Brittle or weak nails? While a broken nail doesn’t seem all that dire in the grand scheme of things, it does signify that your nails need to undergo a bit of rehab. And we’re not talking about a fresh coat of nail polish. You’re going to need to apply a nail strengthener.
Unfortunately, not all nail strengtheners sold in the market are safe. Some contain formaldehyde or formalin. You needn’t worry though because we’ve found the 10 best nail strengtheners in the market today, that are not toxic.
Top 10 Nail Strengtheners of 2020 Reviewed
1. OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener Original Formula
Best Nail Strengthener for Thin Nails
The OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener is appropriately named because after a few applications of this product, your nails truly will be something to envy. The strengthener contains hydrolyzed wheat protein and calcium, both of which can help reinforce the structure of your nails leaving them stronger and promoting growth. The Original Formula is designed to treat weak or damaged nails but it can also be used as a base coat. However, it is expensive. Some users also reported that it can be hard to use the last bit of product inside the bottle as it thickens after a while.
- Contains calcium and hydrolyzed wheat protein
- Can be used as a base coat
- May thicken up after a while
2. Onyx Professional Hard as Hoof Nail Strengthening Cream
Best Nail Strengthener for Brittle Nails
The Onyx Professional Hard as Hoof Nail Strengthening Cream is a perfect choice if you’ve got dry and fragile nails. It has a moisture-rich formula which includes ingredients such as silk protein, jojoba oil, coconut oil, Vitamin B-5, and glycerin. This cream can help strengthen your nails as well as prevent cracks, splits, and chips. Not only that, it can condition your cuticles and even function as a hand lotion. We love the fact that the cream is quickly absorbed by the nails, cuticles, and skin so it doesn’t leave your hands sticky. However, it does come in a jar which makes the application a bit hard. You’ll need to scoop it out instead of squeezing the product out of a tube or brushing it on your nails. Also, not everyone likes the smell of coconuts. Also, since you need to apply it multiple times a day, one jar doesn’t last long.
- Moisture-rich formulation
- Can be used as a hand lotion
- Absorbs quickly
- Doesn’t last long
- Comes in a jar
- Not for those sensitive to the smell of coconut
3. Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Instant Nail Hardener
Best Nail Strengthener for Guitarists
The Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Instant Nail Hardener isn’t kidding when it says it has diamond strength. It actually contains real micro-diamond and titanium in the formula to create a shatterproof, protective shield on your nails to prevent splitting and tearing. What most people love about this product, which is formaldehyde-free by the way, is that it shows you results within a week of application. Plus, there’s no need to keep reapplying every day since the strengthener can stay on your nails for more than 2 to 3 days. However, the brush is small which makes applying it slightly more tedious than it should be. Also, it doesn’t dry very quickly. In addition, it is quite glossy and there is no matte option.
- Contains real micro-diamond and titanium
- Quick results
- Brush could be wider
- Doesn’t dry very quickly
- Very glossy, no matte option
4. Nail Tek Nail Strengthener Xtra
Best Nail Strengthener with Formaldehyde
If you have peeling nails, then you’ll love what the Nail Tek Nail Strengthener Xtra can do for you. This product has a concentrated formula that helps treat severe nail weakness. This nail strengthener is pretty easy to use as it dries really fast. Plus, it’s very affordable. Some users have seen results (noticeably harder nails) as short as a week after starting the regimen. However, it does chip or peels off rather quickly. And you do need to keep reapplying this every day. Also, it does contain a small amount of formaldehyde which can cause your nails to become brittle if used too much.
- Treats severe nail weakness
- Dries really fast
- Has formaldehyde
- Requires frequent application
- Peels or chips off rather quickly
5. CND Rescue RXx Daily Keratin Treatment
Best Nail Strengthener for Weak Peeling Nails
Keratin is the building blocks of your nails so it’s only logical that you use a nail strengthener containing keratin proteins to strengthen your weakened or damaged nails. The CND RescueRXx Daily Keratin Treatment does just that. It also contains jojoba oil and sweet almond oil to hydrate your nails and cuticles, leaving you with healthy looking nails. As an added bonus, this product contains all natural ingredients and is formaldehyde-free. Plus, we like the fact that this is so easy to apply on the nails. However, this is not a fast-acting product and it doesn’t get absorbed quickly.
