Zoya Remove Plus Nail Polish Remover ($22.09) gets plenty of rants and raves as a better nail polish remover. Its 3-in-1 system is supposed to remove polish and prep and condition nails. It contains Acetone, Water, Glycerin, Fragrance, and Violet 2, so what makes it different is the inclusion of glycerin. It still contains acetone, which is the main ingredient that dries out nails.
Overall, it will definitely be gentler on nails, but whether it works better than using a separate moisturizing nail cream hasn’t been tested. But glycerin is an excellent ingredient to combat the drying effects of acetone.
It Main Ingredient, Acetone, is the Same as Traditional Polish Removers
Acetone is a clear and highly flammable solvent, meaning that it works by dissolving the paint right off your nails (National Library of Medicine). While moderate to large amounts can cause issues like lung, throat, and eye irritation, as well as other problems, acetone was found to be safe at 500 ppm (Environmental Services).
However, one of the downsides to acetone is that it can be incredibly drying to both skin and nails and can cause nails to weaken (IJDVL). When nails water content is lessened, nails become brittle and breakable.
And it can do a number on skin. While acetone disrupts the skin barrier, studies are split on exactly how. While some studies find that topically applied acetone removes a number of skin lipids (Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology). Other studies find that the ratio of different skin lipids remains consistent but the removal of corneocytes causes skin barrier disruption (Archives of Dermatological Research).
Regardless, the barrier disruption is a recipe for dried out skin.
But Zoya Counterbalances the Drying Effects of Acetone with Glycerin
To some extent Zoya Remove Plus Nail Polish Remover balances out the drying properties of acetone by using glycerin. While acetone does typically lower the effectiveness of moisturizers like glycerin, that doesn’t mean that adding the glycerin isn’t a helpful step (Skin Research and Technology).
Glycerin is one of the best emollients and moisturizers you can use. It beats out petrolatum and oil-in-water dimethicone in terms of skin hydration in comparative tests (Ostomy Wound Management). And in a study the measured skin hydration with 10 days of regular use of a 20% glycerin formula, participants had an increase in corneometer values and skin hydration measurements (International Journal of Cosmetic Science). And that’s a big help considering that acetone might cause dryness by removing corneocytes.
One of the reasons glycerin is thought to work is that it allows for cell maturation by interaction with phospholipids, which help form a barrier over skin (Science Daily).
Is this Better than Moisturizing After Using Traditional Nail Polish Removers?
I wasn’t able to find any studies comparing Zoya Remove Plus Nail Polish Remover with traditional nail polish remover followed by a glycerin-containing moisturizer like Vaseline Healthy Hands and Nails Lotion ($11.31, amazon.com), so it’s difficult to say which approach is best.
On the one hand, Zoya’s product has more acetone than glycerin, meaning it’s gentler, but can still be somewhat drying. On the other hand, acetone is a penetration enhancer that disrupts the skin barrier, so it’s best to get moisturizers on your nails and skin quickly to keep it from drying out (Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy).
Zoya’s nail polish remover won’t dry your nails out as much as traditional polish removers, but it still contains acetone, which is the main ingredient that dries out nails. So, while it’s gentler, it could still be drying for some.
If you want to be extra cautious or you still find Zoya drying, try it combined with moisturizer like Vaseline Healthy Hands and Nails Lotion afterwards to keep nails and skin soft and well hydrated.
Zoya Remove Plus Nail Polish Remover is definitely a gentler than traditional nail polish removers. The inclusion of glycerin means that while the acetone’s drying effects is somewhat mitigated. It’s difficult to say whether this is better than using a hand and nail lotion after removing polish, but it’s definitely an improvement on nail polish remover alone.