Expert tips to look after a gel manicure and minimise nail damage

After the festive season, many will be left with gel manicures to look after.

And whether you regularly hit the salon or are a nail art newbie, the aim is to keep them looking fresh for as long as possible, until it’s time to get them sorted out.

To keep your nails strong and healthy, looking after a manicure in the right way is very important – especially if you rarely give them a breather between sets.

We spoke to a nail and beauty expert who shared her tips to keeping a gel manicure looking fresh and well-looked after.

Look after your cuticles

One way to keep your nail manicure lasting longer is by focusing on cuticle care, according to beauty expert Malvika Sheth.

‘My main tip to look after your nails is applying cuticle oil to the nail beds as often as you can remember – especially right after the manicure is complete,’ she tells

‘This is whether I’m doing an at-home gel manicure and filming a nail tutorial to share on socials, or have just gotten them done professionally.’

Malvika recommends applying cuticle oil daily, but also says you can aim for a few times a week if that’s easier.

‘I’ll especially amp up the amount of cuticle oil if I know it’s going to be a week where I’m doing a lot of household chores like dishes, or if I’m shooting a nail shot for Instagram,’ she adds.

Protect your nails

Post manicure, it’s important to ‘avoid using your nails as tools’ to prevent any picking or peeling, according to Janea Nail Studio.

That means no using your nails to prise open ring-pulls, no pushing buttons with the end of the nail, and no wrangling with sticky labels.

As well as that, try not to pick or peel them yourself, as it can damage your natural nails underneath.

Aim to wear gloves whenever you wash up or handle spices that can stain – such as turmeric, and try to avoid direct contact with water for long periods of time.

Correct removal is important

Removing your manicure in the correct way is important to minimise any damage.

‘I have honestly found the best way to remove them is by using Pronto 100% pure acetone nail polish remover which I usually find on Amazon,’ says Malvika.

She recommends soaking cotton pads in the remover, before pressing them down on your nails.

‘I also use soak off caps to soak my nails,’ she adds.

‘Olive and June has a great press-on removal kit that actually comes with soak off caps, that I use for both press ons and gel nails alike.’

After removal, Malvika recommends rubbing your nail beds with petroleum jelly to soothe the skin.

She explains: ‘It’s important to keep up moisturising the skin surrounding the nail for a few days after removal as well.’

Give nails a rest between manicures

‘Post manicure, my biggest tip is to just give your nails a rest,’ Malvika says

‘While it’s nice to have perfect looking nails all the time, it’s generally not the healthiest thing for our nails to be gel-manicured 365 days a year.’

Just like how it’s important to let our skin ‘breathe’ by taking a break from make-up, it’s important to give the same care to your nails.

However, the biggest tip to take away is to make your cuticle oil your best friend.

‘Cuticle oil on nails, whether manicured or non-manicured, is always a good idea,’ Malvika adds. ‘I would just make sure you don’t apply cuticle oil right before a new manicure.’

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