13 Best Nail Strengtheners To Repair Peeling Nails Of 2021

Written by Sneha Manandhar
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Who doesn’t love dressed up nails? But what a shock it is when you suddenly notice one day that your beautiful nails have started chipping, and cracking, and oh lord, actually splitting. Or, you are all dressed up for that special occasion and you look down to see that your beautifully manicured nail has snagged. Well, after the initial panic and wailing, it’s a good idea to do something about it and that’s where the 13 best nail strengtheners to repair peeling nails come to the rescue. They ensure that your long, strong, and beautiful nails become a reality again.

Top 10 Products
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Onyx Hard As Hoof Nail Strengthening Cream
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O.P.I. Nail Envy Original Nail Strengthener
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Ella + Mila Nail Care
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Sally Hansen Mega Strength Ultra-Shine Top Coat
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Nail Tek Nail Strengthener
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O.P.I. Natural Nail Strengthener
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Prolana Nail Optimizer
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Probelle Nail Strengthener
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Sozge Original Formula Nail Strengthener
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Barielle Nail Strengthener Cream
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Nail experts say that your nails usually crack and peel because they become brittle and a nail hardener or strengthener polish or cream or gel is enriched with calcium, proteins, vitamins, and minerals that moisturize and nourish your brittle nails, making them strong and healthy once again. These nutrients make your nails stronger and better able to withstand the effects of pollution, nutrition, climate, and chemical treatments. The best nail strengtheners can either be used as a stand alone treatment or as a base coat for your nail polish, so that your nails are fortified and you can once again party with those glamorous nails.

13 Best Nail Strengtheners To Repair Peeling Nails Of 2021

1. Onyx Hard As Hoof Nail Strengthening Cream

The Hard As Hoof nail strengthening cream, as the name suggests, has been strengthening fingernails and conditioning and softening cuticles for over 25 years. It contains vitamins, minerals, calcium, and emollients that prevent chipping, splitting, and cracking of nails, and also repairs the damage caused by acrylic nails. Enriched with vitamin A, C, D, and E, minerals, calcium, beeswax, and jojoba oil, it strengthens your nails and restores the natural moisture to dry and thin nails, making them stronger and healthier. This nail treatment works on both finger and toenails and can be used with or without nail polish.

PROS:

  • Cruelty-free
  • Natural ingredients
  • No toxic chemicals
  • Enriched with vitamins

CONS:

  • Some may find the fragrance of coconut undesirable

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2. O.P.I. Nail Envy Original Nail Strengthener

Bothered by weak, thin, fragile nails? This product may just be the answer you are looking for as it works to strengthen weak nails and fortify them with nutrients. It can be used as a treatment for weak nails or as a base coating on nails for stronger, longer, healthier nails. This nail strengthener is a combination of hydrolyzed wheat protein and calcium to make your nails stronger and healthier than before, and also increases the thickness of nails. It comes in 4 neutral shades to add a tint of color while strengthening your nails and works best when used in combination with the OPI Nail & Cuticle Oil.

PROS:

  • Contains natural ingredients
  • Full of nutrients
  • Can be used as a base coat
  • Comes in 4 shades

CONS:

  • Contains formaldehyde

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3. Ella + Mila Nail Care

As the packaging suggests, this product gives your nails the strength of an elephant. This nail strengthening polish contains vitamin E and is used for strengthening weak, thin, splitting, or peeling nails as it coats onto nails. Not only is this strengthening polish chip-resistant, long-lasting, and quick-drying, it also has a high-gloss shine, which leaves your nails looking beautiful even without nail color. It contains UV inhibitors, which prevent the yellowing of nails after nail polish removal. It’s a good idea to try out this product as it offers your nails strong protection and helps them to grow long and healthy.

PROS:

  • Vegan
  • PETA certified cruelty-free
  • Formaldehyde-free
  • Toluene-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Resin-free
  • Camphor-free
  • TPHP-free
  • Xylene-free

CONS:

  • May peel off in some cases

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4. Sally Hansen Mega Strength Ultra-Shine Top Coat

Their strongest formula yet, the Sally Hansen Mega Strength top coat protects your nails from cracking, breaking, and peeling. It’s available in 30 vibrant colors and instantly makes your nails stronger and healthier. This nail strengthener polish adds a nourishing color and fortifies your nails with its nutrients by coating your nails, which are powered by argan oil, acai oil, and primrose oil. It is a 2-step gel system, which does not require a UV lamp to dry and gives a chip-resistant gel-like shine, and is easy to remove with a regular nail polish remover. Made with a keratin complex formula, it gives you stronger nails and is equipped with a precision brush for easy application.

PROS:

  • Dries fast
  • Comes in a variety of colors
  • Contains natural ingredients
  • Keratin complex formula

CONS:

  • Some may find its consistency thin

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5. Nail Tek Nail Strengthener

Whatever the condition of your nails, the Nail Tek has a solution for it. It follows a “treat by type” system and gives you personalized treatment depending on your area of concern, making it one of the favorite nail strengtheners. Right from regular nails to soft, peeling nails, to hard, brittle nails, to weak and damaged nails, it has an answer to all your nail woes. This nail strengthening polish promises to be the ultimate treatment for weak, damaged nails as this unique base coat is a special blend of strengtheners, conditioners, microfibres, and natural fillers. It’s especially good for treating nails that are damaged due to gel nail polish or acrylic nails. This nail coat is not only therapeutic but is also a unique blend of essential oils and moisturizers combined with natural ingredients including calcium, which are effective in restoring, protecting, and maintaining healthy cuticles and nails. Definitely worth a try!