- All natural ingredients
- Easy to apply
- Helps soften your cuticles too
- Not fast-acting; can take weeks for results to start showing
- Takes time to get absorbed by the nail
6. PP 3 X Essentials Rescue Highly Effective New Treatment Size 3.7 ML
Do you have brittle nails that break when they reach a certain length? You need to use the best nail strengthener. The 3 X Essentials Rescue by PP is a new kind of treatment that comes in a 3.7 ml bottle. Within the first week of application, you will notice a marked improvement in the quality of your nails. The makers of this product say that white spots will be diminished by up to 80 percent within that time. But that will continue into the 4th week when there will be 80 percent less peeling and 73 percent less splitting. Not only will you be able to strengthen your nails but also give them a longer life.
How does this product work? The answer lies in the formula used to make the product. Part of its ingredients is jojoba oil, a highly-effective moisturizer. The formula nourishes your nails with protein to provide them with strength right from the roots. The longer you use it, the more you will notice how effective it is.
- Might prove to be costlier
- Not suitable for everyone
- May thicken after some time
7. Nail Magic Strengthener
Best Nail Strengthener for Splitting Nails
This nail hardener and conditioner from Nail Magic has been rejuvenating nails since 1960. It was formulated by a professional manicurist to successfully treat weak, splitting, and thin nails. Like the OPI product we just reviewed, this one can also be used as a base coat, a top coat, or a clear polish. What we love about this nail strengthener is that there is no need to apply it multiple times a day, every day. Just twice a week will do. Plus, it comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. However, the product does thicken up after a while so you need to make sure you only get the small bottles. It does take at least 8 weeks for results to show. Also, this doesn’t dry quickly.
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
- 3-in-1 product
- Reputable brand
- Thickens after some time
- Takes 8 weeks for results to show
- Doesn’t dry quickly
8. Gelish Vitagel Recovery LED/UV Cured Nail Strengthener
If you want to repair your nails and promote growth after years of acrylic use, then there is none better than the Gelish Vitagel Recovery LED/UV Cured Nail Strengthener. Unlike traditional nail strengtheners, this gel polish requires the use of an LED lamp. What we love about this is that it doesn’t chip or peel off. It also doesn’t stain your nails. And when you want to take it off, just soak it and it comes right off, leaving you with smooth, healthy nails. Plus, have we mentioned that it’s formaldehyde-free? However, it isn’t easy to apply as the product is a bit thick. Also, you can’t use this with other Gelish products because it will cause the polish to peel off quickly.
- Doesn’t stain
- No chipping or peeling off
- Easy to remove
- Requires LED/UV lamp
- Will peel off quickly when used with other Gelish products
9. Maxus Base Coat
Best Nail Strengthener for Nail Biters
The Maxus Base Coat is not just your average base coat. It also functions as a nail strengthener. It can help rehab brittle, weak, and peeling nails. The formula contains tea tree oil which has antiseptic and antifungal benefits. It also contains 11 ingredients that are vegan and animal-cruelty free. It doesn’t have any gluten, sulfates, parabens, or phthalates. This cross-linking nail hardener also protects your nails from discoloration. However, this is not as potent as dedicated nail strengtheners. It is a bit expensive and it doesn’t work for everyone.
- Functions as a base coat
- Has antiseptic and anti-fungal properties
- Vegan-friendly and gluten-free
- Not as strong as dedicated nail strengtheners
- Doesn’t work for everyone
10. Essie Treat Love & Color
Best Nail Strengthener with Color
The Essie Treat Love & Color is another non-toxic option for those who want to give their nails a rehab but still enjoy a freshly-painted manicure. With this product, there’s no need for a base coat, a top coat, or even the polish itself. This nail strengthener contains brightening pigments to provide you with beautiful nails while the collagen & camellia extract work to reinforce your nails. However, the color is not really that noticeable, more like a nude or sheer polish so don’t expect bright colors. Also, it requires several coats in order to get the light sheer effect.
