How to Repair Nails Damaged by Gel Polish

We all love gel manicure - it looks great, lasts long and you don't need to wait for the paint to dry. Gel polish can also actually be great for your nails but it depends on the type of polish and the way it is applied and taken off. 

For those who have seen the bad side of gel polish and manicures, we are going to show you how to repair nails damaged by gel polish. The most important place to start is to invest in a good nail strengthener

The first thing you should know is that gel polish should NOT be damaging your nails. If you do find your nails weaker after a gel application, your gel manicure routine needs to change. We will be answering your questions like ‘what is the healthiest manicure for your nails?’.

Before we discuss prevention, we are going to discuss the cure for nails damaged by gel polish. The main goal is to protect and strengthen your nails while they grow out.

What This Article Covers:

Repairing Damaged Nails From Gel Polish 

You may have recently removed your gel polish and noticed that your nails have become brittle and weak and perhaps even struggle to grow. This is actually a common occurrence after gel polish, especially if you pick the polish off yourself and do not get it removed properly.

Get Those Nails Trimmed

Unfortunately, the first thing you need to do is cut and file your nails. They will need to be short and even. If your nails are brittle, they are likely going to break off. You can avoid this by keeping them as short as possible with a nail file.

Along with keeping them trimmed, make sure you have a nail buffer to safely get rid of any ridges on your nails. This should also prevent any tears in your nails. Nail buffers are much softer than nail files so they are safe to use across your nails. 


Next, you need to moisturize your nails. If they are looking worse for wear after gel, your nail beds are likely dehydrated. Fortifying nail cream and cuticle oil are great ways to get them hydrated again. Our Argan Cuticle Oil Drops and Cuticle Oil+ are the perfect solutions to moisturize your nails.

how to repair nails after gel polish


Strengthen Your Nails 

It may be tempting to dive right into another gel manicure if your nails are feeling thin, but don't just go for a regular gel manicure. Rather invest in specific nail treatment. The best nail strengthener polish is what you should be looking for. ORLY Nail Defense is a perfect example of this.

A nail strengthener polish can come in many different variations. The great thing is that when applied, they look like a clear or slightly nude varnish. A nail strengthener polish is important because it provides an extra layer of protection to your nails to strengthen them.

Nail strengthener polishes also provide important nourishing nutrients to your nails to help repair them. This is what makes them superior to other varnishes for your nails.

Get Your Nails Growing Again

You may also find nail treatments in the form of a ‘nail growth polish’. Does gel polish help nails grow? The answer is yes it can. The best nail growth polish is also a form of treatment for damaged nails. 

Nail polish that is specialized for growth also helps repair the nails. Once nails recieve restorative moisture and vitamins they begin to grow. These products should contain proteins as an ingredient to encourage repair and growth. Once your nails grow out, you can focus on nail strengthening treatments to keep them healthy.

Watch Out For Strange Symptoms

Note that if you notice any strange symptoms from your gel manicure that are not weak or brittle nails, you need to pay attention to them. You may not be dealing with a bad manicure but an allergic reaction instead.

Being allergic to nail polish is very common with gel polish that contains toxic ingredients. Any strange symptoms anywhere else on your body should be checked out by a medical professional.

How To Prevent Damaging Your Nails 

Gel polish can be great for your nails if you are using the right products. If you have had a bad experience with a gel manicure, it does not mean you have to give up gel for good. If you follow our advice, your nails will continue to be healthy and strong.

A Good Base Coat

repair nails after gel polish

The base coat used in a gel manicure is important. If you are prone to weak nails, invest in a base coat that doubles as a nail treatment. This will protect and nourish your nails even when you have a gel manicure on top of it.

Stop Picking Your Nails

We know it’s tempting, but do not pick off your gel paint. This is really bad for your nails as you peel some of your nail off with the polish. Rather invest in the best peel-off nail polish if you want to go down this route or get your gel properly taken off. 

You can get kits to take off your gel manicures at home safely. This will save you time and money if you are wanting to avoid a salon. 

Address Nail Problems Early

If you have an issue with the health of your nails, address it sooner rather than later. If your nails are brittle or have a fungus, it is much easier to treat them as soon as you notice the problem. Luckily, there are great products for any nail issues you may have.

You will notice a fungus under your nail when your nail turns into a white, yellow, or brown color. It can also make the nail split or crack and appear thicker than normal. This is very common, especially with toenails. 

Can nail polish cause fungus? Fungus is not usually caused by the nail polish itself, but a polish can contribute to its growth. Many thick gel polishes block any light to the nails which is conducive to fungal growth. 

The best thing to do if you have a fungus already is to get special nail polish for fungus. This can come in the form of paint or serum to apply to the infected nail. If you are desperate to hide the nail, only use breathable nail polish to cover it up.

Nail Treatments

Gel nail manicures do not have to be rough or damaging to your nails. If you apply gel regularly, you should invest in nail treatments to ensure strong and healthy nails. You should also always make sure you know what is going on under your polish in case there is a problem you need to address. 

Make sure you research the right products for you to make sure that you are catering to your nails’ needs. If you are vegan, make sure to ask for the best cruelty-free nail polish. If your nails and skin are sensitive, ask for non-toxic nail polishes. 

ORLY has something for everyone.

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