These Celeb Manicurist-Approved Products Will Nurse Gel-Damaged Nails Back to Health

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These Celeb Manicurist-Approved Products Will Nurse Gel-Damaged Nails Back to Health

Peeling off your gel polish "damages and removes layers of the nail plate," explains international celebrity manicurist and Dior Beauty ambassador Tracylee Percival. Experts recommend using cuticle oils and vitamin E-infused products, keeping cuticles hydrated, and taking a break from manicures to let your nails heal.

Image: Orly
These Celeb Manicurist-Approved Products Will Nurse Gel-Damaged Nails Back to Health

Bellacures founder Samira Far recommends "regular weekly manicures with no polish and using Nailtiques," a brush-on nail protein formulated for soft, peeling, and thin nails.

Nailtiques Formula 2, $9.50
These Celeb Manicurist-Approved Products Will Nurse Gel-Damaged Nails Back to Health

In addition to regular no-polish manicures, Far recommends using a cuticle oil, "like Sparitual Cuti-Clean Treatment or all-natural grape seed oil. [It's] an amazing regime to nurse nails back to health from any post-gel damage."

SpaRitual Cuti-Clean Cuticle and Stain Remover, $17
These Celeb Manicurist-Approved Products Will Nurse Gel-Damaged Nails Back to Health

"Typically nail strengtheners work by dehydrating the nail plate. This dehydration process is what seemingly hardens the nails," explains Percival. "I recommend strengtheners that have nutritive properties in them, as they provide nutritional & hydration benefits as well. I recommend Dior Vernis Abricot Base Coat. It's a strengthening, ridge-filling base coat for smoothness and has nutritive elements for hydration." (Note: Percival is a Dior Beauty ambassador.)

Dior Crème Abricot Base Coat, $27
These Celeb Manicurist-Approved Products Will Nurse Gel-Damaged Nails Back to Health

"Cuticle oil is the only product that can penetrate the entire cuticle area to reach the matrix (which is where your nails grow)," Percival tells us. "The oil nourishes not only the entire cuticle area, but when absorbed, it hydrates the matrix, which in then will hydrate your nail plate from the inside out! This will help put vital nutrients back into your nails and help keep the flexible. Try Famous Names' Dadi' Oil, it's amazing!"

Dadi Organic Nail Cuticle Skin Oil Treatment, $9.95 and up
These Celeb Manicurist-Approved Products Will Nurse Gel-Damaged Nails Back to Health

Shelly Hill, celebrity manicurist and general manager of non-toxic nail salon Base Coat in Los Angeles, also suggests "a mini vacay from not only gel, but also regular polish. Keep your nails short for the meantime. If the nail isn't strong enough, it will break or crack when it's long. Although it’s tempting to cut your cuticles to keep them neat, avoid cutting your cuticles while your nails are rebuilding [and instead] push back your cuticles using an orange stick."

4.5" Orange Wood Manicure Salon Spa Cuticle Pusher Short Sticks Pack of 100, $4.38
These Celeb Manicurist-Approved Products Will Nurse Gel-Damaged Nails Back to Health

"For Base Coat we are always trying to look for the most natural ways to help repair damaged nails and most the time you have these products already at home," continues Hill. "If you don’t have our cuticle serum, coconut oil works great too — [it] contains important nutrients to keep your nails moisturized and strong. It also strengthens your cuticles, which play a key role in healthy nail growth. Plus, it helps cure hangnails, cuticle infections, cures ridges and fungal nails."

Nature's Bounty Organic Coconut Oil, $12.99
These Celeb Manicurist-Approved Products Will Nurse Gel-Damaged Nails Back to Health

Our pick: Orly's cuticle drops keep the skin around nails hydrated with a blend of argan oil, jojoba oil, and vitamin E.

Orly Argan Cuticle Oil Drops, $15

We’ll be the first to fess up to peeling off our gel nail polish, especially when our packed schedules leave little time for a quickie salon visit or even at-home removal. As international celebrity nail artist Tracylee Percival tells us, “damage from gel polish is typically caused by improper removal, which damages and removes layers of the nail plate.”

“Nails do not regenerate themselves like our skin does when cut,” continues Percival. “The damaged nails have to grow out completely for true repair.” Shelly Hill, general manager of non-toxic nail salon Base Coat in Los Angeles, agrees.

Gel nail polish removal “is a pretty aggressive and traumatizing process — being soaked in acetone and then scraping off the gel is very drying and damaging to your nails,” says Hill, who’s also worked with stars like Gwen Stefani and Nicki Minaj. “[Hydration] is always the best medicine,” she says, adding that vitamin E oil can help moisturize damaged nails.

Samira Far, founder of California-based luxury nail salon Bellacures (which has locations across Los Angeles and in Dallas), has another recommendation, but frequent salon visitors won’t like it: avoid polish manicures altogether to help your nails heal.

Other steps you can take include using a nail buffer regularly to smooth out damaged nails as they grow out. “Every other day or so, use a nail buffer to even out the surface of your nails. There is most likely a ridge in your nail where the gel nail began near your cuticle,” says Hill. “Buffing also increases blood circulation to your nails for quicker growth, this will even out the nail plates and prevent further peeling.”

She adds that “weekly soaks will also help in the recovery process. Warm milk will whiten and make your nails stronger.” For stained nails, she recommends mixing lemon juice (“a natural bleaching agent”) and water in a bowl, then soaking your nails in the citrus concoction for 10 minutes.

If you, too, are guilty as charged when it comes to peeling off your gel manicure, note that not all hope is lost: in addition to the previously mentioned nail care tips, we’ve asked our experts for their top products for nursing gel polish-damaged nails back to health.

Scroll through the gallery above to see top product picks, then let us know if you’ve got any DIY treatments for restoring your damaged nails.

Below, watch our hosts of The SASS get a non-toxic manicure at Côte Nail Salon in Los Angeles.