how to recover from harsh gel nails

Since I like to change my polish color often, I usually stick with regular nail polish over gels. But every once in a while, there is an occasion that calls for a longer-lasting manicure than regular polish can provide. I recently got gels for my LC Lauren Conrad Runway Collection pop-up shop because I knew I would be working the shop for several days straight without time for a manicure. So, to make sure my nails looked pristine the whole week, I went with gels. I did enjoy my no-chip mani, but when I had my gels removed I noticed that my nails felt weaker and more brittle than usual. I’ve heard this complaint from a lot of my friends who get gels regularly, so I decided to do something about it. I did a bit of research and consulted some of the manicurists I know, and came up with a DIY gel recovery treatment that you can make at home.

The three ingredients in the treatment are all common pantry staples that you can find at a Whole Foods or other health food stores. The apple cider vinegar is loaded with nutrients like potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron that are healthy for your nails. The coconut oil is nourishing, works as a moisturizer for your cuticles, and has antibacterial properties to prevent many kinds of nail infections. Adding Vitamin E oil to the mix will keep your nails moisturized and hydrated.

After applying this treatment even once, I saw a noticeable difference in how soft, smooth, and healthy my nail beds appeared to be. It sounds too good to be true, but I really could see a difference immediately! Whether I get gels again or not, I plan on applying this nail treatment regularly to keep my nails strong and healthy. Check it out below…

DIY Gel Polish Recover Treatment

Here’s what you will need:

Gel polish recovery treatment


1. Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and water in a small bowl or ramekin to dilute the vinegar. Soak your fingertips for at least 5 minutes, or up to 30. Gently rinse off the vinegar.

2. Mix in a few drops of the vitamin E oil into a couple tablespoons of coconut oil. Spread the mixture onto your nail beds and let sit for at least 5 minutes or up to an hour for added moisturizing benefits. You can wear moisturizing gloves over the mixture if you would like to keep it on longer. Gently wipe the mixture off of your nails.

3. Repeat the entire treatment weekly for best results.

how to make your own gel polish recovery for healthy natural nails

how to rejuvenate your nails after harsh gels

Are you going to give the beauty treatment a try?

I’d love to hear how it works for you!

XO Lauren

Photos: @LaurenConrad via Instagram, Valorie Darling Photography for
  • Jamie

    Gel manicures usually require UV light to cure the polish. They emit UVA rays, which have been linked to skin cancer. If you’re against using tanning beds (which most educated people over 25 are), then you should be against gel manicures.

    • AmyEBeth

      Many gel manicures are now done with an LED curable polish instead of a UV.

      • Anna

        Do I have to ask the nail salon if they’re LED or UV ?

        • AmyEBeth

          I’d be shocked if you went to a salon that didn’t have LED, but I would double check with them that the color you are picking can be cured with LED.

  • Missy

    Did you still soak off the gel with acetone? Then do the treatments?

  • This is so helpful, definitely trying this out!

    Anika |

  • I will definitely try this! That’s the one thing I hate about getting gel manis, is that they wreck your nails after-the-fact. Thanks, LC Team! 🙂

  • I’ll definitely give this treatment a try! This is really helpful. Thanks for sharing this tip 🙂

  • Aubrey Kinch

    Such a great tip! Thank you, ladies at LC!

  • This at home treatment sounds lovely! I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews about gel polishes/manicures, and honestly, it’s scared me a little. That’s why I’ve been sticking to regular polishes too, but I’d really love to try gel polishes one day! <3 🙂 Thank you for sharing this great little treatment "recipe!"

    XO, Elizabeth

  • I need to try this, I use gel polishes all the time!!

  • Enzo Enzo

    Thanks for sharing! I am big fan of nail polishes ( especially I like black nails ), so that I do need to try some treatment. Unfortunately my nails are not perfect because of that.

  • Thanks for the tips, this is fab!! x

  • Pam Stafford

    apply to bare nails or over polish? Photo looks like bare nails