How to Repair Nails Damaged by Gel Manicures

May 25, 2022
How to Repair Nails Damaged by Gel Manicures

By dint of maltreating them with too many manicures, our nails soften, split or break. To give them back all the vitality they merit, we place on a health care routine, suggested by makeup artist and nail expert Agathe Pons, nickname BleuCocotte.

Many of us admire having awesome and polished nails. But sometimes, our manicures do a lot of damage: badly used false nails, aggressive products, abuse of sanders, softening capsules or gel… An explosive cocktail that ends up damaging and weakening them.

To heal our nails in need of care and be certain to have the right gestures, we apply to the letter the recommendation of Agathe Pons, manicure expert and founder of the BleuCocotte brand, very keen on the health of our nails…

SOS nails in distress: emergency care

Some aggressions do not ignore and can generate violent allergies, infections, burns, or even severe injuries that would give any manicure worthy of the term a stomach ache. 

If you are the target of a nail emergency, you act fast and, above all, don’t stress.

There is no benefit cure for regaining perfectly healthy nails overnight. And if some specialists recommend the use of formalin-based products to treat them; our specialist is totally against it. 

According to her, the most useless cases are treated gently over a period of time that alters depending on the harshness.

First, we remove everything that is on our nails such as varnish, semi-permanent or false nails, and let our real nails respire. 

Then, we clean our hands with a very delicate product so as not to attack our bruised nails. If they are not already too short, we trim our nails well to reduce the surface to be treated.

You can also permit yourself a very light roughening to flatten the nail with a sponge file, but only if you have a hollow or a demarcation formed by a sander or false nails.

In terms of care, we avoid anything that attacks: no exfoliation, nor creams never tried before. On the other hand, we have a heavy hand on restorative and healing creams that we apply several times a day, in a thick layer. 

Also Read: How to Take Care of Split, and Brittle Nails

We take care of our skin and our cuticles with a cuticle oil that we apply generously. For it to penetrate better, massage for a few seconds and try not to wash your hands for several hours. Bedtime is the perfect time for this type of treatment.

To repair our nails and give them back all their resistance, we use a product that Agathe Pons is particularly fond of: the “Millionails” repair varnish from Essie, which she considers to be “a miracle treatment” because this varnish combines the components of a classic varnish with a shield of fibers and iron that diffuses active molecules. 

The expert recommends applying a layer every evening for 5 days then removing everything, and so on until you find stronger and harder nails. For the lightest cases, a week will suffice, but dramatic situations will require a month’s treatment.

Obviously, if the injuries or the pain are too great, if the appearance of the nails is worrying, we rush without thinking to a dermatologist.

Instructions for a healthy manicure

Once the crisis is over, we take on new habits with a complete and regular maintenance ritual. Reclaiming our natural nails is the best solution to no longer hide your hands in your sleeves and expose them again with pride. We thus review the order of our priorities and we focus on what is truly important in terms of manicure: care.

  • Focus on hygiene

Every good manicure starts with an impeccable cleaning. “To remove the dirt that regularly nests under our nails, we put a nail brush in our bathroom and use it every day,” advises the manicurist. 

  • Pamper our hands

If we want to do things well, we plan to scrub our hands once a week with suitable scrub. Then, we complete it by applying a hand cream several times a day. This must be chosen according to the nature of our skin: dry, dehydrated hands…

  • Find the right length

No need to let fragile nails grow, to adopt the length we need, we look at our bare nails, without varnish, and we cut so as to have a maximum of 1 millimeter of free edge (the white part of the nail). Those who never do without nail polish can allow themselves slightly longer nails.

In practice: to shorten nails that are too long, they are first cut with a classic nail clipper or scissors, then the shape of the nail is adjusted with a glass file or with a fairly fine grain. Beware of metal files that are much too aggressive.

  • Don’t forget the cuticles

“If there was only one product left, it would undoubtedly be cuticle oil,” says Agathe Pons. Often composed of several oils (cotton, almond, apricot, avocado), it is not only an emergency treatment and can be applied every evening before going to bed for daily maintenance. 

“We leave the bottle on our bedside table, we put a drop on each nail, and we massage. In 30 seconds watch in hand our cuticles are nourished and sublimated thanks to the oil which acts during the night.”

The virtues of the oil combined with the benefits of the massage stimulate growth as well as the quality of the blood exchanges. So with daily care, we say goodbye to small dry skin and hello to healthy cuticles.

  • Polish in moderation

Using our sponge file, it is possible to even out the surface of our nails. However, even if the latter are relatively healthy, we should only roughen them once a month because if we abuse this tool we risk thinning our nails too much, weakening them and consequently causing splitting or even breakage.

  • Sorting through our tools

Who has never had a cuticle cutter or a boxwood stick in their kit? If these two tools, as widespread as they are inadequate, are still lying around with us, we throw them away immediately. 

Indeed, they are responsible for injuries and sometimes even infections. Only a professional should be able to tackle cuticle trimming. 

On the other hand, thanks to a quality metal pusher, we can push back the skin of the bottom of the nail ourselves to enlarge its surface.

  • Do not confuse base and protective varnish

Some of us apply a base coat to protect our nails, but this product is only used to receive a varnish.

The right products: if we want to protect or repair our nails, we opt for a hardening protective varnish such as “Millionails” from the Essie brand, to be used in “one-shot” or regularly during treatment, as described above. Otherwise, for fewer broken nails, she suggests the “Treat love and color”.

These products have a long checklist of qualities since they can be employed as bases under varnish thanks to their protective movement.

The main “risk situations” for our nails

It is often believed that the miracle recipe for beautiful nails is to opt for a pretty carefully applied varnish. Error! The most beautiful and trendy color will have no charm if applied to diseased or poorly maintained nails. 

This is why in parallel with our routine, we must be far-sighted and anticipate certain daily situations that put our nails in danger.

  • Housework

Regardless of the activity or the product used: wearing gloves is mandatory. According to Agathe Pons, this is one of the first reflexes to have if you want healthy nails: “You have to be careful with degreasing or stripping products because they don’t spare our dear hands, on the contrary.” 

Dishwashing gloves sold on the market may be sufficient for certain tasks, but for the most meticulous work it is preferable to wear transparent disposable gloves or nitrile gloves without talc (to avoid any risk of allergy).

  • A broken fingernail

“If we break a nail, we shorten all the others. Out of the question to have a much shorter one”, explains our expert. Indeed, the fashion is no longer long endless claws but rather neat mid-length nails and especially at equal lengths. 

Beyond concealing the broken nail, this technique makes it possible to file the other fingers regularly and strengthen them.

Even if all forms of nails are in nature, however, it is necessary to make a reasonable choice. To avoid making mistakes, Agathe Pons advises choosing a rounded square shape, ideal for cleaning up damaged nails.

With all these tips, we can no longer say that we did not know how to take care of our hands.

Photo: Pexels/ Rodnae Productions

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Margaud Raynaud is a beauty expert with over 10 years of experience in the industry. She has a passion for sharing her knowledge and tips with others and has a particular interest in skincare and makeup. When she's not writing about health and beauty, Margaud enjoys trying out new products and experimenting with different looks. Follow her blog for expert advice and inspiration for living your best life.

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