Nothing is quite as satisfying as a fresh manicure. Strong, even, aesthetically pleasing nails can be the difference between someone having a bad week or a good week.
Problem is, not everyone’s nails are strong enough to withstand a mani – or even light work around the house.
It’s common for nails to begin to weaken with age, constant exposure to water, harsh working conditions, lack of vitamins, and if you’re constantly covering your nails with polish.
Weak nails feel flimsy and break easily, meaning it’s time to give your fingernails some well-deserved TLC.
If you’re struggling with weak nails, you’ve come to the right place. Here is our guide to help you find the best nail strengthening nail polish.
The key to choosing a nail strengthening nail polish is to find one that repairs damaged nails without irritating the skin around them.
This Probelle Nail Strengthener is designed to repair and support weakened, fragile, soft, and thin nails that are prone to chipping and peeling.
It achieves this through a formula filled with strengthening properties, including vitamin B5 and vitamin C, which help to improve the flexibility and integrity of nails.
Hexanal is another key ingredient in this nail strengthener, as it works to retain moisture and thus encourages the nails to restore their natural nutrients.
This, in turn, helps to produce stronger nails that are unlikely to break and peel.
This nail strengthening nail polish is a clear gloss that can be applied before or after applying nail polish. Alternatively, you can also apply it without any colored nail polish.
This is especially useful for work environments where nail polish is not permitted.
When using this product, we found it works best either alone or underneath nail polish. The effects begin to appear after 2-4 weeks of use, wherein weak and fragile nails begin to harden and become more resilient.
It is recommended to remove this product once a week to apply a fresh coat.
- Strengthening properties – Vitamin B5, vitamin C, and hexanal work together to strengthen and improve the structure of nails
- Non-irritant – Doesn’t irritate the skin surrounding fingernails
- Clear gloss – Can be worn alone or underneath colored nail polish
- Doesn’t promote growth – Ingredients focus on strengthening nails rather than growing them
When it comes to buying nail polish, people will often stick with the brands that they know and trust.
One of those brands is essie, a leading nail polish brand known for producing a wide range of nail polishes, including colors, gels, and even nail strengtheners.
This nail strengthener is a particularly popular product in essie’s inventory, providing a strengthening treatment that has been proved 96% successful.
The product is made up of a strengthening formula that is designed to work effectively within 3 days of use.
This nail polish is clear and should be applied with two coats at once. Despite applying two coats, reviewers have stated how fast this nail polish dries, which is ideal for those on the go.
While it can be worn by itself, it can also be worn as a base coat underneath colored nail polish or gel nails.
Within 3 days, the results begin to show. Once weak and brittle nails become stronger and less likely to crack or break. Plus, your nails will begin to develop a healthy shine as the strengthener restores the nail’s natural protective barrier.
When testing this product, we appreciated how the formula is completely vegan and cruelty-free. Unfortunately, this is still a rarity in the world of nail polish, so this strengthener is a step in the right direction.
- Top quality brand – Essie is a popular brand known for producing high-quality nail products
- Works quickly – Strengthening results show within 3 days of use
- Vegan – Formula is both vegan and cruelty-free
- Short shelf life – Becomes thick after 4-8 weeks of use and will need to be replaced
Here’s the thing – not all nail strengtheners are designed to be worn with nail polish underneath. In most cases, nail strengthening nail polish is either worn alone or as a base coat underneath nail polish.
The Sally Hansen nail strengthener is an exception to this rule. This product is actually marketed as a top coat, so you don’t have to worry about applying it before painting your nails.
This is ideal for when you’ve accidentally forgotten to apply the strengthener beforehand!
It’s worth noting that this is a top coat product, so it will not harden in the same way when used on bare nails.
As a clear nail polish, it leaves a high shine finish that is the perfect way to round off a fresh manicured look. The polish lasts a surprisingly long time, which in turn helps your nail polish last for a long time, too.
Not only does the product seal the nail polish as a top coat, but it works to strengthen the quality of your nails underneath. This is an ideal product for those who like to have color on their nails while wanting to improve the strength of them.
When testing this product, we appreciated how budget-friendly the polish is, making it one of the most affordable nail strengtheners on the market.
- Top coat – Works as a top coat, allowing it to strengthen nails while protect colored nail polish
- Strengthening formula – Works to strengthen and prevent breakage and peeling
- Long-lasting – One coat hardens and protects for up to and over a week
- Just a top coat – Cannot be used as a base coat
Don’t be fooled by the name of this nail strengthener. While its key ingredient is horsetail, this actually refers to the naturally growing horsetail plant, which is packed in minerals and nutrients!
Ellie Chase is another well-loved nail polish and nail care brand around the world, providing high-quality products for people with all nail types.
This horsetail nail strengthener works brilliantly for those with fragile, brittle, weak, and thin nails that are prone to breakages, chips, and peeling.
The horsetail plant is high in silica, which is known for its benefits in improving the quality of bones, hair, and nails.
Not only does this help to strengthen nails, but it also promotes healthy growth, which is ideal for those who have a nervous habit of biting their nails.
This nail strengthener can work either as a base coat, a top coat, or even a stand-alone product. This is ideal for those who are preparing to do their nails, those who already have their nails done, and those who don’t have time to do their nails.
Regardless of how you wear it, the polish works as a treatment to boost the health of your fingernails.
When testing this product, we appreciated how the formula is both cruelty-free and free from harsh chemicals such as xylene and formaldehyde, which are both irritants.
- Horsetail ingredient – Plant ingredient is packed in nutrients and minerals to promote strength and growth in nails
- Versatile – Can be worn as a base coat, top coat, or alone
- Long-lasting – Formula doesn’t thicken so the shelf-life is long
- Not too shiny – Dries clear and without too much shine, which might not be a personal preference for some
Another Sally Hansen product, this nail strengthener comes in a simple and pretty pale pink color. As most nail strengtheners come in a clear gloss, this is quite a rarity.