- Contains collagen & camellia extract
- Dries very quickly
- Just nude or sheer polish; not bright colors
- Requires several coats to get “color”
Choosing the Best Nail Strengthener Buying Guide
For most of us, taking care of our nails means filing them, getting a mani-pedi, etc. One thing we tend to forget is that our nails need more than that to look nice. They need to be healthy too. If your nails tend to chip or break off easily, chances are they need to undergo a bit of rehab. One of the best ways to get healthy nails is to use a nail strengthener. However, you can’t just buy the first nail strengthener you come across in Amazon.
Some products contain dangerous chemicals such as formaldehyde that can damage your nails in the long run. If you’re looking for a nail strengthener to “buff up” your nails, then our handy shopping guide can help you sort through the various products available and find the best one for you.
How Does a Nail Strengthener Work?
Nail strengtheners typically do two things. One, they provide a protective coating on top of the nail, reinforcing its structure and natural shape. And two, the microelements and proteins in nail strengtheners provide nourishment to the nail plate which promotes nail growth.
What are The Types of Nail Strengtheners?
There are two main types of nail strengtheners – hardeners and hydration.
Hydrators are nail strengtheners that moisturize a nail so that it becomes flexible, bending instead of breaking. Just think of them as similar to lotions for your skin or the conditioner to your hair. Hydrators usually contain oily and waxy ingredients mixed with water. The main disadvantage of using this type of nail strengthener is that you need to reapply it frequently to achieve maximum effect.
Just like what you do with lotions and conditioners, the strengthener wears off over time and/or can be washed away. The Onyx Professional Hard as Hoof Nail Strengthening Cream is a good option if you want to get a hydrator since it is packed with moisturizing ingredients. You’ll find that hydrators often look like an oil or a cream packed in a tube or jar. The ingredients typically include nylon and/or sulfhydryl protein.
Nail hardeners, on the other hand, can be divided into two types – reinforcing and cross-linking hardeners. Now, reinforcing hardeners like the Nail Tek Nail Strengthener Xtra do as their name suggests. They coat the nail and that added layer reinforces the natural external structure of the nail, much like a splint being placed on a broken bone.
Cross-linking hardeners like the Maxus Base Coat, in contrast, strengthen the “inside” of the nail. The ingredients of the nail hardener react with the proteins of the nails, creating chemical bonds that tie all the proteins together, thereby reinforcing the natural structure of the nail.
However, there is a chance that too much of this type of nail strengthener can cause your nail to become brittle over time. Nail hardeners are typically clear and in a bottle much like nail polish. Also, this type of nail strengthener is usually applied using a brush and contains formaldehyde or calcium.
So, Hardeners or Hydrators?
As we’ve already mentioned, hydrators like the CND Rescue RXx Daily Keratin Treatment need to be applied regularly if you want to get the maximum effect. Plus, these generally take a while to show you actual results. If you want a quick fix, however, a nail hardener may be more suitable.
What’s in the Formula?
As we’ve already mentioned, some formulas of nail strengtheners contain formaldehyde which can strengthen your nail. However, it will cause your nail to become brittle over time. Obviously, you’re going to need to stay away from products with that ingredient. But what should you look for? Look for ingredients such as Vitamin E, Aloe Vera, proteins like keratin, and Jojoba oil which can treat nails for brittleness. The OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener Original Formula, for example, contains calcium and hydrolyzed wheat protein. Nail strengtheners with nylon derivatives are ideal for nails that require reinforcement.
What’s Causing Your Nails To Become Weak and/or Brittle?
