I have to admit that I fell into the gel nail trap. And boy oh boy do I regret it! Close-ups of my hands and nails on camera made me paranoid. In the harsh lighting of a TV studio, I was advised by producers to “take care of my nails”. This translated to “you need to have perfectly polished nails for every segment you do”. Plus, I do tons of DIY and product review YouTube videos, and having scraggy nails with unruly cuticles doesn’t look great. So I feel into the gel trap. Granted, I used a non-toxic gel polish, but a gel is a gel! Anyway, 4 years of have gels (on and off), totally ruined my natural nails. So a few months ago I took affirmative action, and decided to detox from the gel! They’re now pretty healthy, so here’s how to repair damaged nails naturally.
If like me you’ve had gels scraped off your nail beds for years, you’ve likely got very thin nails. You can easily tell because your nails will have areas of red, which is where the nail has gotten really thin. Moreover having the gel scraped off begins to feel very uncomfortable. This same goes for acrylics. Although the nail bed won’t be as thin, it will be extremely damaged when the acrylics are removed.
Either way, I recommend a total detox. Pick a couple of weeks where you’re not going anywhere special (and you don’t mind your nails looking awful). I had the gels finally removed, had my cuticles pushed back, nails trimmed, and that is that. I put nothing on them for 2 weeks. Not even hard hardener. I let my poor nails see the light of day!
The next step was getting my nails stronger. Thin nails obviously break and tear really easily. So I used Tenoverten Nail Care System, and it has worked miracles. It consists of a nail strengthening base coat, and a “Shield” top coat. I also used MV Organics Hand Rescue, which is a beautiful treatment for your hand and your cuticles. This was how I nourished my nails for 2 weeks.
1 month after my gels were finally removed, I was ready to go back to polish. I took myself off to The Detox Market in Los Angeles and chose the most gorgeous natural pink shade, “Kimono” by Kure Bazaar (obsessed). And btw, the best nail polish remover I’ve EVER tried is also by Kure Bazaar.
I may decide to do the odd gel polish sometime in the future. If I have a special event, or I’m traveling somewhere for work. But I will never have gel nails continuously. It’ll be a once a year kind of deal. Lesson learned. And honestly, I love my scraggy natural nails back again. I’m keeping them short, and it feels great.