It means that users don’t have to worry about covering their nails with a base coat before applying a color, because this is an all-in-one product.
This nail strengthener doesn’t just look nice, but it also works brilliantly for broken, damaged, and weak nails.
The key ingredients in the formula are vitamin E, Jasmine, and Rose, all of which are natural products designed to gently restore and repair broken nails without causing more damage.
Vitamin E is a particularly useful ingredient as it works to retain moisture in the nails, which not only encourages a healthy shine to your nails without nail polish, but also heals and repairs broken and dry cuticles.
When testing this product, we appreciated that it comes in a pale pinkish-cream color that is ideal for everyday use (such as working in the office).
The pale color also means that other colors can be painted over the top of it.
- Natural ingredients – Gentle and natural formula promotes restoration through hydration
- Color – Comes in a pale pink-cream color that is ideal for everyday use
- Versatile – Vitamin E helps to restore and hydrate dry and broken cuticles
- Color – Some might prefer clear gloss to a color
Buying a nail strengthener isn’t quite the same as buying a regular nail polish. It’s not about the color, it’s about finding the right product with a good formula, a nice consistency, a good shelf-life, and of course the best results.
Here is our guide on what to look for when finding a nail-strengthening nail polish!
The most important factor to consider when finding the best nail strengthening nail polish is the formula.
You’ll want to avoid products that are filled with intense chemicals that can cause irritation and reactions, such as formaldehyde and xylene.
Instead, opt for products that contain minerals and nutrients such as vitamin B5, vitamin C, vitamin E, and natural products such as rose, jasmine, and horsehair plant.
These naturally occurring compounds work to promote stronger nails (and often bones and hair, too).
Another reason why checking the formula is so important is that some people with weak or fragile nails are undergoing intensive treatment from illnesses such as cancer or lupus.
Thinning nails is a side effect of such treatments, and you don’t want to make the symptom worse by lathering them with irritating polish.
If in doubt, it’s best to check with your doctor about what ingredients and chemicals to avoid in cosmetic products.
There’s nothing quite as cringy as applying a thick, gooey nail polish. While this is typically a sign of an out-of-date polish, some products come with this consistency in the first place.
For ease of application, we recommend opting for nail strengtheners that have a liquid-like consistency. These are easier to apply and faster to dry.
Next, make sure to consider how you want to apply the nail polish. Do you intend to wear it alone or as a base coat?
Most nail strengthener polishes are only designed to be worn underneath or without colored polish, as this encourages the nails to gain all the nutrients from the strengthening treatment.
However, you can find top coat nail strengtheners that go over the top of colored nails. This is handy for those who want to restore their nail health without removing their fresh mani.
These products also work as a hardening top coat to prevent the color underneath from chipping, which is a win-win.
Just remember that top coat nail strengtheners cannot be worn as a base coat or without nail polish underneath, as they will often peel off quickly.
In terms of re-application, it mostly depends on the manufacturer’s recommendation. Some polishes say to remove after once a week, while others will suggest a few days.
You know when you think your nails have dried, and then you discover a massive gash in the polish from where it clearly is still drying? There’s no frustration like it.
Fortunately, while clear nail polishes typically dry quicker than colored ones, you’ll want to make sure that the drying time is fast so your nails can receive all the treatment they need.
The best way to encourage a fast drying time is to apply one thin coat of nail strengthener at a time, only building if necessary.
Next, make sure to consider the shelf-life of the product. You don’t want to spend more money than you’d like to admit on a strengthening polish that only lasts 2 months, after all.
However, if you’re only looking for a short-term solution, then shelf-life shouldn’t be an issue.
You will know when your nail polish has exceeded its shelf-life when the consistency is thick, gloopy, and hard to apply.
While the majority of nail strengthening polishes come as a clear gloss, there are some products that make an exception. You’ll need to consider if you want to buy a colored nail strengthener or not, because this will determine how often you use it.
Colored nail strengtheners have their benefits and downfalls. While you won’t have to worry about applying a color polish over the top, it means you’re kind of stuck with one color until your nails have healed.
If you’re indecisive about colors, it’s best to stick with a clear gloss. Clear glosses are also ideal in workplaces with strict codes about nail polish, so you can remain professional while healing your weak nails.
If you want to treat your nails to the best nail oil check out this article
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Are My Nails Soft And Bendy?
There are several reasons why your nails are soft and bendy. These include:
- Constant exposure to water
- Constant application of nail polish, gel nails, and acrylics
- Illnesses such as lupus and cancer
- Treatments for diseases
- Certain medications
- Calcium, vitamin B, iron, and fatty acid deficiencies
What Is The Difference Between Nail Strengthener And Nail Hardener?
The difference between nail strengthener and nail hardener is all in the name!
While nail hardener works to harden nails (particularly used as a top coat to harden the nail polish underneath), nail strengthener works to strengthen weak, thin, and easily broken nails.
As both terms are often used interchangeably, it’s important to know the difference between them so you don’t accidentally buy the wrong product.
How Long Does It Take For Nail Strengthener To Work?
It mostly depends on the manufacturer’s recommendation. Some nail strengtheners take about 2-4 weeks to start working, while others might only take a few days.
This is because of varying formulas and external factors, such as if you’re taking medication, how often you use your hands, exposure to water or chemicals, and how often you apply the nail strengthener.
In most cases, it’s recommended to apply nail strengthener once a week.
After a week, wherein the gloss will have inevitably chipped significantly, you should remove and reapply so your nails have longer to soak up the treatment.