13 Best Nail Strengtheners To Heal Splits And Ridges – 2024

Keep your nails from cracking with long-lasting strengtheners that repair nail damage.

Reviewed by Nyssa Green, Makeup Artist Nyssa Green Nyssa GreenMakeup Artist facebook_icontwitter_iconyoutube_icon
Written by , MA (English & Literature), Certified Style & Image Consultant Srijita De MA (English & Literature), Certified Style & Image Consultant linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years
Edited by , MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Rajeshwari Das MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , MA (Journalism & Mass Communication), Certified Style & Image Consultant Srijani Roy Chowdhury MA (Journalism & Mass Communication), Certified Style & Image Consultant linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
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When you suddenly notice that your well-groomed nails have started chipping, you know it’s time to get the best nail strengthener to repair peeling nails. We all love prim and proper nails, and when they start cracking or splitting, we are hit with a wave of panic that subsequently gives way to wailing. Imagine being all dressed up for a special statement-making event, and you look down to see that your gorgeous, manicured nails have snagged. They come to the rescue to ensure that your long and beautiful nails stay intact in the long run. Below is a list of nail strengtheners that are great for repairing peeling nails. We have selected them after going through the positive reviews received from users online.

Top Picks
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Best Cruelty-Free:Onyx Hard As Hoof Nail Strengthening Cream
Price on Amazon
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Best Nourishing:O.P.I. Nail Envy Original Nail Strengthener
Price on Amazon
Price on Walmart
Best Long-Lasting:Ella + Mila Nail Care
Price on Amazon
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Best Vibrant Colors:Sally Hansen Mega Strength Ultra-Shine Top Coat
Price on Amazon
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Best Protecting:Nail Tek Nail Strengthener
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Best Quick-Drying:O.P.I. Natural Nail Strengthener
Price on Amazon
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Best High-Gloss Finish:Prolana Nail Optimizer
Price on Amazon
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Best Transparent:Probelle Nail Strengthener
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Best Clinically-Tested: essie Hard to Resist Advanced Nail Strengthener
Price on Amazon
Best Pregnancy-Safe:Barielle Nail Strengthener Cream
Price on Amazon
Price on Walmart

13 Best Nail Strengtheners To Repair Peeling Nails Of 2024

1. Best Cruelty-Free: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. If you are still unsure about purchasing, you can check out a review of this product on YouTube that also features a tester’s experience of using it.

Item Weight: 4.2 Ounces | Product Dimensions: 2.25 x 2.25 x 2 inches

Pros

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

Cons

  • Some may find the fragrance of coconut undesirable
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The product has more than 56,925 reviews claiming its efficacy.

2. Best Nourishing:O.P.I. Nail Envy Original Nail Strengthener

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4.6
Ecrinal Repair Serum Image: Ecrinal

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. You can check out this YouTuber’s review featuring a tester’s experience with the product if you require more convincing.

Item Weight: 15 Grams | Product Dimensions: 1.91 x 1.56 x 4 inches

Pros

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

Cons

  • Contains formaldehyde
protip_icon Pro Tip
Take biotin supplements that can help improve overall nail health and prevent easy breakage.
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The product has received 37,103 positive Amazon reviews from its users, stating its numerous benefits.

3. Best Long-Lasting: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. This is one of the best nail growth serums as 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. The product has a unique ‘17-free’ formula wherein it excludes the usage of 17 harmful ingredients. This nail strengthener is only made using vegan ingredients and is not tested on animals.

