How to Take Out Contacts With Long Nails

Long-nail lovers deal with a lot of daily inconveniences that other people just don’t get.

We need to be extra careful opening boxes, eating with our hands, getting into cars, and even going to the bathroom. It takes a while to get used to having these talons!




It’s sort of like other fashion sacrifices we make, including high heels and hair extensions. We learn to live with them and it’s worth it.

But one aspect of long nails living often goes undiscussed, and that is the dilemma of dealing with contact lenses. 

Wearing glasses is okay now and then, but for those of us who prefer the contact lens and long nail combo, we tend to run into problems. 

Let’s review the best ways to take out contacts with long nails so that you can enjoy the best of both worlds without scratching yourself or going crazy.

Start By Practicing with Shorter Nails

Not to turn this into a PSA about the dangers of long nails, but you should know that safety is super important when taking your contacts out, especially with pointy acrylics.

Even if you’ve been taking contacts in and out of your eyes for years, long nails introduce a few new variables you should keep in mind.

First of all, long nails are cumbersome if you’re not used to wearing them. You may not realize just how much nail length impacts your daily life, from typing to sleeping and everything in between. This goes for contact lens care as well.

You can be aware and conscientious of your nails in one moment, and then get distracted the next second, forgetting that you have talons on your fingers! We’ve all done it, and the results can be embarrassing or painful. 

Getting used to the new dimensions of your nails can be a challenge in itself. Stand in front of a mirror and practice for a few minutes to see just how much space you have to work with. 

Us humans are not great with depth perception up super-close, so you’ll want to get a feel for how your long nails work around your eyes - just be careful!

Without getting too graphic, you can experience cornea scratches if you don’t exercise caution, which can lead to a ton of discomfort and cause vision problems in the long term.

A thread from the insightful forum Quora added a few other consequences worth mentioning.

Since long nails have more surface area to attract bacteria and other nasty stuff from your daily routine, a scratch on the eye can increase the likelihood of infection, which nobody wants.

If you do decide you want to wear long nails and are willing to take the time to learn, we suggest you start with some shorter nails first and work your way up.

Even just a couple of extra millimeters on the fingernail can throw you off if you aren’t used to them. Work with your nail tech to gradually increase the length of your nails over a few months so you can practice the techniques we’ll share with you here.

It’s not all about contact lenses. Getting more accustomed to long nails is key to living life safely and comfortably, so don’t shrug off this suggestion! It could save you a lot of headaches down the line.

Spider Web Nails

Prepare Your Nails and Eyes Beforehand

We understand that sometimes you just want to skip ahead and start rocking those long coffin or stiletto nails, with the mindset of “I’ll figure it out when I get there”.

When you first get those long and stylish gel or acrylic nails done at the salon, there’s no better feeling! You want to get out there and show the world. Who has time to think about something so trivial as contact lenses when you have brand new nails? 

Yes, it’s true. Some people don’t even think ahead to the fact that taking their contacts out will be a challenge, so it’s a bit of a rude awakening! But we’ve got you covered.

You’re going to have to make some adjustments to your entire contact-removal routine.

The first thing you want to do is wash your hands more than you usually would.

It’s gross to think about, but a lot of gunk can build up underneath those long nails during the day, and you want to give them a complete rinse and with soap and warm water before you bring them anywhere near your face.

We’re not talking about a five-second rinse here - you need to wash your hands and nails longer than you probably think is necessary. 

Get in between those fingers and do a little bit of preliminary scraping under the nails to get bits of debris out, letting the water from the sink run directly under each nail.

A step-by-step guide from WikiHow recommends that you also do a bit of extra digging and brushing under your long nails to ensure that no additional bits and pieces of dirt are stuck up in there.

Once super-clean, dry your hands and nails thoroughly as well. This will help you get a better grip on your contact lenses once you take the plunge.

Make sure you are in a very well-lit room and you have your contact lens case already topped up with fresh disinfectant. Get ready to try some different methods and see what works.


A Few Techniques to Try

Your first attempt at long-nail contact lens removal should be the pinching method. This approach uses your fingertips, and not your nail. Here is the basic idea:

  • Push on the opposite sides of the contact lens using the index fingers on either hand. You can angle your nails so that they point away from your eyeball.
  • This requires you to use the sides of your fingers or the tips just beneath the nail.
  • The goal is to press the lens from either side so that it moves forward and comes out easily. Do not use too much pressure.
  • Try a few different configurations of fingertips and various angles. Everyone will find a unique approach that works best for them.

The pinch method is popular because it can be learned quickly and doesn’t cause much discomfort. Just make sure to keep track of those lenses and check them for scratches.

Another technique, slightly more advanced, is the rolling method. Here’s how it works:

  • Use the padded part of your fingertip to gently press the contact lens down to the lower eyelid. Keep the nail angled away from the eye.
  • Keep pushing slowly but firmly until the lens comes into contact with the lower eyelid and you start to feel the resistance.
  • Add a little bit of extra pressure, and the contact lens will roll out over the eyelid and out of the eye if done correctly.

This technique is all about feel, so don’t get frustrated if you aren’t able to pull it off for your first few attempts. Eventually, if you master it, you’ll be able to do this anywhere, anytime!

Rainbow Nails

Contacts May Not Last as Long

If you are new to the long nail club and are struggling to remove contacts safely, you’re probably doing some damage to those lenses every time you try.

While it’s better than scratching your actual eyeball, those contact lenses may be taking the brunt of your long nail wrath, which may impact their effectiveness.

Since you want your contacts to be at 100% capacity, it could be worth using new lenses on a more frequent basis.

You also may want to consider swapping out your lens case more frequently than usual, because your unwashed nails will be in contact with the plastic exterior, as well as inside.

Acrylics that Come Off Easy

There’s always the possibility that you just can’t figure out how to safely remove contact with long nails, and it’s a frustrating feeling.

On one hand, you know what a pain it is to sleep through the night while wearing contacts, but you also don’t want to run the risk of damaging your eyes or removing your fancy acrylics.

This is just one of those lose-lose scenarios that we hate, but what if your acrylic nails came off super easily, and you could preserve them for future use? That way, you can safely and quickly take your contacts out and not worry about ruining a pricey manicure.

That’s the beauty of today’s press-on nails, which are leaps and bounds better than the fake nails you’ve probably used in the past.

The press-on nails on the market now are so easy to take off at a moment’s notice and don’t leave your nail beds covered in gooey residue that takes ages to scrub away.

When learning how to live with long nails, definitely try out some flat-tipped coffin styles first, as they will help minimize scratching.


Now that you know all about contact lens removal with long nails, you can enjoy all these modern conveniences at once, and not have to worry about a thing.

For more helpful info and press-on nail, trends be sure to check out our social media pages and sign up for our email newsletter or have our press on nails delievered right to your door.

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