While nail strengtheners can be good for your weak nails, it can only do so much. It won’t be able to keep your nails healthy if there is an underlying cause that doesn’t get treated. For example, hypothyroidism, anemia, and Raynaud’s syndrome are just a few of the medical conditions that can cause brittle nails. Just biting your nails regularly can also cause them to become weak. This is because doing so keeps your nails damp which make them an ideal breeding ground for fungus. Even if you continuously apply nail strengthener to your nails, and dry the nails completely, you won’t be getting the results you want without treating that underlying cause such as getting rid of that bad habit.
Go to a salon that uses an LED curing light rather than a UV curing light. Gel nails require ultraviolet (UV) light to harden. LED emits lower levels of UV radiation than a UV curing light. An LED light also cures more quickly, which reduces your UV exposure.Are nail strengtheners healthy? ›
Nail strengthener enhances the health of your nails by providing them with extra nourishment and acting as an additional layer of protection for your nail plate. When you apply nail strengthener to your nails, it creates a flexible film on the surface of your nails, which protects them from damage.What is the best natural nail strengthener? ›
Castor oil is an age-old natural treatment for the skin, hair and nails. The oil is masterful in moisturizing the cuticles and contains undecylenic acid, which helps to treat brittle or unhealthy nails.What is the best nail vitamin? ›
Biotin (vitamin B7) is crucial to nail health as it helps form keratin, the main protein that makes up nails. It helps to keep nails strong and prevents brittleness. It can also help to speed up nail growth and enhance nail strength. Sources of biotin include eggs, nuts, salmon, avocados, and dark leafy greens.Is vaseline good for your nails? ›
"It helps your cuticles, keeps your hands and nails hydrated, and works better than callus removal if you put it on your feet and wear socks overnight," says Nguyen. "The best part is that it's affordable and probably already in your medicine cabinet!" she adds.Which is better for your nails dip or gel? ›
Therefore, professional nail products — be it dip powder or gel — are equally healthy for the nails. In fact, the most important thing to know about dip powder or gel is that neither inherently causes damage to the nail. Instead, damage is caused by improper application or removal of nail coatings.What is the best moisturizer for fingernails? ›
Dermatologists recommend rubbing petroleum jelly, vitamin E, or cuticle creams into your cuticles at night. Applying a moisturizing cream or a hand balm to the nails on a daily basis will help keep them moist. And moisturizing products that contain urea, phospholipids, or lactic acid will help prevent cracking.How do I stop my nails from splitting and ridged? ›
- Keep your nails clean and healthy.
- Refrain from keeping your hands or feet in water for long periods.
- Use moisturizer on your nails and cuticles.
- Use nail hardening products if necessary. ...
- Don't bite or pick around your nails.
- Refrain from using nail polish remover.
- Moisturize your hands and nails regularly. ...
- Keep your nails on the shorter side. ...
- Become a nail filing master. ...
- Ditch nail polish removers that contain acetone. ...
- Don't overuse hand sanitizer. ...
- Eat more foods that promote strong nails. ...
- Stay hydrated. ...
- Consider popping biotin supplements.
To repair damaged nails, a nail strengthener should be applied every day or every other day for 7-14 days in order to see optimal results. For preventative nail maintenance, a nail strengthener can be applied once a week or with each new manicure as a basecoat.
Results: Bioactive collagen peptides treatment promoted an increase of 12% nail growth rate and a decrease of 42% in the frequency of broken nails. Additionally, 64% of participants achieved a global clinical improvement in brittle nails, and 88% of participants experienced an improvement 4 weeks post-treatment.What vitamin can I take to make my fingernails stronger? ›
Take a biotin supplement
Biotin, also known as vitamin H and vitamin B7, is one of the B vitamins. Because it's water-soluble, it isn't stored by the body, so you have to ensure that you consume it daily. Biotin can help strengthen hair and nails. It also helps the body's nervous system to function properly.
Add shine to the nails with olive oil
You can soak your fingertips in warm olive oil for 15 to 20 minutes to promote the moisturization of your nails and fingers, then dry your hands naturally without wiping.