PROS:

  • Cruelty-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Toluene-free
  • Formaldehyde-free

CONS:

  • May peel or form bubbles

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6. O.P.I. Natural Nail Strengthener

The O.P.I Natural Nail Strengthener works as both a base coat and as a nail strengthening polish. It prevents yellowing and discoloration of nails caused by frequent use of nail lacquers. This nail strengthener provides layers of protection to natural nails with its nutrients and helps them grow strong and healthy. Whether it’s for a long-lasting manicure or to prevent chipping, splitting, and cracking of nails, this fingernail strengthener is definitely the way to go! It can be applied under regular nail polish to extend the life of your manicure or as a stand-alone treatment. Do give it a try for you may be missing out on something great!

PROS:

  • Quick-drying
  • No toxic chemicals
  • Prevents discoloration
  • Can be used as a base coat

CONS:

  • It may flake in rare cases.

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7. Prolana Nail Optimizer

Tired of those cracking, splitting, chipping nails? What is your biggest nail concern? We might have the answer for you! Enriched with protein and calcium, this nail strengthening polish makes a promise to repair your weak and damaged nails and make them strong, healthy, and flexible. It provides a high-gloss finish and dries instantly, making it all the more convenient. This product can be used both as a base coat and as a top coat, making the application of your nail color smooth. It also fortifies your nails, so that they remain strong and healthy.

PROS:

  • Phthalate-free
  • Toluene-free
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • Fast drying
  • Enriched with protein and calcium

CONS:

  • Contains formaldehyde

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8. Probelle Nail Strengthener

If your chipped, soft, fragile nails have become the bane of your existence, we suggest trying this product as it can be used as a base coat for your nails, thus giving them that extra strength and life. Free of harmful and toxic ingredients, this nail strengthener polish has a transparent nitrocellulose-based formula with 3 AHAs, vitamin B5, and C, and patented hexanal. It provides a glossy finish to the nail plate, increases the life of your manicure, and also repairs damage caused by pollution, age, gel nail polish, or acrylic nails.

PROS:

  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • Formaldehyde-free
  • GMP certified

CONS:

  • Strong smell

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9. Sozge Original Formula Nail Strengthener

If you thought strong, long, and healthy nails were a distant dream, it’s time to reconsider. Infused with wheat protein and calcium, this product is one of the best nail strengtheners and transforms your weak, brittle, and fragile nails, making them strong and healthy. It contains AHAs, which are great for rectifying rough, dry, and discolored nails, and has a transparent nitrocellulose-based formula with no toxic chemicals, making it safe to use. Apart from being used as a treatment, It can be used both as a base coat and top coat, thus hardening your nails and also giving a high gloss finish to both your nails and regular nail polish.

PROS:

  • Quick-drying
  • DBP-free
  • Toluene-free
  • Used as both base coat and top coat

CONS:

  • Contains formaldehyde

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10. Barielle Nail Strengthener Cream

If you’re a Kardashian fan, this nail strengthening cream has the distinction of being featured in the official app of Khloe Kardashian. With an interesting history, this product was made to condition the hooves of million dollar racehorses, till they realized it worked wonders for the nails of the jockeys who applied it as well. This breakthrough formula helps your nails to grow stronger and healthier and prevents your nails from splitting, cracking, peeling, breaking, or forming ridges. For best results, you should leave the cream on overnight for maximum absorption. Use this cream 2-3 times a day and it can be used with nail polish as well.

PROS:

  • No Formaldehyde
  • Vegan
  • Phthalate-free
  • Toluene-free
  • Xylene-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Camphor-free
  • Pregnancy-safe

CONS:

  • Texture might be grainy

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11. Butter London Horse Power Nail Rescue Basecoat

If your brittle, splitting, and cracking nails are giving you nightmares, do try this nail strengthening polish that will fortify and strengthen your fragile nails and prevent nail chipping and splitting with its renewing treatment. This product is infused with biotin, horsetail extract, vitamin B, and calcium to help repair your damaged nails and protect them against future damage. This nail strengthener not only benefits your nails but also your cuticles and ensures that your nails are always healthy, strong, and ready to party.

PROS:

  • Formaldehyde-free
  • DBP-free
  • Toluene-free
  • Camphor-free

CONS:

  • Slightly expensive

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12. Carmichael’s Imperial Cuticle Cream

This product has been a customer favorite for over 50 years and is a fine nail and cuticle grooming staple. This fast-absorbing salve is ideal for use at any time. It’s perfect for sensitive, cracked cuticles and is so mild that it can even be used as a salve for your lips. This gluten-free nail strengthener softens the cuticles so that they can be pushed back easily and painlessly. It contains natural beeswax and petroleum to hydrate and condition your nails, so that your nails are healed and protected from further damage. Massage it into your cuticles and nails every day, or whenever your cuticle is dry or cracked, to restore a healthy, manicured glow.

