LEIGH'S LIST: Taking a break from manicures? These are the at-home nail saviours you need.

Welcome to Leigh's List. A weekly column, a bit like an agony aunt, but for your shopping woes. A self-confessed shopping addict, Leigh Campbell enjoys nothing more than hunting down the *thing* you've been searching for but haven't been able to find.

Stevie asked:

I recently stopped getting my nails done (thanks to my rising home loan) but my natural nails underneath are ruined. I knew that would be the case, but I am so tempted to just go back and get them done again. Unless you know what I can use to make them strong and grow again?

Leigh answered:

Oh Stevie, I feel you. I've just done the exact same thing. 

I had acrylic and gel on non-stop, so my natural nails are as grim as it gets. Sadly, it's mostly about waiting for the strong natural nail to grow out, which takes several months, but there are a few things you and I can do in the meantime so they don't continue to flake and break.

Watch: We're all guilty of the endless, endless tapping when we have our nails done. Here's a quick glimpse into what life is like with and without nails. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

Hard working nail strengthener.

Leaving your nails bare is a big mistake. Nail hardening is a labour of love while you're growing out the damaged nail bed. You need to follow the instructions and apply it every single day, removing it every few days and starting again. It helps to strengthen the nail but also protects it from catching and flaking.

Try these:

OPI Nail Envy, $34.95.

Image: Myer/OPI.

Essie Hard To Resist Advanced, $19.95.

Image: Adore Beauty/essie.


Sally Hansen Repair and Rescue Nail Treatment, $22.95.

Image: Chemist Warehouse/Sally Hansen.


Mavala Scientifique K+ Nail Hardener Pro Keratin, $30.95.

Image: French Beauty Co.


A quality nail file.

Keep nails short and neat while they're growing out. Any length will be thin and soft and risks catching and breaking, which will make the process even longer. 

Use a soft file (nothing with too much grit) and very gently file nails down in one direction – don't 'saw' back and forth as that creates too much friction.

Try these:

OPI White Edge File, $6.95.

Image: Myer/OPI.


Bachca 603 Glass Nail File, $11.

Image: French Beauty Co.

My Beauty Tools Nail Buffing Cube, $5.99.

Image: Chemist Warehouse/My Beauty.


Manicare Crystal Nail File, $21.19.

Image: Chemist Warehouse/Manicare.


Nourishing cuticle oil.

Healthy cuticles help encourage a healthy nail bed. 

Massage cuticle oil into each fingernail every night. I do this in bed right before going to sleep so I don't feel the need to wash my hands directly after, which would remove most of the product.

Try these:

OPI Pro Spa Nail and Cuticle Oil, $17.95.

Image: Myer/OPI.


Kester Black Self Love Oil, $32.

Image: Kester Black.


L'Occitane Shea Nail & Cuticle Nourishing Oil, $25.

Image: David Jones/L'Occitane.

Dr Hauschka Neem Nail and Cuticle Oil, $40.

Image: Dr Haruschka.


Ingestible collagen.

Ingestible collagen has been shown to reduce symptoms of brittle nails and encourage nail growth. Again, this is a labour of love and must be taken daily. 

Added bonus: it'll do the same for your hair and you might see improvements in your skin, too.

Try these:

Vida Glow Natural Marine Collagen, $40.

Image: Myer/Vida Glow.


Kissed Earth Brilliance Bovine Collagen, $79.95.

Image: David Jones/Kissed Earth.


The Beauty Chef Collagen Inner Beauty Boost, $49.

Image: Adore Beauty/The Beauty Chef.

Dr LeWinn's Vegan Collagen Hyaluronic Acid Powder, $70.95.

Image: Chemist Warehouse/Dr LeWinn's.


Want to know more stuff about nails? Listen to You Beauty below.

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Feature Image: Instagram @leighacampbell/Myer/OPI/L'Occatine/Dr LeWinn's/Bachcha/Mamamia.

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