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How to Repair Your Nails After Shellac or Polish

April 04, 2022 4 min read

Shellac polish can ruin your natural nails. Scraping and peeling off cured nail polish can physically remove the top layers of your nail bed. If the damage is already done, learn how you can repair broken, brittle, or flaky nails with all-natural ingredients.

Do you need to rehab your nails? Learn how to reverse the damage of gel manicures.

Nails are indicative of your personal style, and they can be a window into your overall health. While gel and shellac (a gel-polish hybrid) manicures make it easy to go about life without worrying about chips, cured polishes can leave your natural nails brittle and dry.

No one wants flaky, peeling nails that break at the drop of a hat. Here's a look at common nail problems from shellac and how to repair your nails to reverse the damage.

Why Does Shellac Ruin Natural Nails?


Any polish that is cured onto your nail has the potential for nail damage. Usually, shellac and gel manicures begin by intentionally damaging the top layer of the nail bed to essentially "rough it up." They do it because the polish adheres better to a textured surface.

If you don't remove shellac or gel polish correctly, you risk peeling off layers of your natural nails. This is because one (or more) layers of your nail plate are removed whenever you scrape the gel off without breaking the bond. Natural nails are much weaker, thinner, and prone to breakage without these protective layers.

The Most Common Post-Gel & Shellac Problems


01. White Spots or Lines

The removal process causes most post-manicure damage. Using the wrong tools and techniques can lead to uneven nail plates, white spots (indicating injury), or divots in your nails.

02. Brittle, Weak, Thin Nails

Are your nails constantly breaking once the polish comes off? The thick coats of lacquer can actually keep fragile nails from breaking, but once that protective layer is removed, the nails could break at every little tap and touch.

03. Peeling or Flaking Nails

Sometimes the nails can peel or flake away after removing cured polish. The nails are made up of keratin (yes, the same protein that makes up hair). Like how your hair can become dry and brittle after too much heat, color, or styling, the nails can also lose essential moisture.

04. Sore Nails After Gel Removal

You should never have pain during or after a manicure. If you feel pain after any nail treatment, it's a clue that your nails are damaged to the point that they're no longer functioning as an effective barrier.

Cuticle oils help increase your nails' circulation, stimulate nail growth, and protect your nail and cuticle against trauma.

How to Repair Damaged Nails


So what's the best way to restore nails once the damage is done? It's about mending the root of your nail problem rather than covering the issue with a (metaphorical) band-aid. Unfortunately, damaged nails after a manicure is a reality for a lot of people. But remember, nails can replenish and grow but it can take about 3 to 6 months to completely replace a nail so we need to look after them!

After a couple of back-to-back appointments at the nail salon, it's probably time to treat your nails to rehab. Here's how to repair, rejuvenate, and improve your natural nails.

Shop Nourish My Cuticles - Nail and Cuticle Oil


Natural Cuticle Oil, Australian Made

Our concentrated natural vegan nail and cuticle oil is specially formulated to strengthen, hydrate and repair your cuticles and nails.

  • Natural and organic nail and cuticle care
  • Helps to reduce nail breakage
  • Nourishes and hydrates cuticle skin and nails
  • Does not contain Petrochemicals, Paraffins, Alcohol or other harmful chemicals
  • Stimulates nail growth and smooths ragged cuticles
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Step 1: Give Your Nails a Break


Most nail technicians suggest giving your nails at least a week-long break every eight weeks. Shellac, gel, dip dye, and acrylics require buffing the nails beforehand, and the harsh acetone for used removal compromises the top layer of the nail. We’d suggest longer but of course its a personal choice.

Step 2: Apply a Cuticle & Nail Oil


The easiest way to repair damaged nails is to apply an oil formulated with essential vitamins and nourishing ingredients. Cuticle oils help increase your nails' circulation, stimulate nail growth, and protect your nail and cuticle against trauma.

The Nourish My Cuticles - Nail and Cuticle Oil is a natural and organic blend of oils and therapeutic essential oils used to nourish, treat and protect the nails and cuticles, improving overall nail health. Every drop penetrates deep into the nail bed to hydrate, treat and soften dry cuticles and help repair brittle and damaged nails.

What We Love About Nourish My Cuticles:


  • Repairs & strengthens cuticle skin & nails
  • Rebuilds the nail after polish and shellac removal
  • Fast-absorbing, non-greasy blend
  • Natural & organic nail & cuticle care
  • Stimulates nail growth & smooths ragged cuticles
  • No Petrochemicals, Paraffins, Alcohol, or other harmful chemicals
  • Helps to reduce nail breakage
  • Nourishes & hydrates cuticle skin & nails
  • Antifungal, anti-inflammatory, & antibacterial

Step 3: Drink More Water!


Water is vital for so many things, including nail health. If your nails are especially prone to problems like peeling, brittleness, and broken nails, drinking more water can help keep your cuticles and hands healthy.

Try upping your daily water intake and add more nutrient-rich hydrating foods to your diet. Other nutrients like calcium and vitamin C can also impact nail health.

Major Nail Mistakes to Avoid


The worst thing you can do to your nails is peel off gel polish or shellac yourself. Picking at the polish instead of removing it properly is the leading cause of nail damage.

You can remove polish safely at home but keep in mind it takes patience!

The Secret to Happy, Healthy Nails


We get it. No one wants to take the time to paint their nails, only for the polish to chip the next day. Gel and shellac manicures are chip resistant and lasting, but they can also cause nail brittleness, peeling, and cracking.

To keep your nails healthy before, during, and after your manicures, apply the Nourish My Cuticles - Nail and Cuticle Oil to strengthen, hydrate, and repair your cuticles and nails.

Shop Nourish My Cuticles - Nail and Cuticle Oil


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