I’ve been a fan of gel polish ever since my manicurist first pulled out a little blue light box over a decade ago and said, “You’re going to love this.” She was right. With long-lasting wear and no drying time, I don’t have to anxiously wait for polish to cure, worry about chipping, or lug nail accessories on vacation. For all the gel benefits, there’s one thing I’m not a fan of: the way my naturally long nails get thin and brittle, and then break.
After recent back-to-back gel manicures (something I don’t normally do) left my nails paper-thin and down to the stumps, I vowed to break up with gel for good – until my next vacation when I couldn’t resist the charms of gel. But two discoveries have changed my life (ok, at least the life of my nails): the new Butter London Quick Slip Cuticle Oil ($22), PD Fast Dry Conditioning Drops ($18), a dry oil serum that conditions cuticles and speeds up drying time (more on that in a minute). Using both products after the gel was a game changer – not only did my nails stay strong and not break, but they actually grew longer.
Because gel polish and the acetone used to remove dry nails and cuticles, it’s essential to add moisture — in fact, it’s a misconception that you should let nails “breathe” and avoid products after gel removal because nails have porous surfaces that need moisture, says Christine Douana Los Angeles-based nail artist and licensed cosmetologist.
“Think of it like a honeycomb versus a wafer biscuit. The honeycomb is porous but filled with the honey itself. If you were to extract the honey over time, the wax would harden and dry out, making the shell more prone to damage and breakage on impact,” Doan explains. sustain damage.”
To keep nails hydrated, Quick Slip Cuticle Oil contains humectant glycerin as well as sunflower, jojoba and coconut oils, emollients that help support the skin barrier. “Together, these ingredients hydrate the cuticles and the skin around them,” explains board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, MD. “The health of the cuticles is important because they help seal the transition zone between the skin and the nails.”
The star ingredient in PD Quick Dry Conditioning Drops is rosehip oil, which contains anti-inflammatory fatty acids, and vitamins A and C, which hydrate, hydrate and provide an antioxidant boost, King says. The oil also contains vitamin F, which is not a vitamin but a term used for alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid, hydrating fatty acids that replenish the skin barrier, she explains.
“Vitamin F may be particularly helpful for people with skin conditions characterized by impaired skin barrier function, which is a common problem with dry cuticles,” King adds.
A post-freeze game changer
After my recent gel polish removal, I used Butter London Cuticle Oil as Doan recommends – at least once a day, especially before bed, followed by hand cream. The small applicator brush makes it easy to target your cuticles without the mess of an eyedropper and although rich in oils, its texture is non-greasy.
In just one use, I fell in love with the conditioning drops – after polishing, you use the little dropper to apply a dab of oil in the middle of the nail, and There, your nails are quick-drying. The drops didn’t just make the drying time super short (great for people like me who can’t sit still), they added a nice layer of shine. “I apply the drops a few minutes after I finish my manicure – top coat included – and they will be dry to the touch almost immediately. After five or 10 minutes, you can go about your day naturally,” says Doan.
I honestly couldn’t believe the difference in post-gel manicure to my nail and cuticle health with these products – no more usual breakage and brittleness, replaced with strong nails that just kept growing. While I’m happy (and relieved) I don’t need to completely break away from gel manicures, with such amazing results, I’ve embraced the products not just for post-gel use, but to show off my TLC nails every day.
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