Wrecked Your Nails With Acrylics? Here’s Your SOS Guide

Photographed by Dan McCoy.
False eyelashes, hair extensions, acrylic nails — all exciting and glamorous, but maybe not the best things to be gluing to our bodies. Nonetheless, advancements within the beauty industry mean that these products have come leaps and bounds, and within reason, we can carry on using all of the above while protecting our natural assets.
There's no denying nail art and long manicures are (still) having a moment. Fun? Yes! The only problem? They're not without their downsides: glues, buffing, chemicals that dry out your nails, and even electric drills. These things don't exactly spell out healthy nail beds now, do they? After months, and sometimes even years, of fills and extensions, your nails can be left looking and feeling damaged and weak.
We spoke to Izabelle Bellamy — who filed her way through the ranks at WAH Nails, a U.K. hub for all things nail art, and is now the resident technician at East London's Stunt Dolly salon — about how to resuscitate nails that have passed over to the other side.
Bellamy explained that "acrylic nail extensions shouldn't really damage your nails, provided the correct preparation, maintenance (every two to three weeks), aftercare, and removal procedures are followed. The real damage is caused by heavy-handed nail technicians. Be wary of over-filing and drilling, this will cause weak and peeling nails — and even painful results."
She goes on to add, "You should always visit a qualified and insured nail tech. Over time, the acrylic begins to lose adhesion to the nail and can lift; if air pockets start to be common, this should be a warning sign. Acrylics should be removed and replaced every six to 12 months, although a person's daily routine and home care plus how often they have infills does determine time, too."
Okay, so obviously those are all wise rules to follow, but Bellamy accepts we can't always chose our nail technician and, well, life sometimes just gets in the way of perfect nails. For times when things don't go as planned, here are Bellamy's top tips and products for nails that really need some TLC, post-acrylics.
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