Ever since having tried Dermelect ME Peptide-Infused Nail Color Treatment (aka nail polish), I’ve been curious about this brand and its interesting take on nail products. I was skeptical about how peptides in my nail polish would actually improve my nails. Sadly, after using the Dermelect Nail Recovery System for the past few months, I am not completely converted.

Dermelect’s Nail Recovery System ($59) contains two base coats, a topcoat, and a nail and cuticle treatment that claim to be anti-aging and restorative for your nails. Easily, my favorite products of the bunch were the two base coats: Launchpad Nail Strengthener and Makeover Ridge Filler. Putting aside the claims that these products will rejuvenate and restore my nails, these are excellent base coats. It is uncommon that polish will last for more than three days without chipping while using my standard base coat, but both of these products prolonged my manicures for at least five days, and sometimes up to a week.

Launchpad is a typical base coat: clear (with a bluish tint), thin, and fast drying. No complaints here. Makeover is a ridge filler, meant to smooth over the ridges and bumps in your nails to create a perfect, even manicure. It is slightly thicker than Launchpad, but not at all gloopy and is just as easy to work with. It leaves a white overcast on the nails, with an unexpected blue/purple iridescence — I almost felt sad covering it up.

Unfortunately, I didn’t feel the same love for the topcoat that was included in this kit: High Maintenance Instant Nail Thickener. “High Maintenance” is correct; it is so thick, gloopy, and slow drying that I only had to use it a few times to realize I would never waste my time with it again. Most thick topcoats are self-leveling; they initially leave a thick layer on top of the nail, but as they dry, they sink down within the polish and create a hard coating that completely encapsulates the nail. High Maintenance just remained atop my nails, drying at the very top but leaving a goopy layer of gook between my color and topcoat, just waiting to be smudged.

Lastly, the set ends with Rejuvenail Fortifying Nail & Cuticle Treatment. Initially, I loved it. It is a lightweight cream product with a pleasant scent that easily absorbs into the skin and makes my cuticles look great. However, the moisturizing effects would go away too soon, and I had to reapply more often than I would have liked. You may think I’m being unreasonable, because hand creams wash off and require reapplication, but I’ve just started using a new cuticle and hand treatment that knocks this one out of the park in long-lasting moisture (review coming soon).  Besides, after using the entire jar, I would have liked to see some long-term positive effects on my cuticles, none of which were obvious.

To address the kit as a whole in its claims for “longer, stronger, and healthier” nails: I honestly see no difference. My nails still peel and break, just as they did before I began using this system. There are no obvious long-term effects on my cuticles, which I was really hoping for. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this entire kit. I suggest just trying out Launchpad or Makeover if you’re in the market for a new, long-wearing base coat.

Ingredients in Rejuvenail Fortifying Nail & Cuticle Treatment: Aqua (Water), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Emulsifying Wax NF, Cetyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Dimethiconol, Isododecane, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Glycerin, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond Oil), Hydrolyzed Keratin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexyl Glycerin, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf (Green Tea) Extract, Gamma Aminobutyric Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Phylantrus Emblica Food Extract, Arbutin, Allantoin, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Parfum.

Ingredients in Launched Nail Strengthener: Ethyl Acetate, Butyl Acetate, Isopropyl Alcohol, Adipic Acid/Neopentyl Glycol/Trimellitic Anhydride Copolymer, Nitrocellulose, Triphenyl Phophate, Trimethyl Pentanyl Diisobutyrate, Stearalkonium Bentonite, Ehtyl Tosylamide, Tosylamide / Epoxy Resin, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Sucrose Acetate Isobutyrate, Benzophenone -1, Citric Acid, Diacetone Alcohol, Dimethicone, Water (and) Hydrolyzed Keratin, Titanium Dioxide, Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide, Red 7 Lake.

Ingredients in Makeover Ridge Filler: Ethyl Acetate, Butyl Acetate, Nitrocellulose, Adipic Acid/Neopentyl Glycol/Trimellitic Anhydride Copolymer, Isopropyl Alcohol, Propyl Acetate, Trimethyl Pentanyl Diisobutyrate, Triphenyl Phophate, Butyl Alcohol, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Silk, Mica, Stearalkonium Bentonite, Water, Benzophenone -1, Citric Acid, Dimethicone, Panthenol, Hydrolized Soy Protein, Saccharide Isomerate, Water (and) Hydrolyzed Keratin, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides.

Ingredients in High-Maintenance Instant Nail Thickener: Ethyl Acetate, Butyl Acetate, Nitrocellulose, Adipic Acid/Neopentyl Glycol/Trimellitic Anhydride Copolymer, Alcohol Denat., Isopropyl Alcohol, Triphenyl Phophate, Trimethyl Pentanyl Diisobutyrate, Butyl Alcohol, Benzophenone -1, Water (and) Hydrolyzed Keratin, Dimethicone, Violet 2.