Product Dimensions: 1.25 x 1.25 x 2.65 inches | Weight: 1.9 Ounces

Pros

  • Promotes healthy nail growth
  • 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
Onyx Hard As Hoof Nail Strengthening Cream
Best Cruelty-Free
O.P.I. Nail Envy Original Nail Strengthener
Best Nourishing
Ella + Mila Nail Care
Best Long-Lasting
Weight 4.2 Ounces 15 Grams-
Dimensions 2.25 x 2.25 x 2 inches 1.91 x 1.56 x 4 inches 1.25 x 1.25 x 2.65 inches
Weight-- 1.9 Ounces
Rating
Reviews56,92537,1037,909
Price$27.99$17.99$10.49

4. Best Vibrant Colors:Sally Hansen Mega Strength Ultra-Shine Top Coat

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4.2

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. Reviewers online love how easily and quickly it dries. Made with a keratin complex formula, it gives you stronger nails and is equipped with a precision brush for easy application.

Item Weight: 0.13 Pounds | Color: Transparent | Product Dimensions: 1 x 1 x 3 inches

Pros

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

Cons

  • Some may find its consistency thin

5. Best Exfoliating:butter LONDON Mellow The Yellow Nail Brightening Treatment

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4.1
butter LONDON Mellow The Yellow Nail Brightening Treatment Image: Butter London

Avoid the hassle of hiding yellow nails with the Butter LONDON Mellow The Yellow Nail Brightening Treatment. It contains vitamin E that provides antioxidant protection to your nails, lemon fruit extract, a natural brightening agent, and red algae that conditions and improves nail health and overall nail appearance. It is an effective nail treatment with natural ingredients that gently exfoliate the upper dry, damaged layer of your nails and help improve nail texture. Its opalescent finish gives your nails sheer coverage which is buildable and keeps your manicure looking fresh and new.

Item Weight: 0.1 Pounds | Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.8 x 1.5 inches

Pros

  • Instant brightening
  • Cruelty-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Formaldehyde-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Xylene-free
  • Toluene-free
  • TPHP-free

Cons

  • Slightly thick

protip_icon StyleCraze Says
Applying a cuticle oil enriched with vitamin E and almond oil helps promote nail health and nourishes the nail bed to increase strength and resilience.

6. Best Quick-Drying: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! This natural nail strengthener 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! If you want to find out more about this nail strengthening treatment and its usage, make sure to check out this review on YouTube. featuring the reviewer’s experience with it.

Item Weight: 1.6 Ounces

Pros

  • Quick-drying
  • No toxic chemicals
  • Not tested on animals
  • Prevents discoloration
  • Can be used as a base coat

Cons

  • It may flake in rare cases.

7. Best High-Gloss Finish:Prolana Nail Optimizer

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4.2
Prolana Image: 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.

Item Weight: 0.5 Ounces | Product Dimensions: 4 x 1 x 1 inches

Pros

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

Cons

  • Contains formaldehyde

8. Best Transparent: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.

Package Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 3.2 x 1.4 x 1.3 inches | Weight : 0.5 Ounces

Pros

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

Cons

  • Strong smell

9. Best Clinically-Tested:essie Hard to Resist Advanced Nail Strengthener

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4.4

The essie Hard to Resist Advanced Nail Strengthener is one of the best clear-tinted nail strengtheners on the market. It is formulated with the help of MSM technology that helps hydrate and heal damaged nails. Apply the strengthener to your nail in between your manicure appointments to let your nails breathe and gets a chance to recover from the damage. With no formaldehyde in its formulation, this formula shows its effects in just 3 days by making your nails seem stronger, healthier, and shinier.

Item Weight: 0.46 Ounces | Product Dimensions: 3.47 x 1.85 x 3.47 inches

Pros

  • 8-free
  • Vegan
  • Quick-drying
  • Prevents discoloration

Cons

  • Consistency might be thick

10. Best Pregnancy-Safe:Barielle Nail Strengthener Cream

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4.3
 BARIELLE Image: 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 in your nail care routine and it can be used with nail polish as well.

