minor stains and that you may need to use one of the methods above if buffing the nail isn’t effective. As always, give your hands some extra TLC by applying a hydrating hand moisturizer post-filing.


How To Prevent Yellow Nails And Staining

Want to steer clear of stained nails in the future? We don’t blame you. To properly prep your nails and prevent yellow nails moving forward, make sure to apply a base coat as the first step in your at-home manicure routine. This will act as a protective barrier between your nail and your nail polish, helping to keep staining from occurring. You can also specifically look for anti-yellowing base coats to further protect your nails.

Next: 5 Signs You Need To Take A Break From Doing Your Nails

Written by: Shalwah Evans, Photo: iStock

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