The £30 OPI treatment that rescued my damaged, paper-thin nails

Our senior beauty editor swears by this £30 treatment, which she brands as Olaplex for nails

OPI Repair Mode Bond Building Nail Serum
(Image credit: OPI)

Is there any worse feeling than having weak nails that feel as though they're one bend away from snapping? The discomfort is hard to ignore but thankfully, I've found one product that really revives my paper-thin talons...

I don’t know if I’m uniquely affected by it, but having weak and brittle nails makes me feel strangely vulnerable. I tend to opt for gel over BIAB nails, and recently after two months of back-to-back gel manicures, my nails were left absolutely decimated and I really hated the experience. I felt like I could barely open a parcel or (more importantly) a packet of biscuits without my nails breaking off. 

I tried everything to get them back to their post-manicure condition - using all the best nail strengtheners and hardeners in my beauty kit and while they left my nails looking glossy, it wasn't until I tried OPI's hero buy that I saw an actual difference in the health of my nails - and it’s worth every penny of its £30 price tag...

The £30 serum that rescued my damaged nails

While cuticle oils and the like, can work wonders for the overall appearance and condition of your nails, sometimes they need an extra helping hand (especially if you opt for professional treatments like gel or BIAB nails) and OPI's Repair Mode is a true saviour in serum form...

My first impressions of the OPI Repair Mode Bond Building Nail Serum

The formula of the OPI Repair Mode Bond Building Nail Serum is very watery, which I was surprised by - I was expecting more of a nail polish texture, like other popular nail strengtheners on the market. This means it sinks in quickly, like a skincare serum would and you don’t have to wait for it to dry. It also has a really small brush, which makes painting precisely easy - this means you're not wasting the product - at £29.90 for 9ml, you want to make the most of every drop. 

Alongside a self-imposed mani ban, I used the serum daily. After a few days, I noticed my nails definitely looked better - healthier and smoother, worlds away from the brittle state they were originally in. After a week or two, they felt noticeably stronger. At their worst, my nails were bending backwards with the slightest pressure - a few weeks after using the OPI serum that totally stopped. I gingerly tested my nails daily, checking to see how much pressure my nails could take - a few weeks in, they were totally reformed and robust. 

Is the OPI Repair Mode Bond Building Nail Serum worth buying?

This product single-handedly transformed my weak, snapping nails, so it’s absolutely worth buying if you struggle with damaged nails or if you’re guilty of back-to-back gel or acrylic manicures. The bond-building technology it harnesses is genuinely impressive, comparable to Olaplex, the gold standard of the hair-bonding world.

I used to be quite anti-mani. I was always content painting my nails at home, so I always had naturally strong nails. I think that’s why I hate the feeling of weak nails so much - I know what healthy nails are supposed to feel like. Once I was lured into the world of gel manicures, with their weeks-long staying power and super-shiny finish, it was game over for my humble little DIY setup - and, I thought, the health of my nails. This serum means I can book a gel manicure without feeling guilty or dreading the impact it’s having on my nails. 

It's undoubtedly expensive for such a small product, but I've been genuinely wowed by the difference in the health of my nails. To me, it's worth every penny for the peace of mind of having strong, robust nails again. 

Rhiannon Derbyshire
Senior Beauty Editor

Rhiannon Derbyshire is the Senior Beauty Editor for Woman & Home and other publications. 

She started interning for glossy magazines while working alongside her Fashion Journalism degree. There, she was lured to the beauty desk, seduced by matte lipsticks, posh shampoos, and every skincare product imaginable. 10+ years into her career, she can confidently tell you why the best mascaras are always high street, and why SPF is a non-negotiable all year round. Ask her about her curly hair routine, skincare minimalism, and how to find the exact right red lipstick