Item Weight: 0.1 Kilograms | Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 0.8 inches

Pros

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

Cons

  • Texture might be grainy

11. Best For Nail Thickness:Kerasal Multi-Purpose Nail Repair

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4.1
Kerasal Multi-Purpose Nail Repair Image: Kerasal

The Kerasal Multi-Purpose Nail Repair is an all-rounder when it comes to repairing nail damage. It contains urea, which is known for its keratolytic properties along with lactic acid and propylene glycol which easily absorb into your nails and improve texture and tone. Within a week of application, you are likely to observe visible improvement in nail discoloration and abnormal thickness. It hydrates brittle nails and prevents them from chipping and is also helpful in treating nail fungus, nail psoriasis, and damage incurred from gel manicures. Its brush applicator ensures mess-free application.

Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 2.6 x 1.6 inches

Pros

  • Prevents nail infections
  • Repairs brittle nails
  • Hydrating
  • Fragrance-free
  • Doctor-recommended

Cons

  • May not treat severe nail fungus

12. Best For Cracked Cuticles:Carmichael’s Imperial Cuticle Cream

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4.3
Caswell-Massey Image: Carmichael’s Imperial Cuticle Cream

This nail 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 future 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

13. Best For Sealing Cracks:Vitagel Nail Strengthener

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4.1

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 nail polish base coat 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 polishes or acrylic use. Hurry up, and add it to your nail care regimen.

Item Weight: 15 Grams | Product Dimensions: 0.79 x 0.79 x 3.94 inches

Pros

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

Cons

  • Cannot be used with nail polish
*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

With the various products available in the market, it’s often extremely difficult to know which one to choose and achieve exceptional results with it. Even if we read the active 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 nail 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.

Infographic: Dos And Don’ts Of Using Nail Strengtheners

Knowing how to apply nail strengtheners may help you unlock the secret to strong and healthy nails. The proper techniques are often not discussed, which makes it difficult for nail care enthusiasts to understand how to maintain brittle nails with a strengthener. The infographic below lists some pointers and things to avoid when you apply a nail strengthener. Scroll down to check it out!

Dos And Don'ts Of Using Nail Strengtheners (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

The Bottom Line

Soaps and sanitizers often have harsh ingredients, due to which our nails take a beating. They can make the nails dry, dull, and brittle. However, there are a variety of nail strengtheners available in the market that are enriched with vitamins, minerals, calcium, and proteins, which can be used as a treatment or as a base coat for nail polish. These products strengthen your nails by nourishing and moisturizing them and ensuring that your nails look healthy, long, and beautiful at all times. Some of these nail strengtheners have no toxins in their formulae which makes them suitable for sensitive nails. Some nail strengtheners even double up as a base coat. Both the Onyx Hard As Hoof Nail Strengthening Cream and the Ella + Mila Nail Care nourish the nails and promote naturally stronger nails. Along with these, the butter LONDON Mellow The Yellow Nail Brightening Treatment helps you get smooth nail beds for better nail polish application. However, avoid nail strengtheners that have a strong fragrance or contain formaldehyde.

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.

Can I use super glue as a nail strengthener?

While it is not recommended to do so, you may use super glue as a nail strengthener. Some beauty enthusiasts use super glue because the product is cheaper than a nail strengthener. However, the latter offers more protection to your nails and restores its natural moisture.

Is a nail strengthener the same as a base coat?

No. The major difference between the two is that the nail strengthener enriches your nails with keratin, vitamin E, and biotin, while promoting nail growth. The base coat is only required to make your nail polish set well on the nails and make your nails look perfect.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

Chaitra Krishnan is a makeup enthusiast and has compiled this list of the best nail strengtheners to help prevent your nails from chipping. These nail strengtheners have been carefully selected after going through several user reviews on various e-commerce websites. Each product’s pros and cons have been given, and a buying guide has been prepared to help you choose the right product.

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Nyssa Green

Nyssa GreenMakeup Artist

Nyssa Green is an Emmy award winning makeup artist and a trusted beauty and lifestyle expert with over 20 years of experience. Her diverse portfolio of clients includes celebrities from all walks of life, like Alicia Keys, Bono, Jane Fonda, Vickie Winans, Jermaine Dupri, several US Presidents, authors, and politicians.

Read full bio of Nyssa Green