London Butter Oil Review for Nail Strength | good+good

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I’ve been a fan of gel polish ever since my manicurist first pulled out a little light blue box over a decade ago and said, “You’re going to love it.” She was right. With long-lasting wear and no dry time, I don’t have to sit impatiently waiting for polish to harden, worry about chipping, or lugging around nail accessories on vacation. Despite all the advantages of the gel, there is one thing I am not a fan of: how my naturally long nails become thin and brittle, and then break.

After recent back-to-back gel manicures (something I don’t normally do) left my nails paper-thin and right down to my heels, I vowed I’d give up gel forever, until my next vacation when I couldn’t resist the gel’s charms. But two finds have changed my life (okay, at least the life of my nails): Butter London’s new Quick Slip Cuticle Oil ($22), PD Quick-Dry Conditioning Drops ($18), a dry oil serum that conditions cuticles and speeds up drying time (more on that in a minute). Using both products after the gel was a game changer: my nails not only stayed strong and didn’t split, but (gasp!) actually grew longer.

Since gel polish and acetone are used to remove dry nails and cuticles, re-moistening is essential; in fact, it’s a misconception that you should let nails “breathe” and avoid products after gel removal because nails have porous surfaces that need moisturizing, says Christine Doan, a Los Angeles-based nail artist and licensed cosmetologist.

‘Think of it like a honeycomb vs. a wafer cookie. The honeycomb is porous but filled with the honey itself. If you were to scoop out the honey over time, the wax will harden and dry out, making the shell more prone to damage and break on any impact,” says Doan. “A wafer cookie is another example, because it’s completely dry and if you were to accidentally give it an impact, it would be more likely to sustain damage.”

To keep nails hydrated, Quick Slip Cuticle Oil contains moisturizing glycerin along with sunflower, jojoba and coconut oils, emollients that help strengthen the skin’s barrier. “Together, these ingredients moisturize the cuticles and the skin around them,” says board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, MD. “The health of the cuticles is important because they help to seal the transition zone between the skin and the nails.”

The main ingredient in PD Quick Dry Conditioning Drops is rosehip oil, which contains anti-inflammatory fatty acids and vitamins A and C, which moisturize, hydrate, and provide an antioxidant boost, King says. The oil also contains vitamin F, which is not a vitamin, but a term used for alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid, moisturizing fatty acids that replenish the skin’s barrier, he explains.

“Vitamin F may be particularly helpful for people with skin conditions characterized by impaired skin barrier function, which is a common problem with dry cuticles,” King adds.

A post-gel game changer

After removing my gel polish recently, I used Butter London Cuticle Oil as recommended by Doan, at least once a day, especially before bed, followed by hand cream. The tiny brush applicator makes it easy to target cuticles without the mess of an eyedropper, and while it’s rich in oils, its texture isn’t greasy.

With just one use, I fell in love with the conditioning drops: after buffing, you use the little dropper to apply a dab of oil to the middle of the nail and ready, your nails are fast drying. The drops not only greatly shortened the drying time (great for people like me who can’t sit still), but they also added a beautiful layer of shine. “I apply the drops a couple of minutes after I finish my manicure, including the top coat, and they are dry to the touch almost immediately. After five to 10 minutes, you can go about your day naturally,” says Doan.

I honestly couldn’t believe the difference in the health of my nails and cuticles after gel manicures thanks to these products – the usual breakage and brittleness gone, replaced by strong nails that kept growing. While I’m happy (and relieved) I don’t need to give up gel manicures entirely, with such amazing results, I’ve embraced the products not only for post-gel wear, but for showcasing my TLC nails every day.

Our editors select these products independently. Making a purchase through our links may generate a commission for Well+Good.

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