PROS:

  • Cruelty-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Sustainably-sourced

CONS:

  • Fragrance may not be liked by all

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13. Vitagel Nail Strengthener

This fingernail strengthener has a new gelish formula, which requires 30 seconds of curing under a LED lamp or 2 minutes under a regular UV lamp. This nail strengthener lasts up to 3 weeks, giving your nails the perfect shine and gloss. This product uses Gelish patented technology with no chipping or peeling, and soaks completely off in just 10-15 minutes. Its vitamin-enriched formula fortifies and repairs damaged nails and works wonders for people who are trying to repair nails damaged by gel nail polish or acrylic use.

PROS:

  • Gelish patented technology
  • Vitamin-enriched
  • Quick-drying
  • Seals cracked nails

CONS:

  • Cannot be used with nail polish

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With the various products available in the market, it’s often extremely difficult to know which one to choose. Even if we read the ingredients we often don’t really know what we are looking at. These are a few pointers to make the buying process easier for you.

How Do I Choose A Nail Strengthener?

  • Hardeners

Cross-linking hardeners: When your nails are weak, it usually means there is a protein deficit. These hardeners have ingredients that react with the proteins of your nails and repair these bonds that tie the protein chains together, making your nails harder.

Reinforcing hardeners: This kind of hardeners coat the nails, and reinforce and strengthen the natural structure of the nail. The downside of using hardeners is that they can make your nails so strong and brittle at the same time, that they break more easily.

  • Hydrators

Hydrators contain ingredients that not only moisturize your nails but keep them flexible as well, so they bend rather than break. These are waxy and oily products mixed with water.

These products should be used on a regular basis for the best results as they wash off.

  • Hydrator or hardener?

Now that you know the difference between what each product does, how do you decide which one to pick? Unfortunately, most products do not tell you which type they are, and here is how to tell the difference.

1. Is it a hardener or a hydrator?

  • If the product is clear, it is a hardener and if it’s creamy, it is a hydrator.
  • If it’s thin enough to shake it, it’s a hardener but if it’s thick like a cream or oil, it’s a hydrator.
  • If it’s a brush-on, it’s a hardener but if it’s in a tube or a jar, it’s a hydrator.

2. If it’s a hardener, is it the kind that makes your nails brittle?

  • If you see formaldehyde or calcium in the list of ingredients, it’s likely to make your nails more brittle. This kind of nail strengthener is effective, but can have harsh side effects.

3. Is it the kind that leaves a reinforcing layer?

  • If you see nylon or sulfhydryl protein, or ingredients of typical nail polish, it’s a reinforcer. This type of strengthener is especially good for soft and damaged nails as it bonds with the nail to strengthen the texture.

How To Use Nail Strengtheners

If your nails are damaged, apply 2 coats of your desired nail strengthener to clean, dry nails with the cuticles pushed back. Apply one coat on alternate days. After one week, use a nail polish remover to remove it and apply again.

You can also apply one coat of a nail strengthener before applying your nail polish. Allow it 2 minutes to dry before applying the nail polish and it will ensure a smoother color application. It can also be used over the base coat and before the nail polish.

The Covid pandemic has really taken a toll on our nails with the constant washing and sanitizing that we have been compelled to do. Soaps and sanitizers often have harsh ingredients, due to which our nails take a beating. But, there is no need to despair over those broken, chippen, cracked, or split nails any longer. There are a variety of the best nail strengtheners available in the market that are fortified with vitamins, minerals, calcium, and proteins, which can be used as a treatment or as a base coat for nail polish. These strengthen your nails by nourishing and moisturizing them and ensure that your nails look healthy, long, and beautiful at all times. It’s goodbye to cracked, ugly nails forever!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does nail strengthener actually work?

Nail strengtheners react with the natural protein in your nails and create a chemical bond with them which ties the protein chains together, and this works to make nails harder.

How often should I use nail strengtheners?

If your nails are damaged, a nail strengthener should be applied every day or every other day for upto a fortnight to see optimal results. For preventative nail maintenance, a nail strengthener can be applied once a week or as a base coat for your nail polish.

Can you use nail strengtheners when pregnant?

Certain chemicals in some nail polish products can be potentially harmful, but only if you’re using them in larger than normal amounts, and you’re regularly exposed to them in unventilated spaces for a prolonged period of time.

Can nail strengtheners be used as base coats?

Yes, it can. It not only strengthens brittle and weak nails but also makes the application of nail polish smoother.

Can you put nail strengthener under gel polish?

Yes, you can. You can either use it as a base coat or on the base coat, before applying your nail polish.

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Sneha Manandhar holds a Master’s degree in English from the University of Pune. She has previously worked with media and publication houses in varied capacities as a lifestyle writer, an editor, a copywriter, and a translator. She reviews beauty, skin care, and wellness products from specialized curated lists. She believes that SEO-driven content is the present and the future and keeps herself busy by dabbling in SEO-related tools and honing her editing skills.
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