Lemon juice is enriched with vitamin C that treats your nails and makes them stronger and healthier. Soak your nails in a bowl of fresh lemon juice for 5-10 minutes. It helps reverse your damaged nails and also removes the yellow stains from the nail.What products do professional nail techs use? ›
- Nail Desk/Station & Table Lamp. As a beginner nail tech, it is vital to have a proper workstation. ...
- Nail File & Buffer. ...
- Nail Drill. ...
- Acrylic, Gels & Brushes. ...
- Isopropyl Alcohol. ...
- Acetone. ...
- Base & Top Coat Nail Polishes. ...
- Cuticle Oil.
Biotin. Biotin is a B-complex vitamin, also known as vitamin B7, coenzyme R and vitamin H. It promotes healthy cell growth and aids in the metabolism of protein-building amino acids that are essential for nail growth. Biotin-rich foods and supplements may help strengthen your brittle fingernails.What Vitamin Are you lacking If your nails are weak? ›
Weak nails might also be associated with a deficiency in B vitamins, calcium, iron, or fatty acids.What vitamins get rid of nail ridges? ›
Consider taking biotin supplements.Why put toothpaste on fingernails? ›
Whitening toothpaste, when applied, can lighten and brighten your nails in just a few short minutes. The same clinically proven natural whitening ingredients in products such as Tom's of Maine Luminous White Toothpaste can double as a treatment for surface stains on nails.What is the best oil for your nails? ›
Rosehip Oil is a non-greasy emollient that will replenish cracked cuticles and reveal healthy nails. Jojoba Carrier Oil - Abundant in Vitamin E, which replenishes skin and treats weak and brittle nails. Jojoba Oil also helps repair collagen loss within the nail beds, promoting healthy nail growth.
Lipner says, “It's not dangerous to apply a dip powder every month. However, to remove these manicures, you need to put 100% acetone on your nails, which can damage your nails.” The acetone removes more than the nail color. “It peels off layers of nail and thins the nails over time,” says Dr.Is dip worse for your nails than acrylic? ›
“I'd say they both have the same amount of safety concerns. However, dip is a bit safer because the layers are not as thick as acrylics, and it reduces the chances of nail beds breaking and fungal infections,” Kwok says. Whereas, with acrylics, there is toluene, a toxic chemical found in acrylic nail glue.Is dip powder healthier for your nails? ›
So, are dip powder nails healthier? The short answer is yes, for several reasons: Durability reduces chipping distress associated with regular manicures. The dip powder process allows your nails to grow without damaging the root.What nail shape is best for aging hands? ›
“Classic nail shapes, like round and oval, are especially flattering for aging hands,” says Tom Bachik, celebrity manicurist and global nail designer for L'Oréal Paris, whose client list includes Jennifer Lopez and Julianne Moore.What is the best Moisturiser for toenails? ›
To moisturize your toenails, Elle suggests using a cuticle cream, petroleum jelly, or vitamin E oil. Put it over the entire nail, including the cuticle, and gently rub it in.What oil is best for dry nails? ›
Cuticle oils are made of so many nourishing ingredients and have loads of benefits to help strengthen nails. Boyce says to look for ones with plant oils like jojoba oil, coconut oil, and argan oil, as those contain a lot of antioxidants and fatty acids that protect and nourish dry skin.What am I lacking if my fingernails are splitting? ›
Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiency causes of cracked nails. The body also requires proteins and B vitamins to effectively build strong, healthy nails.How do I get rid of ridges on my fingernails? ›
Some dermatologists suggest you can gently buff nails to remove ridges. However, it's recommended to stick with moisturizing your nails, keeping them trimmed, and checking with a dermatologist for further consideration.Why do I get vertical splits in my nails? ›
Split nails are common. They can affect both fingernails and toenails and are usually the result of physical trauma, such as an object crushing them. However, wear and tear, as well as nutrient deficiencies, are also potential causes.What vitamin is good for nails and hair? ›
Though you should be getting the right amount of vitamins, minerals and water every day, your body functions at its best. That can lead to hydrated skin, shiny hair and strong nails. Vitamins A, E and D; iron; healthy fats; carbohydrates; and protein are especially important for skin, hair and nail health.
