The first nail-focused beauty blog

ALU Nail Tip – Removing Pen Marks

By on May 6, 2009
in Tips and Tricks with 18 Comments
A reader contacted me yesterday via Twitter to see if I had any tricks for removing pens marks from her nails without ruining her manicure. I’ve had it happen to me from time to time but never thought it was a regular occurrence for others. Since I do my own manicures, I usually just redo the nail at home.

But when you pay to get a manicure in a salon, the last thing you want to do is wreck a nail over a silly pen mark. So I wondered if any of the at-home remedies for removing ink from fabric/carpet would work. The most common are rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover (that’s out!) and hairspray. Hmm, hairspray. That shouldn’t harm lacquer but would it remove the stains? I grabbed a pen and a canister of hairspray and here are the results…


Consider that ink GONE! Now I got a little overzealous with my drawing so I ended up making a couple dents in the polish from the pressure but otherwise, everything was removed and it didn’t harm my glossy top coat in the least.

Do you have any unique nail tricks to share? What are your most common nail stain issues? Are you regularly afflicted by pen stains? If you try this tip at home, let me know your results.

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  1. Vampy Varnish says:

    I have had that happen too actually.

    The most common polish damage I seem to have is from my own klutziness! I frequently somehow scratch a nail by hitting it against a wall or something that damages the polish surface and makes the top coat dull. Not sure what can be done about that other than me not acting like a spaz!

  2. MoLo says:

    Is that Color Club Explosive?

  3. Lacquer Laine says:

    awesome post! I don’t think it happens to me too often… but i can come up with something else to do to mess up a manicure!

  4. amychristina says:

    oooo, yes, do tell us the color on your nails. :)

  5. bonnie says:

    what color is that?!

  6. All Lacquered Up says:

    Actually, it’s a poorly lit shot of Misa Speed of Life. I just grabbed something that the pen would stand out against and wasn’t concerned with lighting.

  7. Selina says:

    I’ve used hairspray to remove pen from all sorts of things: clothes, wallpaper, carpet – brilliant stuff. However, it does make me wonder what it’s doing to my hair!

  8. Kristen says:

    Hairspray isn’t foolproof. If you’re using a UV topcoat (ie. one that glows in the dark) it will give your nails a bluish tint. Just make sure to wash your hands when you’re done.

  9. Linda says:

    A rubber works fine with my nails!

  10. Tyler says:

    Cool tip! I’ve just ended up keeping rubber gloves at home for some things in order to protect my manicures. One thing I’ve learned easily ruins manicures is Frontline or Advantix (the flea protection for dogs). They say to avoid contact with your skin, but it’s kind of hard to do with squirmy dogs! It kind of freaks me out that I’m putting it on my dogs if it can ruin polish, but supposedly it’s safe! There’s another product I use that ruins polish but I can’t think of it right now, but like I said, I just keep a box of gloves and problem solved!

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  12. diephie says:

    spray perfume works within seconds

  13. Sarah says:

    I tried this trick. It ruined my nail. Thanks a lot.

  14. Andrea Villagrana says:

    It TOTALLY works! I had bearly got my gel nails and i opened a pen that popped and i was so sad but i tried this and it also work on gel nails C:

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