Courtesy of Amazon
Strong, healthy nails might seem like a faraway dream for anyone who's ever dealt with breakage or brittleness. However, there is a solution: Strengthening treatments can rescue and transform your damaged nails. But with that being said, it's important to remember that not all of the options on the market today have the power to really make your manicure stronger. That's why we asked experts to share their recommendations for the best nail strengtheners to buy right now.
There are so many causes for dry, unhealthy nails, according to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dana Stern. Anything from genetics to aging to certain medical conditions can affect nail strength. Of course, medical conditions and genetics aren't all to blame. Sometimes environmental factors—like water, chemical exposures (such as the acetone in nail polish removers), the weather, and products we're putting on our hands—can be the culprit, according to Dr. Stern. "Think of a brittle nail that has a tendency to break as analogous to overly processed hair that frizzes and has ends that split," she says. "We condition and protect our hair to avoid these issues. To strengthen the nails, you need to use effective products and at times, to take a break from the salon, and harsh chemicals that are in so many nail products."
While each of the products we're sharing has its own directions for use, one rule of thumb, according to Dr. Stern, is to reach for natural, science-backed strengtheners, and use them for as long as you need. "If you are using products that are formulated with high quality ingredients that are based upon science, then you can use them as long as you need to as they will not have side effects," she says. "In general, use a nail treatment/strengthener until your nails are back in shape. Often timing will depend on the extent of damage."
From serums to lights, our experts explain why these nail strengtheners are among some of the best available.
The Best Nail Strengtheners to Buy Now
Best Hydrating: ISDIN SI-NAILS Nail Strengtheners
Best for Every Need: OPI Nail Envy
Best for Promoting Nail Growth: Maxus Strengthener 2.0
Best Non-Serum Option: StimuNail
Best Dermatologist-Approved: Dr. Dana Nail Renewal System
SI-Nails Nail Strengthener by ISDIN
According to board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Kavita Mariwalla, "SI-Nails Nail Strengthener by ISDIN works by promoting nail keratin with the ingredient pistacia lentiscus gum, has hyaluronic acid for hydration, and silanediol salicylate to promote nail minerals for strength."
Shop Now: ISDIN "SI-NAILS" Nail Strengthener Cuticle Serum with Hyaluronic Acid, $29.95, amazon.com.
"I love Nailtopia's plant-based and enriching Nail Care Kits in orange, raspberry, spinach, and blueberry that each target a different nail concern," says celebrity and editorial nail artist Miss Pop Nails. "The nail strengthening lacquer and cuticle conditioner work hand-in-hand to enrich the natural nail. If you truly want strong nails, you must moisturize and care for the skin around them."
Shop Now: Nailtopia "Nails Are Nourished" Kit in Raspberry, $10, ulta.com.
Miss Pop Nails also recommends CND Rescuerxx. "It works wonders on repairing damaged nails and absorbs into the nail, but you cannot apply polish over it. So, if you need your lacquer like me, apply their cuticle oil CND Solar Oil."
Shop Now: CND RESCUERXX, $19.90, ulta.com.
OPI Nail Envy
"There is a strengthener for each nail type," explains Darlene Sritapan, OPI's North America education & capability manager. Dr. Mariwalla also recommends the line of strengtheners, adding "OPI Nail Envy uses kukui nut oil to help moisturize the nail plate."
Shop Now: OPI Nail Envy Original Nail Strengthener, $17.95, ulta.com.
Maxus Strengthener 2.0
Nail artist Elle Gerstein recommends this nail strengthener thanks to two ingredients. "The two key ingredients, hydrating safflower oil and biotin, are proven to work for promoting nail growth," she explains.
Shop Now: Maxus Nails "2.0" Strengthener, $20, maxusnails.com.
Dr. Remedy Enriched Nail Polish
"An essential product with biotin, pentavitin and wheat protein that keeps nails hydrated and strong," says Gerstein. "I use this as a base coat and it helps seal moisture into the nails."
Shop Now: Dr. Remedy Enriched Nail Polish, $18.99, amazon.com.
LeChat CBD Cuticle Oil
"To intensify moisture and lock it in, I will add a few drops of the CBD Cuticle Oil, massaging it in," says Gerstein. "It's great for moisturizing cuticles and nails. You're getting a lot of bang for your buck for a CBD product—most cuticle oil bottles aren't this large."
Shop Now: LeChat CBD Infused Cuticle Oil, $30, lechatnails.com.
For a technologically advanced option, Gerstein recommends StimuNail. "This new at-home device supports nail growth and strength with LED light therapy technology, which is clinically proven to energize cells below the skin surface where they develop and grow. It's affordable and only takes three minutes a day to help make nails healthier, stronger, and grow longer. I love that it's chemical-free, too," she says.
Shop Now: StimuNail "StimuNail" Light, $68, amazon.com.
Dr. Dana Nail Renewal System
Dr. Mariwalla says, "Dr. Dana Nail Renewal System is developed by a board-certified dermatologist. The kit has three steps—a glycolic acid to remove surface damage, a phyto crystal complex to make nails appear stronger and a deep hydrating formula with apricot kernel oil, grapefruit peel oil, mastic gum oil, and sunflower seed extract. This is a good option for those with peeling nails."
Shop Now: Dr. Dana Nail Renewal System, $42.95, amazon.com.