I’ve always had decent, naturally strong, rounded nails. They hit their peak when I was pregnant to be honest-oh how I miss my preggie nails..they were the strongest, longest nails I’ve ever had when I was up the duff (my hair was at its silkiest too).

I know many find they lose hair after babies but my mane is so BIG, I didn’t notice any hair loss and my nails stayed strong for at least a year post babies. I think the added vitamins in my diet must of helped, the folic acid I took throughout the pregnancy and the iron tablets I was prescribed.

The Babycenter state that,

‘During pregnancy, higher levels of estrogen prolong the growth phase, resulting in less shedding of hair and thicker tresses. Some women also notice that their hair becomes shinier during pregnancy or that it changes in texture (curly hair might become straighter, for example). Your postpartum locks probably won’t be as luxurious. After giving birth, the growth/rest cycle goes back to its previous pattern, so you may notice more hair falling out’.

Now, fast forward to life with a 7 and 4 year old and a mad moment in November before my birthday shindig where I opted for acrylics knowing full well they might well damage my decent nails.

My talons at that point were shorter than usual, and with close friends over for a mani pre-birthday sesh, I thought ‘what the heck’ and went for a full set. I felt it would be fun. And it was incredibly fun to rock long talons that night (although I did have to return to the salon and have them cut down so I could type the following Monday).

They also took some getting used to, too and felt weirdly heavy on my nails for a while although before long I acclimatised to the weight and loved how polished (literally) and ladylike having perfect nails made me feel. They empowered me somehow.

Until I opted to have them removed that is, and found brittle, fragile nails lying beneath. I know there are kinder alternatives on the market but even gel nails are ruining my nails, not allowing them to metaphorically breathe, and that’s part of the problem-the vicious circle of gel polish.

The weaker my nails become because of the products that I’m using, the more I rely on these very products to offer faux protection and strength.

So the gel I’m wearing on my wrecked nails is the final gel polish I’m putting on for a long time. Mine look so bad I’ve used a stock photo above. A #Nailgoals pic if you like.

I’m going cold turkey on my talons to let them recover, hopefully allowing them to become stronger than before.

Natural, as with everything in life, is best, huh!

That doesn’t mean I won’t ever have gel polish again just not for a long while nor as frequently. I won’t ever wear acrylics again though, that’s for sure.

Have you experienced weak nails from falsies and gel polish too? I’d love to read your thoughts.


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Acrylic & Gel Nail Polish Manicures Have Ruined My Nails - Honest Mum


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27 Responses

  1. Annie

    Acrylics and gels don’t ruin nails.
    Poorly trained nail technicians (over filing is so common), not following aftercare advise (such as using nails as tools) and more commonly – improper removal ruins nails!!
    If properly applied, removed and looked after, your nails won’t be affected.
    And yes I am trained and quaified

  2. Fannie V Garcia

    Most nail salons put an acrylic overlay on both natural and artificial nail tips. This is to provide strength and shape but some say that it destroys the natural appearance of the tip. This is why a custom blended tip come into existence. This is a new technique to give the nail tip a more natural appearance. It uses a custom-blended polymer which is applied to a clean nail and then buffed and polished. This costs around $80 and nails last within two weeks.

  3. Jade

    Thanks for sharing. I stopped with traditional acrylics and gels. Im letting my nails recover.

  4. Lynda

    I’m sorry to hear about how your nails are ruined because of gel and acrylic nail polish. I tried 3 different home remedies to make my nails stronger and to keep them healthy. I tried using green tea, tea tree oil, and apple cider vinegar. You should try it and i hope it will help.

  5. Rainbowsaretoobeautiful

    I’ve had acrylics a few times and each time had one refill done, then had them removed. Nails suffered terribly for it, all rough, weak and split. Now when I want them to look good for a while I get a manicure and shellac /CND. Seems to be the best fit for me.

  6. Juliana

    So agree with you Vickie. I’ve had gel nails on a few rare and special occasions but afterwards my nails have felt really dry and thin. I’m a big fan of natural nails and my favourite products are OPI, Nails Inc and CND Vinylux which easily lasts 7 days! Nowadays you can have the gel shine look without gel nails. As Kara W mentioned OPI Nail Envy is great for repairing nails and I also recommend Avoplex hand cream/cuticle oil for nourishing them back to life!

    • Honest Mum

      Ooh need to check out CND, love the other brands. Have use Nail Envy before but not for ages and Avoplex sounds great. You are a fountain of nail know-how, thanks lovely 🙂

  7. Emma Peach

    I had hard gel (buff off only) on my nails for about six years and when I went cold turkey my nails were very thin and rough. I went about ten months, just using nail polish and then last month I had a Calgel manicure (which is flexible and kinder to nails) at a PR press day. It lasted so well and looked amazing but when I had infills at a local salon I wasn’t very happy with them, so I’ll be going back to nail polish when they come off.

    Emma xxx

  8. Kate Davis

    I haven’t had gel or acrylic nails because I heard they damaged your nails. It meant I didn’t paint my nails very often as I didn’t think it was worth the effort until I discovered Little Ondine. It is water based, dries really quickly and peels off so no faffing with remover. Sometimes it only lasts a few days, but it is so quick to apply and remove it doesn’t bother me (although my current colour has been on for a week).

  9. Kara W

    As a nail tech, and from my own personal experience, I would highly recommend OPI Nail Envy. Although it may be pricey, it is completely worth it. They have a matte version for a more natural look if you don’t necessarily want the shine. Also applying cuticle oil at least once a day to the cuticles and also underneath the nail and massaging in. These will help speed the recovery process. Contrary to belief, nails dont need to breathe. Nails are dead. But I definitely say it helps to keep something on them, even if it is just a clear coat, instead of keeping them bare. X

    • Honest Mum

      Thanks Kara, it was meant metaphorically as in to give the nails a rest :). I’ve used Nail Envy before and liked it so must get some more x


    Mine are the same, my nails used to be lovely and strong, I don’t have acrylics but have gel nails a lot… if I wear normal polish i’m lucky if it lasts a day. i would love my strong nails back

  11. Susanna

    This happened to me. Took months for my nails to recover. Yes the gel lasted longer but it wasn’t worth it. My nails were unbelievably brittle. Never again ! xx

  12. Laura Delaney

    I’ve never had acrylic or gel nails on a regular basis either – I always find my natural nails painted are just as good! However a while back (6 years post baby) I had my nails done at a salon, my nails were absolutely ruined for months afterwards! My nails have always been quite weak though. Xxx

  13. Mel

    Gels look great, but I agree: if you do them regularly and don’t let your nails breathe, they get really badly damaged. A couple of years ago, I had my nails done back to back by a professional, and after that, it took about 6 months for my then paper-thin nails to regain some sort of shape / health. Go bare!

  14. Jane Willis

    I’ve had gel nails once and thoroughly regretted , and acouple of years later had acrylic ones, thinking the technology would have improved, and was once again left with soft, brittle, peeling nails. Take heart though, they DO recover, but it takes several weeks of leaving them bare and applying a cuticle oil and a very rich hand cream several times a day. Now I’ve gone back to traditional nail polish, but I keep up the moisturising, my hands feel,beeter for it all over, not just the nails


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