how to repair nails

How to repair nails after shellac

Nikki ParkinsonBeauty 43 Comments

Wowsers. I just had a look back in the Styling You archives and found that I first wrote about Shellac gel nails back in August 2010.

I tell you, I’m an early adopter of any beauty treatment that makes your life easier.

The reason I jumped on this nail trend was that finally I could see sense in a proper manicure and nail colour application as it would last more than a day before chipping.

Quite frankly I’m an absolute shocker when it comes to nail care so having a colour applied that sticks has been hugely appealing.

That’s why I’ve continued to embrace this nail colour trend.

The thing is, what I’ve learned over the past four and a half years is that having too many gel nail treatments in a row is not good for my nails. This applies to all nail gel applications – not just Shellac.

What I’ve found is that the ideal gel nail scenario for me is about one application a month. This means for two weeks of every month your nails are free from gel and you can treat them in preparation for the next application.

What I’ve also found is that apart from better nail health, that next application of Shellac “sticks” and stays longer if I’ve given it a break, rather than gone from one Shellac to another.

Here’s what I use in between Shellacs to repair nails. I don’t wear all of them at once – they are all part of my arsenal and I call upon them at different times for different reasons.


1. Butter London Horse Power Nail Fertiliser $27: You won’t find any nasties in this one – just a powerful ingredient called horsetail extract – which doesn’t come from the tail of any horse but is a herb that soothes and strengthens the nail.

2. Revitanail Whitening Glow $10.49 (on sale at Priceline): This one is brilliant if you have yellowing nails that need smoothing out. No nasties. A quick application takes nails from meh to marvellous.

3. CND RescueRXx $8.95: I love having keratin treatments on my hair – this is a keratin product for your nails. It’s designed to help diminish white spots and peeling. Apply and massage into bare nails twice daily. For best results use for four week.

4. L’Oreal Paris 7 in 1 Saviour Miracle Serum $8.95: This is a base coat that you can wear on your own. It helps with all visible signs of nail stress – breaks, splits, chips, ridges and yellowing. It also looks good as a neutral nail colour on its own.

The other thing I do if I know that I don’t need my nail colour to go as long a distance is that I opt instead for CND Vinylux on my nails.

This gives you colour up to seven days and doesn’t seem to weaken my nails as much. I don’t get the promoted seven days due to my chronic ill treatment of my nails but I usually get three to four days without chips and I can repair small chips at home as this doesn’t need a UV or LED light to cure the colour.

Here are two of the new colours I’ve embraced of late. The colour range is huge and growing – and if you have a favourite Shellac colour, it’s available in Vinylux.

CND Vinylux in Beckoning Begonia

CND Vinylux in Beckoning Begonia

CND Vinylux in Crushed Rose

CND Vinylux in Crushed Rose

Tell me about your nails and how or if you colour them? Have you had success with gel nail colour? How do you repair nails?

Comments 43

  1. Can you use Shellac Polish over CND Ridge Filler? I have been using Shellac Polish for a long time. My

    nails are peeling and cracked down the middle now. I have CND Ridge Filler.

    1. Post
  2. I had shellac on my nails by a professional,but had them removed at a walk in shop. They have ruined my nails.They filed off the polish ,so my nails are very very thin and brittle. I always had good strong nails. I went back to complain,but they didn’t seem to understand me or maybe they didn’t want to. Will never have them done again. This post described pros and cons of shellac nail polish very nicely. Thanks

  3. I read this post today and could not agree more! I have just had my fourth treatment in a row about two weeks ago and my nails are so weak!! Time for abreak and work with the Revitanail!

  4. CND have brought out IBX that can be added to your Shellac application, this strenghthens your nails. I agree with Nikki, 2wks on, 2wks off. And matching Vinylux for toes, rather than Shellac.

  5. I must be one of the lucky few! I have shellac polish on my nails more often than not and my nails are just perfect! The secret that I was put onto by a Jamacian girl a few years back – coconut oil massaged in every night! I was on a cruise and she was the nail technician doing my manicure and we got onto talking about nail care and that’s when she told me about coconut oil. Not the suntan coconut oil but the oil you buy in a jar. That was in December 2012 and I’ve been following her advice since then! Mind you the coconut oil ‘thing’ has become much more widely advertised since!

