Nail Serums for Repairing Damaged Nails and Cuticles

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Before you completely dismiss the category of serums as a nail product, consider this: Serums work wonders to restore shine and resilience to your skin and hair, so why wouldn't they do the same to your nails? Every inch of your body — right down to your fingertips — deserves some R & R from time to time, so on days when your nails may not look or feel their healthiest, you can rely on these potent liquid formulas to help them bounce back.

Editorial nail artist Elle says that restoring your nails' health when they are thin, peeling, or brittle comes down to one thing: reintroducing moisture. Nail serums and treatments are typically robust hydrators mixed with strengtheners (like collagen and keratin) and appearance-improving ingredients (like exfoliating acids to remove surface damage.)

We asked Elle, along with more of the industry's top nail pros, to weigh in on the best ones to use when you want to revive dry, peeling, and cracked nails and return them to their glossy glory. Read on to learn more.

Dior Huile Abricot Daily Nutritive Serum

Dior’s Abricot nail products have become staples in many pro manicurists' kits, and one of Elle's go-tos is the brand's Huile Abricot Daily Nutritive Serum, which contains a hydrating mixture of apricot, argan, and camelia oils, as well as vitamin E. "It absorbs into the cuticles with no oily residue," she says.

Dr. Dana Nail Renewal System

Dermatologist Dana Stern created a three-step, comprehensive treatment to restore nails' shine and tone. The Dr. Dana Nail Renewal System works by exfoliating your nails with glycolic acid (to remove any peeling or unevenness) and hydrating them with a blend of essential oils.

Dr. Hauschka Neem Nail & Cuticle Pen

Manicurist Mazz Hanna recommends this pen by Dr. Hauschka because of its nail- strengthening neem leaf oil and its built-in cuticle pusher. "It can come in handier than you expect," she says.

Lauren B Beauty Reparative Cuticle Oil

Hanna recommends this plant-based treatment made from 14 — yes, 14 — moisturizing oils. Many of them are loaded with antioxidants (like avocado and sweet almond oils) and have anti-inflammatory properties to reduce irritation.

Mazz Hanna Cuticle Oil

The first thing you'll notice about the Mazz Hanna amethyst-infused cuticle oil is its calming lavender scent. That's because it is made from the essential oil, along with moisturizing jojoba, hempseed, and geranium oils. The liquid gold is housed in a heavyweight vial with a rollerball at its tip, which makes applying it on the go a breeze. Another upside to its dispenser? "The amethyst rollerball can help prevent biting and picking, common culprits of damaged nails," Hanna says.

Orly Nailtrition Nail Growth Treatment

Orly's peachy-pink Nailtrition treatment disappears when swept across nails, leaving behind a slight shine. It contains strengthening collagen, wheat protein, keratin, and bamboo extract. Hanna suggests wearing a coat for seven days, removing it with nail polish remover, and reapplying it for another weeklong wearing.

The Sally Hansen Nailgrowth Miracle Serum

Sally Hansen's Nailgrowth Miracle Serum is a thin, peptide-infused formula that Elle recommends because it strengthens, moisturizes, and adds flexibility to the nail.

Way of Will Strengthening Nail & Cuticle Serum

Hanna recommends the Way of Will serum, which is housed in a dark bottle with a dropper, because it contains natural oils like meadowfoam that help lock in moisture.

LeChat Nobility Vitamin Enriched Cuticle Oil in Pomegranate

Elle loves LeChat's cuticle oil because it makes brittle and cracked nails feel more resilient without any greasy finish. The moisturizing oil also has a subtle, earthy scent which she says can “[set] the mood for a calming and relaxing manicure.”

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