You’re just going about your day, minding your own business when all of a sudden you look down and your nail is jagged, the tip hanging on by tiny a thread. Whether your nails are au natural or you’re never without a full set, we can all agree on one thing: A broken nail is enough to upend the entire day. But that’s where nail strengtheners come into play. Chances are you’ve briefly considered using one, but maybe you thought it was too good to be true. How could a simple product rid your world of bad nail days for good? Well, you better believe it sister, because these 12 nail strengtheners have changed our at-home manicure game tenfold. Read below for our top picks, then grab one and reap the benefits for weeks to come.
Got Brittle, Peeling Nails? The 12 Best Nail Strengtheners to Try
PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here.
1. Duri Rejuvacote 1 Original Maximum Strength Nail Growth System, Base And Top Coat
Best Combo Base/Top Coat
Looking for a do-it-all product that can be used as a top coat, base coat or on its own? The search ends here. Duri Rejuvacote’s versatile formula features two types of protein, keratin and calcium, which work in tandem to stimulate growth and seal in moisture. Nails are left hydrated, so dryness and peeling are manicure woes of the past.
2. Opi Nail Envy Nail Strengthener Treatment
Best After Gel Removal
This formula uses pure science to treat your nails; Hydrolyzed wheat protein and calcium chemically react with the protein in your nails to make them harder. Neat, right? We love this formula for its focus on sensitivity and peeling, an unfortunate side effect that sometimes occurs when you remove gels, acrylics or dip manicures. Bonus: It can be used as a standalone treatment or a base coat alternative.
3. Jinsoon Strengthening Base Power Coat Nail Lacquer
Best Base Coat
Free from 10 harmful toxins, JINsoon makes one of the cleanest nail lacquers you can buy. And this nail strengthening base coat is no exception. It contains four powerful strengthening and priming ingredients such as biotin, PhycoCoral, methiopeptide and, get this, real diamond particles. Apply it before painting your nails for a hardening effect.
4. Reserveage Nutrition Tres Beauty 3, Beauty Supplement For Hair, Skin And Nails
If you can barely remember to wash your face and don’t want to add another step to your beauty routine, consider trying a supplement in your morning multivitamin lineup. This daily pill targets nail growth and strength from the inside out with collagen, keratin and elastin, but it also benefits hair and skin, too. One PureWow editor took these to grow out her bob while in quarantine, but noticed that her usually brittle nails also grew rapidly and became super strong.
5. Nails Inc. Nailkale Superfood Base Coat
Best Antioxidant-Rich Treatment
If you haven’t already guessed from the product name, this formula contains, yep, kale. But it’s also made with a host of other antioxidant-rich botanicals (like grape extract and sunflower seed oil) and keratin to deliver five key benefits: nourishing, hardening, hydrating, growth stimulating and breakage prevention. And don’t let the minty green hue fool you—it goes on totally clear, so it can be worn alone or as a base coat as intended.
6. Dr. Hauschka Neem Nail And Cuticle Pen
Best for Nails and Cuticles
When our nails are brittle, that often means are cuticles are a bit worse for wear, too. Enter this hydrating and repairing nail and cuticle pen. The secret ingredients? Neem leaf and Anthyllis which prevent breakage, and chamomile to soften nail beds. It’s also the perfect product to throw in your bag for out-and-about touch ups. The pen itself comes with a beveled cap to easily push your cuticles back.
7. Tenoverten The Foundation Base Coat
Best Hydrating Formula
Not only is this product free from the eight common toxic nail polish chemicals, but it’s also infused with hydrating ingredients like vitamin E, which is helpful for restoring moisture loss. Yep, our actual nails can become brittle if they lose too much water and slathering them in hand cream isn’t a fix all. Instead, apply this fortifying base coat before nail polish to add moisture back to dry, cracking nails to keep them from breaking.
8. Sally Hansen Nailgrowth Miracle Serum
Best Nail Serum
Prefer a serum that you can apply whether or not your nails are painted? This formula from Sally Hansen works on bare nails or over polish and is proven to grow nails by 59 percent while instantly smoothing cuticles in the process. The best part? You’ll notice a difference in just five days thanks to the collagen, multi-vitamins and keratin, which combine to prevent splitting and cracking while promoting healthy nail growth.
9. Côte Resurface/repair Base Coat
Best for Brittle Nails
At first glance, the $27 price tag might seem steep, but it’s a fraction of what you’d pay for even one gel manicure in most cities. Besides, this base coat is totally worth it. Packed with vitamin B5 and coffee extract, it strengthens and repairs brittle nails on contact for a longer lasting, chip-free manicure and puts a stop to broken nails.
10. Essie Treat Love & Color Nail Polish & Strengthener
Best Nail Polish & Strengthener
More of a one-and-done gal? We feel you. Essie’s innovative formula is a base coat, nail color, treatment and top coat all in one convenient bottle. Swipe on two coats of any color in this line and you’ll reap all the benefits without wasting a single precious second. Its combo of collagen and camellia extract work together to repair dry, brittle nails in as little as one week, while still maintaining that Insta-worthy mani you’re used to.
11. Ella+mila First Aid Kiss Nail Strengthener
Best for Thin Nails
This formula requires a four-week commitment, but we assure you it’s worth it. Made with nourishing vitamin E and a sweet watermelon scent, it’s a joy to apply and takes all of two minutes to do so. At the end of the month, you can expect stronger, thicker natural nails with or without nail polish.
12. Cnd Rescuerxx
Best for Weak Nails
This daily Keratin treatment has been clinically proven to improve the look and feel of weak, brittle nails in just one week. How, you ask? It’s all in the carefully combined ingredients. Jojoba seed oil deeply moisturizes and conditions nails, while keratin protein strengthens the nail plate and sweet almond oil softens and nourishes. You’ll immediately notice a thickening effect and a few weeks in, you’ll reap the benefits of less splitting, peeling and white patches.