Female hands in spa salon
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20 Products That'll Save Your Damaged, Brittle Nails After Peeling Off a Gel Manicure

"The devil finds work for idle hands," said anyone that's ever picked off gel polish.
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Few things discourage a nail polish lover like a gel manicure gone wrong. It has the highest highs—glossy, super pigmented color that lasts at least two weeks—and the lowest lows. Cue a scene of us crumpling to the bathroom floor after compulsively picking off every bit of said gel nail polish. Sometimes we just can't help it! When there's one piece that starts to peel, it just seems easier to make the rest of your hand match. Plus – even though we know it's terrible for our nails – it's oddly satisfying to pick off that polish in one fell swoop. What was once a pristine, professionally done manicure is now a graveyard of broken nail dreams. Keyword: broken. Not to mention, brittle and peeling. If you've ever dealt with damaged nails, you know it's a slow road back to healthy cuticles and nail beds. Sometimes it's not even the gel mani; nails can be just naturally weak and brittle. Talk about a beauty day buzz kill.

Nail care doesn't have to feel like a chore. Once you've found products that work for you, a nail care routine can become the small moment of self-care that you treat yourself to each week. You'll become so good at taking care of your own nails that you won't even have to go back to the salon for that gel mani.

We've found a handy collection of nail treatment products to get our nails back into fighting shape when things go south. You'll find entire nail systems dedicated to repairing nails after gel manicure disasters (we've all been there!), and you'll find genius one-off strengthening polishes, cuticle creams, and reparative treatments to target your main concerns. A hand cream that doubles as a cuticle cream? Oh-la-la. Read on for the best products to help damaged, brittle nails get back in tip-top shape.

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Credit: Sephora

Hum Nutrition Killer Nails Supplements

Talk about low effort and high reward. Give your nails a boost from the inside-out with a plant-based biotin supplement that comes fortified with high-potency ingredients necessary for nail growth.

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OPI Start-to-Finish, 3-in-1 Treatment

This three-in-one system is perfect for those who have been wrecked by too many gel manicures. This treatment can be used as a base coat or topcoat. It can even be worn on its own for extra recovery time. 

BUY IT: $13.95; amazon.com

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Nails Inc. NAILKALE Superfood Base Coat

That's right: Superfoods aren't only meant for your smoothies. This antioxidant, five-benefit base coat comes infused with kale extract to strengthen damaged nails—which means this is already the healthiest thing we've put in or on our body all day. It's deeply nourishing, anti-splitting, and equipped with keratin hardening.

BUY IT: $15; sephora.com

Nails Inc. Gel-less Gel Nail Polish Remover Kit
Credit: JCPenney

Nails Inc. Gel-less Gel Nail Polish Remover Kit

What really strips and mangles your nails? Picking off gel polish at home. If you often find yourself too busy to stop into the salon to get gel polish soaked off, this is exactly what you need to keep from repeatedly damaging your nails. It comes with a conditioning polish remover to further ensure your nails don't come out totally stripped and brittle.

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Olive and June Ridge Filler
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Olive & June Ridge Filler

One of the peskiest side effects of brittle or damaged nails is undoubtedly the uneven ridges that develop on your nail plate (often paired with discoloration!). This occurs when your nails are prone to peeling or have experienced different stages of growth because of acrylic nail refills.

This base coat provides a smooth and flat canvas for when you're polishing damaged nails.

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Dr. Hauschka Neem Nail and Cuticle Pen
Credit: Dermstore

Dr. Hauschka Neem Nail and Cuticle Pen

Consider this your on-the-go cuticle companion. The convenient, travel-ready pen deposits a nourishing formula made with neem leaf to prevent breakage and chamomile to soften nail beds. Throw it in your purse, and always be prepared.

BUY IT: $19; dermstore.com

Butter London Hardwear Shine UV Topcoat
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Butter London Hardwear Shine UV Topcoat

Because, yes, you need sun protection there, too—especially if dealing with damaged nails. Let this ultra-shiny, chip-resistant topcoat protect your manicure and your nail beds.

BUY IT: $18; amazon.com

Ella + Mila Soy Nail Polish Remover
Credit: Target

Ella + Mila Soy Nail Polish Remover

The last thing that brittle nails need is exposure to any more harsh ingredients, like acetone. (That gel manicure was enough to strip them down as it is, am I right?)

Instead choose an acetone-free polish remover that also boasts good-for-you ingredients like this soy-based product. It's enriched with vitamins and lavender essential oils to promote healthier, moisturized nails.

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Barielle Nail Protein
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Barielle Nail Rebuilding Protein

Peeling nails? They're no match for this nifty rebuilding protein. It uses hydrolyzed wheat protein to help rebuild, fortify, and bond weak nail layers. Any ravaged and peeling post-acrylic digits will be transformed in no time.

