How to care for weak nails after artificial nail treatments

Natalie Baker

If you've ever had artificial nail treatments like acrylics, extensions or gels, you'll know the frustration of having weaker nails once they've been removed. While your false manicure may look great at the time, dry and splitting nails look anything but. There's no magic cure that can instantly transform your nails, but there are ways to help care for and strengthen your nails after your falsies have been removed.

Stay short

Keep your nails short and shaped to encourage healthy growth. After having acrylic nails some time back, my nails are much weaker and more prone to breaking than ever before. I used to wear my nails medium-length but now I keep them shorter and they are healthier for it. A short square or squaroval (square-oval) shape is the best way to go. Nails can also be rough and bumpy after artificial nail removal (especially if you succumbed to temptation and picked them off) so gently buff weekly to smooth of your nail bed.

Let them breathe

Ditch the nail polish - or worse, more artificial nail treatments - for at least a month or two to give your nails a chance to mend. Nails grow faster in summer so now is the perfect opportunity to go sans polish. The chemicals in nail polish aren't great for your nails and can dry them out further. If you don't like the thought of naked nails, stick to clear nourishing treatments to give them a healthy lustrous appearance.

Treat with oils

I'm a huge fan of beauty oils (nail and hair) and I prefer the richer consistency to paint-on treatments. Treat dry, brittle nails with a nail oil treatment such as Orly's cuticle care complex: cuticle and nail treatment to condition your nails and promote healthy growth. Natural nails tend to look whiter after artificial nails have been removed because they've been oxygen-deprived. Take the time to massage the oil in gently and thoroughly to increase blood flow and circulation.


While donning rubber gloves when doing the washing up or dreaded household chores may not sound super glam, it's important to protect already damaged nails from harsh chemicals. Strong chemicals can cause your nails to dry out; definitely not what you need if you're suffering with brittle, peeling nails right now.

Good diet

Diet can dramatically affect the condition of your hair, skin and nails. Foods that contain biotin are thought to improve nail weakness and increase thickness. Up your intake of biotin, that can be found in egg yolks, soybeans, fish, lentils, milk and cereals.