What Are Treatment Polishes? (and Why They're a Godsend for Gel-Ravaged Nails)

You know when you've finally decided to take a break from gel manicures (we’re looking at you, fellow nail art lovers) and your hands just look sad and bare and you immediately want to go back to the salon? Perhaps they’re even a tad discolored from painting your tips cherry red last week (and the week before that)? Treatment polish will tide you over during those times.

What is a treatment polish—and what makes it so special? Well, for starters, they're formulated with copolymers that strengthen your nails while you wear them (which actually makes your nails less likely to peel or chip while painted). Plus, they're infused with conditioning ingredients like collagen and camellia extract to keep your tips from getting brittle and breaking from daily activities (like typing or texting or fumbling for your keys in your overstuffed bag). And whereas they used to come only in limited shades like nude or beige, mass brands like Essie and Sally Hansen have recently expanded their offerings to include trendier options like burgundy, mauve and even metallics and shimmers. 

Bottom line: Since swapping in a treatment polish between our standing appointments at the salon, we've noticed that our nails look and feel a lot stronger. (Thank goodness, too, because sometimes a gal needs a gel mani.)

Some of our favorites: Sally Hansen ($8); Essie ($10); Zoya ($25)

Jenny Jin Headshot Vertical 2023

Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...