Biotin, a type of B vitamin, has been shown to increase nail thickness by about 25% in patients with brittle nails and "can improve nail smoothness and reduce nail splitting,” she says, ultimately supporting faster growth.What helps nails grow quickly? ›
Biotin is an important type of B vitamin that allows the body to turn food into energy. It's also highly recommended as a supplement to help boost the strength of hair and nails. Several human studies suggest that taking a biotin supplement daily can help strengthen nails.
A quick and easy nail strengthener is castor oil, which you can massage daily into the nail bed when you're on the go.How many coats of nail strengthener should I put on? ›
How To Use. Apply two coats to clean, dry nails with cuticles pushed back, followed by one coat every other day. After one week, use any OPI Polish Remover to remove all Nail Envy and nail lacquer, if present. Begin application again.How long should you leave nail strengthener on? ›
Nail strengthener is easy to use. You simply add one or two coats to your nails every day, then remove all the product after 5 to 7 days before starting the process all over again. But how do you remove nail strengthener properly? It's actually far more simple than you may assume.What foods are high in collagen? ›
- Bone Broth. One of the most popular and widely known food sources of collagen is bone broth. ...
- Gelatin. Gelatin is a flavorless and colorless food ingredient derived directly from the collagen in animal tissue. ...
- Egg Whites. ...
- Chicken. ...
- Fish and Oysters. ...
- Pigs' Feet.
Whether you're looking to strengthen your hair, skin, or nails, collagen is the way to go. If you're deciding between biotin and collagen, remember that you can get the full benefits of biotin through foods, but you can only get the full benefits of hydrolyzed collagen in a collagen supplement.What is the best collagen supplement for nails? ›
- Elm & Rye Biotin Supplement & Elm & Rye Collagen.
- Livs Gummies Biotin.
- NourishVita Hair, Skin, Nails Gummies.
- Mary Ruth's Biotin Gummies.
- Neocell Biotin Beauty Soft Chews.
- BeLive Biotin Gummies.
- Codeage Hair Gummies.
- Hello Bello Hair, Skin, Nails + Collagen.
- Côte Nail Polish (Two-Pack) $30.00. Cote.
- Base Coat Nail Polish. $20.00.
- Ella + Mila Nail Polish. $10.50.
- Sally Hansen's Good. Kind. Pure Nail Polish. $6.72.
- Pacifica's Plant Magic Polish. $10.00.
- Nailtopia Plant-Based Nail Lacquer. $10.00.
- Zoya Nail Polish. $10.00.
- Sundays Nail Polish (Three-Pack) $56.00.
- Take a biotin supplement. ...
- Minimize exposure to water. ...
- Stay hydrated. ...
- Pay attention to your diet. ...
- Be careful about the products you use. ...
- Avoid using gel or acrylic nails, if possible. ...
- Give your nails a break from polish.
Lipner says, “It's not dangerous to apply a dip powder every month. However, to remove these manicures, you need to put 100% acetone on your nails, which can damage your nails.” The acetone removes more than the nail color. “It peels off layers of nail and thins the nails over time,” says Dr.Is it OK to wear nail polish all the time? ›
While wearing nail polish all the time won't stop your nails from growing, it does damage your nail integrity. Even with blood supply, nails do still need air to “breathe”. That's why a break from nail polish every few weeks is a must. For keratin granulation, 3 to 4 weeks will be enough time to give your nails a rest.Is vinegar good for your fingernails? ›
Another natural wonder food, apple cider vinegar is beneficial for brittle nails because it contains a high concentration of iron, calcium, and vitamins. To use, mix apple cider vinegar in warm water and soak nails for at least 10 minutes a day for best results.What foods harden your nails? ›
Meat and Eggs: “Because nails are made of the protein keratin, a diet that includes plenty of protein like red meat can help your nails repair, grow and maintain their strength,” Crisalli says.