We all know that gel manicures aren't the best for our nails, but very often, we just can't help it. It's the lure of shiny, chip-free, long-lasting nail colour that keeps us coming back.
The downside to gel manicures though is that the colour forms a thick occlusive layer on the nail plate, preventing the nail from 'breathing', causing them to become brittle, discoloured and thin. Another bane of gel manicures is the almost irresistable urge to peel off the colour once it starts to lift-off. The danger here is that the LED-cured gel colour has bonded so well to your nails that peeling it off takes layers of your own nail with it.
But there's no point crying over spilt milk. If you have damaged your nails, here's what you need to do now.
#1. Hydrate nails and cuticles
Clockwise from top left: Reverence de Bastien Unguent for Nails and Cuticles, $24.23 from Net-a-porter.com; Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream, $18; Butter London Quickfix Moisturizing Cuticle Balm, $28; Jason Purifying Tea Tree Nail Saver, $8.78 from iHerb; Kocostar 5 Finger Nail Pack, $7.
Dry nails become so week that the layers tend to lift and peel off. These nail hydrators pack both water-based as well as oil-based ingredients to do the job.
#2. Save your strength
Clockwise from top left: Alcina Effective Nail Hardener, $24.95; Ciate London Nail Super Hero Nail Hardener, $18; Manicare Calcium Nail Builder, $11.90; Sally Hansen Nail Rehab, $19.90; Nails Inc Nail Grow Treatment, $36.
Rebuild and strengthen nails with these treatments that boast ingredients like calcium, plus they often contain antioxidants like matcha to protect nails from further damage too.
#3. Soften and protect
Clockwise from top left: Caudalie Hand & Nail Cream, $20; Sebamed Hand + Nail Balm, $18; Deborah Lippmann The Cure, US$22.93 from Net-a-porter.com; Organic Surge Tropical Bergamot Hand And Nail Cream, $14.9 from RedMart; Savannah Bee Company Inc, Organic, Beeswax Hand and Nail Salve, $13.42 from iHerb.
To seal in all the nail hydration and strengthening products you've applied, apply a hand and nail cream often, like everytime you wash your hands.