BUY IT: $8.88; walmart.com

Deborah Lippmann 2-second intensive repair oil
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Deborah Lippman Intensive 2 Second Nail Primer

This nail-cleansing prep treatment is easy as 1, 2...yepp, that's it. Apply it before your strengthening base coat to ensure your longest-lasting manicure ever, which means your nails have more time to recover between manicures (and you get to avoid harsh nail products like polish remover for a little longer!).

BUY IT: $14; hsn.com

Majestic Pure Revitalizing Nail Treatment with Tea Tree
Credit: Walmart

Majestic Pure Revitalizing Nail Treatment with Tea Tree

This all-natural nail serum is made with tea tree, clove, and eucalyptus oils to simultaneously strengthen your nails, moisturize your cuticles, and promote nail health with anti-fungal properties. While it can be used on both hands and feet, it is a favorite Amazon find for people looking for toenail treatments.

BUY IT: $17.75; walmart.com

Dior Nail Glow
Credit: Nordstrom

Dior Nail Glow

If you're laying low on the nail color for a while, this topcoat-ish color gives the ultimate barely-there, your-nails-but-better glow. It's like a healthy pink flush for the nail beds—and you won't even miss your OPI "Bubble Bath" in the meantime.

BUY IT: $28; nordstrom.com

Nails Inc. 45-second top coat
Credit: Sephora

Nails Inc. Retinol 45 Second Top Coat

If you still want to add a little color to your nails and ensure that they'll last a while before seeing polish remover again, this Nails Inc. retinol topcoat is a long-lasting topcoat that guarantees a high gloss shine while protecting brittle nails. Ingredients like retinol and collagen help strengthen your nails while looking fabulous.

BUY IT: $15; sephora.com

Cuccio Cuticle Oil with Milk & Honey
Credit: Amazon

Cuccio Cuticle Oil with Milk & Honey

Much like our skin and hair, damaged nail beds are just begging for added hydration, which makes adding a cuticle oil to your routine an absolute must. This cult-favorite cuticle oil has over 1,100 five-star reviews on Amazon alone. (And the people don't lie.) Honey helps to naturally soothe and moisturize, and lactic acid from milk works to refresh and stimulate the skin.

BUY IT: $11.01; amazon.com

Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Set
Credit: Sephora

Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Lab Nail Treatment Set

You won't ever need to step foot in a salon again with this cuticle treatment set in your beauty cabinet. Skip the oftentimes unpleasant nipping and clipping of your cuticles by using this four-step set. A cuticle remover gently exfoliates any dead or dry cuticle skin, while the oil moisturizes and soothes brittle nails. The ultra-nourishing cuticle cream is full of ingredients like shea butter and Vitamin C to help restore your cuticles to their natural healthy glow. If you're ready to sweep on your next nail color, The Pusher will help shape your cuticles without cutting or breaking them.

BUY IT: $45; sephora.com

Nail-Aid Keratin Treatment
Credit: Amazon

Nail-Aid Keratin 3 Day Growth Nail Treatment & Strengthener

This nail growth treatment has over 12,000 5-star reviews on Amazon. It's a 20-free clean formula and is infused with keratin amino acids, which help strengthen nails. Simply apply two coats onto clean, dry nails, and reapply every three days for best results. It can also be used as a base and topcoat with your favorite polish.

BUY IT: $3.88; amazon.com

Nails Inc. NAILKALE Superfood Oil Capsules
Credit: Sephora

Nails Inc. NailKale Superfood Nail Oil Capsules

As you're winding down for bed each night, why not incorporate a nail care step into your routine with these daily dose nail oil capsules. Jojoba oil and celery extract will help nourish your nails and cuticles with each use. The capsules are biodegradable too, so you can feel good about this one-use-wonder product.

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ONYX Hard as Hoof
Credit: Amazon

ONYX Professional Hard as Hoof Nail Strengthening Cream

This product may take the winning baton. With over 30,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, buyers can't stop raving about this hand cream. It's packed with ingredients like jojoba oil, minerals, calcium, and beeswax for a hydrating and long-lasting formula. Pair it with your favorite clean nail polish, and see results in just a short month.

BUY IT: $7.94; amazon.com

ORLY Breathable Treatment and Color
Credit: Ulta

ORLY Breathable Treatment + Color

This ORLY nail polish eliminates the need for a base coat or topcoat with its strengthening formula. Argan oil plus Vitamins B5 and C help to nourish nails, and you can still rock your favorite color. We thought this pastel color "Kiss Me, I'm Kind" was especially appropriate for a subtle nail recovery color.

BUY IT: $9.99; ulta.com

Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream
Credit: Amazon

Caudalíe Nourishing, Antioxidant Hand and Nail Cream

Praised for their formulas and skin-saving products, Caudalíe has another winner with this cream. Shea butter and grape seed oil make for a luxurious combination in this hand cream. Keep it in your purse as a trusty lotion whenever your hands need a refresh while on the go.

BUY IT: $15; amazon.com