It's easy to blame products like acetone or gel polish for damaging nails. The truth is, nail damage is often caused by improper removal or improper nail care.

Peeling product off of nails, whether a client is biting it off or a technician is wielding nippers, removes product of the nail plate, causing thin, damaged nails. Repeated improper removal can damage nails to the point that product no longer adheres because the nail has become to flexible. Aggressive filing to the natural nail during nail prep can also cause damage. The average nail plate consists of 100 layers of nail cells, so improper prep and removal willl eventually result in thin, weak, and damaged nails that are incapable of wearing product.

Gel polish should remove easily without forceful scraping. According to OPI's Director of Regulatory Compliance Paul Bryson, the most common reason nail plates are injured during a soak-off gel removal is because nail technicians do not let the product soak long enough to fully break the bond to the natural nail.

Urge Clients to Take Care of Their Nails

With most common nail damage, the only true remedy is to allow the nails to completely grow out or repair themselves, but it can take up to six months to completely regrow a fingernail and clients don’t like to wait that long.

For weak and damaged nails, OPI’s Nail Envy Original provides invisible protection and allows color to be applied to the nails while in usage. 

Keeping the nail plate and the surrounding area moisturized keeps the nail plate flexible as it grows out, which prevents splitting, peeling, and helps to nourish the surrounding skin, nail bed, and cuticle area. Our nails are like sponges – when they dry out, they shrink and become brittle. The key to moisturizing the nails is to apply products that prevent evaporation. OPI’s ProSpa Nail & Cuticle Oil, is a rich and lightweight nourishing formula containing cupuaçu, grape seed, sesame, kukui, and sunflower oils, providing the ultimate moisture to nails and helps protect and replenish them.

Nail damage is caused by improper prep, removal, or treatment of nail products. It is not caused by specific products, contrary to popular belief. There are many products on the market that aid in repair and protection of nails, and it is important for clients to recognize the ways in which they can proactively care for their nails in between salon visits.