Nail Stains: how to avoid and remove them

nail stains

I’ve always been obsessed with dark nail polishes. The’re edgy yet classy and are very flattering on my pale skin. And they also look great on short nails like mine (I can’t stand long nails, they aren’t practical at all).

But dark shades are hard to maintain and they can even stain nails yellow. If that happens you could always apply nail polish to hide the stains or just wait a few months for your nails to grow back, but let’s face it: those solutions aren’t ideal. So, what can you do?

Use a base coat

Preventing dark nail polish from staining your nails is very easy. All you need to do is use a base coat. This will create a protective layer on your nail so that the polish won’t get in contact with the nail plate and stain it. In addition, a base coat provides a smoother surface for your polish to adhere to and makes it last longer.

Squeeze some lemon juice

If you forgot to use a base coat and your nails are now an unattractive yellow color, don’t panic. Go to the kitchen, get a lemon, squeeze the juice on your nails and rub it for a few minutes. Or you can just pour the juice in a bowl and soak your fingers in it for 10 minutes if you prefer.

When you’re done, you’ll see that your nails are already whiter but you may need to repeat this treatment a few times for the stains to be removed completely. In addition, lemon juice can dry skin and nails, so you should always apply a moisturizer afterwards.

If it doesn’t work

If the lemon juice trick doesn’t work for you at all, then the yellow nail stains can be a symptom of a more serious condition, like diabetes for instance. If this is the case you should consult your doctor immediately.

Do you have any more tips to prevent or remove nail stains?

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  1. says

    I rarely apply nail color on my finger nails but my toe nails suffer from discoloration. I let my nails rest and go color- and polish-less after two consecutive nail polish application. I haven’t tried using lemon juice but at least I now have a back up! Thanks for the tip! :)
    – Kaith

  2. says

    Although I haven’t tried this, I read somewhere that you can soak your nail in a mildly bleached solution (a big bowl of water with 1 teaspoon of bleach.) It should help removing the yellow tint in your nails, too.
    .-= Dao´s last blog ..Cyber Monday Musings =-.

  3. Melia says

    When my nails stain yellow from nail polish, I put some whitening toothpaste on my nail brush and brush my nails for a couple of minutes. It seems to lighten my stained nails a couple of shades. I’ve also heard of soaking your nails in a denture solution, but I haven’t tried this yet.

  4. Danielle says

    I don’t have a remedy for getting rid of stains, but I used to have a problem removing dark polish and having it stain the sides of my nail beds! I found that it’s best to let a cotton ball soaked in remover sit on your nails for a few seconds, wiggle it back and forth a little, and then wipe down in one stroke. Seems to get rid of the most polish with the least amount of staining.

  5. beautifulwithbrains says

    All Women Stalker, going polish-less is a good idea, but it’s not always practical in the hot summer months. And you’re welcome, glad you find the tip useful and let me know how it works for you :)

  6. beautifulwithbrains says

    Dao, thanks for the tip, I’ll try that. The lemon juice trick works well for me but if I find a way to remove the stains with only one treatment, that’d be great. :)

  7. beautifulwithbrains says

    Meream, you’re welcome. A base coat is essential with dark nail polishes. They don’t stain my nails anymore since I started using one :)

  8. beautifulwithbrains says

    Danielle, it’s really annoying to get stains on your skin when you’re trying to remove a nail polsih! Thanks for the tips, it’s very helpful. :)

  9. beautifulwithbrains says

    pretty beautiful, I agree with you about always using a base coat with any color. I do that and it makes a great difference. But I think using a base coat is particularly important wit darker shades as they’re likely to stain your nails. And you’re welcome. :)

  10. says

    I haven’t had any nail stains because I’m always using a base coat before applying a dark nail polish. The idea with the lemon really works because I’ve tried it a couple of times when I went to the beauty salon to have my manicure done…..I used to stay with my nails in lemon juice for couple of minutes. Now I’m doing it at home, I cut a lemon in half and simply put my nails in it. :)
    .-= Tavia´s last blog ..Estee Lauder TOP 10 Holiday 2009 Makeup Gifts =-.

  11. beautifulwithbrains says

    Tavia, I’m glad that you never got stained by nail polish, it’s really annoying when it happens but luckily a base coat will prevent that.

    I never thought about sticking my nails into a lemon lol, I usually just use the juice. But that sounds good too, I’ll try it :)

  12. fuzzyleo says

    well, Giorgia, I’m making a Grand Tour of your blog and scattering comments here and there… 😉

    I *love* dark polish (any colour of polish, actually), and though I always use a base coat sometimes staining can occur (i.e., if you use a 3-free basecoat and a not-3-free polish…). Usually a light buffing and a short dip in lukewarm water + denture tablet remove everything!

    My grandma taught me to squeeze lemons using my (clean) fingers as a lemon squeezer: it’s very functional, gets your hands rid from unwanted cooking smells and it’s great for your nails, too!

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Fuzzyleo, I’m glad that you like my blog so much to go through the archives and I love reading your comments, they are so helpful.

      I love dark nail polishes too but since I’ve been using a cheap L’Oreal base coat that never happened again. Although it may again in the future, those dark polishes are very intense and pigmented. Thanks for the tips on how to remove stains, they sound great and I’ll give that a go next time I get stained nails. :)


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