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