Beauty Clinic: Help for damaged nails

Q I very foolishly decided to try a gel manicure.  After a few days some of my nails cracked and the nail polish and gel just broke off.  I had the gel removed (with nails soaked in acetone wraps) about six weeks ago, but my nails are still wafer thin, grow a tiny bit and then just break off.  If I accidentally bend them, they just break.  I have been using different products and loads of hand cream but they are not getting any stronger.  Help! They look awful - what can I do? A This has happened to us too so we really sympathise. Although you say, you want medium length strong nails for social occasions coming up shortly, we have to warn you this is not a quick process.

Nails grow an average of 3mm in a month, and it takes three to six months to regrow a nail. The good news is that sunshine helps! In Sarah’s experience (and she had the self same problem), you can improve the appearance quite quickly but restoring your nails will take a good two to three months.

So – our prescription is as follows:

Keep your nails filed short so they don't break; use an emery board or glass file – and don't saw, stroke in one direction from sides to middle.

Dr Hauschka Neem Nail OilUse a nail oil assiduously: we like Dr Hauschka Neem Nail Oil, which comes in a handy pen dispenser.

The best nail strengthening polish we have found is Nail Magic. This was formulated in the Sixties by a professional manicurist and you can use it as a base coat, topcoat or clear polish.

Supplements can help but to be honest we haven’t found any of the targeted products really deliver. What works for us is silica, the richest source of which is Bamboo Extract.

Sun ChlorellaOr, Sarah has found that taking a daily dose of the green algae, Sun Chlorella A, has an amazing effect on her nails

Now, please don't forget all the usual things too: wear washing up gloves, don't garden or groom horses with bare hands, don't use your nails as staple removers.

You can find all our tips on our website,; just put ‘nails’ in the Search box and will find lots of our articles.

Finally, the answer to a gel manicure is….Tadah! Gel effect polish and Nails Inc do a fab selection. (NB Have a look at the prize draw on our website next week for your chance to win a great Nails Inc prize. If you sign up to our database, you will receive our weekly newsletter Beauty Bible Buzz, which alerts you to our prize draws.)


Dr Hauschka Neem Nail Oil/£16 at - buy here

Nail Magic/£9.95 at - buy here

Bamboo Extract/£17.50 for 60 vegicaps at - buy here

Sun Chlorella A/£12.95 for 300 teeny pillules at - buy here