Over It: Gel Manicures Have Ruined My Nails

I’ll freely admit to being a manicure addict. I own over 20 bottles of polish, always carry a bottle of whatever color I’m currently wearing so I can fix chips immediately, and generally feel kind of naked without a manicure. In an effort to make my manicures last longer, I’ve been alternating regular manis with gel manicures for the last eight months or so. I loved how long the polish would go without chipping (weeks!) and that it never lost its gleaming shine; the only flaw, I thought, was that the color options were a bit limited. Well, not having the perfect orange-y red shade is the least of my problems now — the fact is, gel manicures have ruined my nails.

Not to brag, but my nails used to be strong. Thick, smooth, perfect for polishing. But now, after getting gel manicures for awhile, they are thin (some even paper thin!), frail, uneven, and constantly breaking. Just look at the middle finger and the pinky in the photo on the right! So. Sad. I don’t get it! While I’ve read that the gel polish should actually protect and strengthen my natural nails, I think the process of filing the top of the nail smooth beforehand, coupled with soaking them in acetone to remove the polish, has led to my nails becoming weaker and more brittle than they ever were before.

For now, I’m taking a break from polishing my nails in general, so my nails can be naked and chemical free until they return to their normal length and strength. But I’m curious whether any of you who have had gel manicures had the same problem? And do you have any tips or products for giving my nails a little TLC?