  6. Not sure of the validity of this but I have heard that the UV light is just like putting your hands in a sun bed and equally as dangerous

  7. I’m a recent convert to SNS and it’s SO much stronger than shellac on my nails. It claims to be healthy/better for your nails but I don’t believe that for a minute 😉 I think shellac claimed the same thing when it first came out! As far as caring for my nails, well I’ve had back to back treatments for at least 5 years with no breaks… at all. My nails are like paper underneath but I can’t bring myself to have ‘nude’ nails. I know, I’m naughty.

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  9. Great advice about giving your nails a break and a bit of TLC in between. I’m currently obsessed with the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel nail polish range. You don’t need a UV lamp – just two coats of polish and one coat of the special top coat. Dries super quickly and I put it to the ultimate test – washed dishes, cleaned the house, did some gardening – and they lasted a full 7 days before the first chip appeared. Keep an eye on the Priceline catalogue as they quite often do 2 for $20 specials!

  10. I’ve always done my own nails (couldn’t stand anyone touching my feet!!!) love my Revitanail ridge filler, have been known to use anything from a $4 nail colour to a $20 nail colour. I find them all much of a muchness. I have taken to using Sally Hansen miracle gel top coat over everything. Gives me a good few days chip free. Usually after a few days I am looking for a change anyway. Highly recommend maybelline express remover …dip and remove. Simple, mess free and super effective. A dip and a twist and polish is gone!

  11. I don’t do well with gel or shellac it peels off,I asked why at the nail salon and apparently some people are just like that,but I do use a LOT of hand cream!
    I was using the Revlon and the Sally Hansen miracle gel weekly but found that weakens my nails as well I have quite soft thin nails so I only do my fingers when going out and the rest of the time just use Revitanail 3D topcoat which helps protect them and doesn’t yellow and lasts quite well.I always have a pedi though I don’t like unpolished feet and can’t stand chipped Polish,yes you could say I’m a bit anal,I love that colour on your toes Nikki its very pretty Xx

  12. Yes Shellac and the like are lovely, but they take their toll on your nails. So I save it for special occasions now and strive for the natural, clean, and well manicured look in between. Thanks for the product recommendations Nikki. Will give them a go. Adore Beckoning Begonia pink for my next special occasion ; ).

  13. I have always just used regular nail polish. Base coat, two or three of colour, top coat and a drop of oil to set. I expect three days without chipping and that’s what I usually get. I would want a different colour after three days anyway. Or maybe that’s just what I am used to. I have never done my own pedicure but I always take my own polish.

  14. I loved Shellac too and like everyone else, my nails suffered. It has taken nearly a year to get them back to a healthier condition. I love all things Revitanail, but may have to try the “fertilizer” to give them some strength as they still tend to peel. I now have the occasional manicure but decline the temptation to have Shellac applied.

  15. I have been using shellac/gel for a couple of years now without a break until 6 weeks ago when I took a break for 1 month because someone told me I should. I honestly can’t tell any difference. I have had it back on for 2 weeks now. I understand that if nails are roughened up too much with a file it would weaken them.
    I used to have naturally strong and easily long nails but with age they are less so, shellac gives just a slight edge that allows me to grow them without breakage. The time taken up annoys me though. For feet, I just use regular polish.

    1. That’s a good thing Adrienne! I’m glad you don’t have a problem with it. I have good nails generally but mine do weaken with back-to-back Shellacs. I can ignore the weakening but getting another Shellac but they just don’t “stick” as they should.

  16. I’d been wearing acrylics for over 20 years and was also in love with shellac. About 8 months ago I stopped all together…cold turkey and my nails are awful. I’m still a nail biter and my medication make my cuticles dry and nails brittle. I miss my acrylics but the nasties bother me. Butter polish is excellent!!

  17. I have said this to Vanessa from S&S and I will say it to you – you are both going to send me broke, I just love all of your little hints and tips. These are great……I need to stop buying everything I see, ha ha ha ha. But I would like some of these, great advice. Love it.

  18. I love Shellac on but hate getting it off. It’s always such a pain and I always feel so sorry for my nails! I still like it for a special occasion but lately I’ve fallen in love with the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel range. It’s like a gel finish but I can do it at home and it has a great finish. It’s not nearly as flash as Shellac but it’s a good alternative and I don’t feel half as guilty about my nails. I’m definitely going to check out your “be nice to your nail products.”

  19. I’ve long been a fan of shellac, because I too am lazy about doing my nails and find regular polish chips after a day or two.

    Like you, I’m finding my nails aren’t great. I’ve taken to using a fortifying base, regular polish and a shellac top coat. So far, so good for me ☺

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