How To Revive Your Nails After A Bad Gel Manicure

A gel manicure is a step up from regular nail polish. It adds strength to your natural nails without applying tips and acrylic, although it can also be used over acrylic or hard gel nails. Gel is better than regular polish because it goes through a three-step process that prevents it from smudging and makes it last longer on your nails. L'Oréal explains that a base coat is first applied, then a few layers of gel polish, and finally, the top coat. After each layer is painted on, it's cured under a UV lamp for 30 seconds to 2 minutes so the nails can dry.

While a gel manicure makes your natural nails stronger after it's applied, it'll actually make them weaker once removed. This can be an even bigger problem if the gel isn't taken off correctly. After about 14 days, your manicure will start chipping. If you're tempted to peel it off, your nails can become thin and weak. They may even get white spots, white lines, and become uneven. These problems won't go away until your nails grow out.

Remove the gel correctly

Removing your gel nails correctly is the first step to ensuring your natural nails will be healthy enough to revive. If you try to peel off the gel, you can risk taking off part of your natural nails with it. Not only will this leave you with uneven nails, but it can hurt if they get too short. Board-certified dermatologist Hadley King explained to Self that even though your nails may look okay after you improperly remove the gel, they are very damaged. This is because the naked eye can't see the damage you're doing to your nail plate. Ripping it off pulls apart the layers of your nail, making them brittle and dry.

The proper way to remove your gel manicure is simple but time-consuming. First, you need to file the top coat off your nails. The salon usually uses a nail dremel, but a regular file will complete the job at home. Then soak some cotton balls in acetone and keep them on your nails with tin foil or plastic wrap. Every formula is different, so periodically check how easy it is to remove the polish. If it's not budging, leave it to soak for longer. You should be able to use a cuticle stick to scrape it off your nails without much effort.

Use cuticle oil and nail strengthener

Once the gel is off your nails, you need to take extra care not to break them. They'll be weaker than usual and more prone to chipping or flaking. To prevent your nails from breaking unevenly, take a preventative step and cut them yourself. The longer they are, the more likely they are to break while you're doing everyday tasks. You should cut them short and round. Square and coffin shapes are weaker than if you rounded them. Then you should buff them, so the nail plate is smooth. Skipping this step can make the peeling worse if it catches on anything.

After you've taken precautions and prepped your nails to make them stronger, you can revive them with two products. Applying a nail strengthener and cuticle oil will endure that the new nail grows in strong and healthy. Pure Wow recommends using a nail strengthener treatment for a couple of weeks before applying any regular polish. Cuticle oil can be applied at least twice a day — just rub it into the nail and the surrounding skin. To get the most out of your cuticle oil, apply moisturizer after. Thick hand cream will create a barrier that seals the oil into your nails and skin.