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If you’ve fallen off the wagon when it comes to getting regular mani-pedis, or had an unfortunate mishap removing gel polish, your nails may be a bit lived-in. But there are steps you can take to revive brittle nails and bring them back to life again. Here are five tips to achieve healthy, strong nails.

Base Camp.
Always apply a base coat before polish to protect and nourish the nail. Look for one with panthenol, which helps strengthen nails and prevent staining. Panthenol is the perfect extra ingredient that helps trap in moisture and keeps it looking nourished for hours.

Protect & Treat.
If your nails are weak and brittle (perhaps the result of over-buffing the nail bed after gel polish removal), apply a nail treatment with ingredients like amino acids and iron to nurture the nail beds and prevent peeling and chipping. Treating your nails isn’t a quick process – you need to be prepared for two to four weeks of healing time, depending on the extent of the damage.

Smooth Moves.
Filing your nails is a beauty routine must! Ragged edges happen over time and with unkempt nails, it can lead to damage like breaking and splitting. To help improve the look of nails while they heal, lightly buff away ridges and apply a matte base coat on its own to conceal any imperfections.

Cleanse Your Colour.
Getting rid of chipped, leftover polish is somewhat of an afterthought; sometimes it’s on until it’s picked away. (No judgments – we all do it!) However, this causes your nails to stain and look less than flattering. A regular cleansing routine is needed! Do away with leftover polish by dabbing a remover on a cotton pad and gently sliding off the remaining colour. It’ll keep your nails looking bare and cleansed for the next inspiration.

Don’t forget to treat hands and cuticles, as they form the basis of a healthy mani. Try a hot paraffin hand treatment, which will help moisture penetrate into dry hands and nails. Also apply a cuticle oil with vitamin E a few times a day. This added extra treatment will decrease the chance of skin thickening around the cuticles. With a little prep and nurturing, your nails will come out looking healthy and moisturized.