Who Invented Nail Polish Remover?

Nail polish remover is an almost daily part of our lives for many of us. It is a tool that a lot of us can’t live without. And with the use of nail polish comes nail polish remover.

But have you ever stopped to think who it was that did us the massive favor of inventing nail polish remover? Who do we have to thank for this unique invention?

In this article, we will be discussing the history of who invented nail polish remover, as well as why it was created, and its evolution. 

What This Article Covers:

Who Invented Nail Polish Remover?

Although different forms of nail polish and nail tints have been around since 3000 BC, it was only in the 1900s that the first form of nail polish remover was invented. 

Essentially, there are five different people and two different companies to thank for the invention of nail polish remover.

These people are Northam Warren, Charles Revson, Joseph Revson, Charles Lachman, and Michelle Menard.

who invented first nail polish remover

Northam Warren worked alone in his invention of nail polish remover, whereas Charles and Joseph Revson, Charles Lachman, and Michelle Menard all worked together to create their formula of nail polish remover.

Over the years, there has been a debate about who the ultimate inventor of nail polish is. But, no one has ever come to a conclusion about this, which is why all five are praised for the invention.

The History of Nail Polish Remover

In 1917, Northam Warren introduced the first modern colored nail polish. This was created by adapting automobile paint finish.

Warren soon discovered that his polish was durable and long-lasting. It was quite a struggle to get off one’s nails.

So, to fix this problem Northam Warren developed nail polish remover. This was only released in 1928, and it was an acetone-based formula that was safe to use at home. 

At a similar time, another nail polish remover was also brought out by the other four inventors that we previously spoke of. 

Charles and Joseph Revson, and Charles Lachman, recruited Michelle Menard to make this happen. Michelle was the brains behind their acetone-based nail polish remover that was brought out around 1932.

Why Was Nail Polish Remover Invented?

When the first modern paint-based nail polish was released in 1917, people found that it was long-lasting, and difficult to remove.  As liquid nail polish became more popular, people wanted to be able to change the colors they wore, and they were having trouble getting it off. 

Because of this, nail polish companies came up with the idea of nail polish remover to make this process much easier. 

The Evolution of Nail Polish Remover

Nail polish remover has come a long way since it was first developed in the 1920s/1930s.

Although we still use nail polish removers that are acetone-based, formulas tend to differ in that nail polish removers can contain anywhere from 30-60% acetone. 

Depending on the brand, the amount of acetone that the nail polish remover contains will differ, which means that the formula will definitely be different from the first one that was created. 

The Evolution of Nail Polish Remover

A lot of brands have also moved away from making nail polish remover with acetone entirely. These acetone-free nail polish removers are less harsh on your skin and nails and don’t cause the chemical damage that acetone does.

If you are wondering where the best place to buy nail polish remover is, we would recommend shopping at Orly. 

At Orly, we make the best affordable nail polish remover that is acetone-free. But this doesn’t make it any less effective. You can remove any product, no matter the nail polish name or brand.

As a bonus, it can also double as one of the best nail polish thinners.


Although there is no clear distinction as to who invented nail polish remover, we’re just as grateful as you are for its creation in the 1900s. 

And despite the fact that acetone-based removers still exist, we would definitely recommend opting for the ones that are acetone-free. They aren’t so harsh on your skin and nails and have more nourishing qualities.

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