Beauty News

How to care for your nails after a gel manicure

Are you a fan of gel manicures? Your nails may need a little extra TLC

We all know that picking the gel polish off our nails is not recommended, but sometimes you just can’t help yourself (and it can be oddly satisfying). It starts perhaps two or three weeks after getting a flawless manicure pedicure, when you begin to notice some serious nail growth.

A corner starts to lift, you’re compelled to peel it a little and soon… well, we all know how that ends!

This small act can create real nail damage in the long-run. When we pick off gel nails – the gel polish, which is very securely attached to the natural nail – can peel away the top layer of the natural nail as it’s removed. Over time, this makes nails more prone to rough texture, patchiness, cracking and breaking. In addition, it will make it more difficult for the nails to hold polish and gel in the future. The good news? There are some tips and tricks to follow that will hopefully ensure healthy-looking nails all year round.

How do you remove gel nail polish from natural nails?

From left: OPI Expert Touch Polish Remover, $13.99, from life Pharmacy, Swisspers Cotton Square Pads, $7.64, from Chemist Warehouse, Cutex Ultra Powerful Nail Polish Remover, $4.99, from Chemist Warehouse, Truyu Pro Nail Files Medium/Medium, $8.99, from Life Pharmacy,

While we tend to focus on how to prolong our manicures, it’s also vital to give thought to removing gel polish correctly. Improper removal, such as picking or peeling, can increase the extent of damage to the nail plate.

To preserve your nail health, gently buff your nails with a nail file. then soak the nails with acetone polish remover, wrapping them in cotton wool pads with tinfoil to hold the pads in place.

However, it’s important not to expose your nails to acetone for too long, as it weakens and damages the nail over time. The best solution? Head to the salon to ensure professionals do your gel nail removal correctly and safely.

Moisturise your cuticles

From left: Revitanail Nourishing Oil, $15.99, from Chemist Warehouse, Sally Hansen Cuticle Rehab, $13.49, from Chemist Warehouse, Essie Apricot Nail & Cuticle Oil, $20.99, from Chemist Warehouse, OPI Pro Spa Exfoliating Cuticle Cream, $23, from Adore Beauty

Keeping your cuticles and nail beds moisturised after removing gel nails is important. By applying oil to your nails, nail beds and cuticles between manicures, you’re upping hydration levels and keeping them free from all kinds of nasties.

Dry, cracked or non-existent cuticles can lead to bacteria entering the nail bed, which can cause infection and weakening of the nails, so keep a bottle of oil on your desk, by the bed or in the kitchen as a reminder for regular application.

Take a break after you remove your gel nail polish

It can be tough if you love the look of a perfect manicure or pedicure, but gel polish holidays are always a good idea. Constant nail polish application of any kind can dry out and weaken the nails over time. Taking a break after removing gel nails allows them to recover.

Apply SPF to your hands

From left: Supergoop! Handscreen, $70.51, from Revolve, Ultra Violette Extreme Screen Hand & Body Sunscreen, $17.25, from Adore Beauty, Jane Iredale HandDrink Hand Cream, $45.50, from StrawberryNet

As well as being a non-negotiable when it comes to your daily skincare line-up, SPF should be a part of your nail care routine. Because gel nail polish requires curing with ultraviolet (UV) light, dermatologists recommend applying broad-spectrum sunscreen on your hands before placing them under the UV light at the nail salon.

You should also slather SPF on your hands in between appointments, especially if you work or exercise outside on a daily basis.

For the ultimate in nail care, keep your hands moisturised and cover them when doing household tasks

Sephora Collection Cucumber Hand Mask, $10, from Sephora, La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Mains Barrier Repairing Hand Cream, $28.05, from Adore Beauty

Keeping your hands covered is one way to preserve nail health after a gel manicure. This includes things such as wearing rubber gloves when doing household tasks, which helps avoid direct contact with harsh chemicals, and preventing unintentional nail peeling or chipping. Constant exposure to harsh soaps and chemicals can also dull your polish’s colour and shine.

Protecting and nourishing the skin on your hands is an important part of nail care as well. The health of the skin on your hands can affect the health of your nails, moisture loss is a major cause of nail breakage and brittleness. Keeping your hands moisturised and hydrated with a hand cream and regular hand masks can make a big difference to the health of your nails.

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