Too Many Gel Manis? Here's How to Repair Damaged Nails

Updated 08/13/19
how to repair damaged nails
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From first impressions to overall health, nails can be one of the trickiest areas to upkeep, particularly if you're one to indulge regularly in gel manicures or acrylics. It's not only our beauty habits that wear down nails. Hand-heavy activities like certain sports, gardening, or even using harsh chemicals while cleaning can affect nail health and have a huge impact on both appearance and comfort. So what’s the best way to fix nails once the damage is done? essie’s Global Lead Educator, Rita Remark, gave us some insight. See how to repair damaged nails with 10 simple hacks.

01 of 10

Use a Cuticle Cream or Oil

Remark notes that one of the easiest ways to repair damaged nails to apply a cuticle oil followed by a hand cream. "Cuticle oils deliver vitamins and nourishment and the cream will lock moisture. Moisture loss is a common symptom of gel nail damage," Remark says. Ingredients like shea butter or argan oil—a prime ingredient in Grown Alchemist's Cuticle Oil—help soothe nails and are gentle enough to be applied multiple times daily or overnight.

Cuticle Oil.
Grown Alchemist Cuticle Oil $29
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02 of 10

Soak Nails in Olive Oil

This is one of the least expensive methods for DIY nail repair. Simply soak your nails in olive oil for about 10 to 15 minutes daily. If you suffer from dry skin, soaking your feet (or hands during dry winter months) can be a luxurious treatment for both nails and skin. 

Ultimate Organic Therapy Extra Virgin Olive Oil Stimulating Growth $6
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03 of 10

Up Your Biotin Intake

One of the best nutrients for hair, skin, and nails is biotin. Aim to consume 30 micrograms daily, and consider incorporating a multivitamin into your daily wellness regimen. Remark says, "This absolutely works, but don't expect instant results. Nails take three months to grow out from root to tip, so be persistent and you'll see fundamentally stronger nails in three months."

Other nutrients like calcium and vitamin C can also have an impact on nail health.

Killer Nails Supplements
Hum Nutrition Killer Nails Supplements $20
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04 of 10

Use a Keratin Treatment

A daily treatment like Nails Inc Nailkale can majorly expedite the healing process. This product uses elements like kale extract, botanical oils, and keratin to improve the smoothness, strength, and overall condition of nails.

Nailkale Superfood Base Coat
Nails Inc Nailkale Superfood Base Coat $15
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05 of 10

Strengthen with Collagen and Camellia Extract

In addition to a Keratin option, Remark highly recommends a steady regime of essie's treat love & color line, which includes ingredients such as collagen and camellia extract. "It's a clinically proven nail strengthener with results boasting 35% less breakage and 60% less peeling in just one week. It’s strong enough to heal your nails, not just shield them. It also comes in plenty of colors to cover any physical evidence of nail damage on the surface of your nail."

essie treat love and color
essie Finish Line Fuel $10
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06 of 10

Massage Your Fingertips

Who doesn't love a hand massage? Now you can add repairing damaged nails to the list of reasons why. "Do this every time you apply cuticle oil for added benefit. I'd also recommend filing your nails every three days to stimulate blood flow (which can increase the delivery of vital nutrients and improve circulation)," Remark says. "Think of it as the same technique you use to grow your hair: getting a trim every couple of months to manage dead ends and stimulate growth."

07 of 10

Drink More Water

Damaged nails are often the result of dehydration. Make sure you're consuming plenty of water daily, and up your intake of nutrient-rich hydrating foods.

08 of 10

Change Your Polish Removal Routine

Traditional nail polish removers (especially those that contain acetone) can have a damaging effect on nail health. One of the best ways to repair damaged nails is to minimize your exposure to chemical-heavy products. Instead, opt for a gentle polish remover like Ella+Mia Soy Polish Remover.

Ella+Mila Soy Nail Polish Remover $12
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09 of 10

Wear Gloves

Our hands come into contact with a variety of harsh substances each day. Opt for gentle soaps and cleansers, and wear gloves when you're performing tasks that might be rough on your skin and nails.

Up & Up Multi-Purpose Latex Gloves $9
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10 of 10

Moisturize Routinely

Getting into the habit of applying lotion after you wash your hands can be a fantastic way to habitually repair damaged nails. Keep a bottle of lotion beside every sink in your house to experience the difference.

Sans [ceuticals] Baobab Body and Hand Repair Cream $30
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Up next, read on to learn how to grow stronger nails with a few simple tips.

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