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The Nail-Care Duo That Helped Me Come Back From a Bad Gel Mani Removal Experience

Plus, it feels ultra-luxurious.
When combined, Chanel's latest camelia nail products are a power couple for nourishing your nails. 

When combined, Chanel's latest camelia nail products are a power couple for nourishing your nails. 

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If you've had the pleasure of experiencing the magic of a gel manicure — one that can last weeks while failing to chip through your hand's toughest trials — you also know how precarious removal can be. To take off gel polish, nails must be soaked in acetone to loosen the gel, then scraped clean of it. But this process inevitably weakens nails, dries out cuticles and sometimes damages nail beds.

chanel camellia nail oil

I recently suffered these consequences myself with a less-than-successful attempt at at-home removal of a gel manicure. Horrified by the dry, damaged results of my DIY mistake, I found myself scrambling to restore the health and strength of my nails. I put myself on an intensive nail- care regimen, with a heavy focus on regular use of the Chanel Camellia L'Huile Camélia Hydrating and Fortifying Oil and La Base Camélia Fortifying, Protecting and Smoothing Base Coat.

Both formulas rely on camellia extract, known for its antioxidant properties. (It was also Coco Chanel's favorite flower, hence the brand's suite of camellia-infused products.) The cuticle oil oozes out of the applicator and then melts into cuticles. It's loaded with camellia seed oil to moisturize skin and nails as well as skin-strengthening ceramides and hydrating glycerin. The base coat can be used under polish or on its own for sheer, brightening coverage. Like the nail oil, the base coat features the same bouquet of all-star ingredients to build strength and resilience.

I started applying the nail oil twice daily before letting any polish touch my nails. After a few days of sticking to this regimen, I felt ready to apply the strengthening base coat, which I used consistently for a couple of weeks. Despite all the things my hands were exposed to — washing my hair, opening lots of boxes, doing dishes — the polish had impressive staying power, lasting for a full week without chipping. (I also love the chic, minimalist appearance it gives my nails.)

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chanel camellia base coat

More importantly, I watched my nails grow back out after keeping them wrapped in the camellia base. 

Admittedly, this isn't the first time I've fudged my nails post-gel mani. Accordingly, I have a nail repair rolodex including the Essie Strengthener Treatment ($11), Elle + Mila First Aid Nail Strengthener ($10) and Olive & June's Strengthener ($14). As much as I like the treatment from Chanel, there are more affordable options on the market that are similarly effective. But the Chanel ones feel fancy, and sometimes there's nothing wrong with fancy.

Chanel L'Huile Camélia Hydrating and Fortifying Oil, $32, available here

Chanel La Base Camélia Fortifying, Protecting and Smoothing Base Coat, $30, available here.

Please note: Items were gifted. Occasionally, we use affiliate links on our site. This in no way affects our editorial decision-making.

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