Best Nail Hardener and Nail Strengthener for Brittle Nails



by Lydia


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There's no worse pain than to spend so much time and money on a fresh manicure—only to get chipping or splitting nails right after. Unfortunately, having weak nails is an all too common reality for a lot of people, but, luckily the best nail hardener and nail strengthener for nail treatment isn't far-fetched. Yes- damaged nails can be revived.

Brittle nails or weak nails could result from either nutritional deficiencies, normal wear and tear, or damage from nail treatments such as gel manicure, acrylics, shellac, and more. Plus, let's not forget that time we tried to be our own nail tech, with all that amateur filing, buffing, and endless acetone soaks in DIY removals. We weren't all too kind to our natural nails.

Fortunately, the solution to your weak nails is really as simple as a single pill or swipe. Nail strengtheners work as action-packed topical solutions with all the right vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and all the best skincare ingredients, including hyaluronic acid. They come in the form of clear nail polish. Additionally, you can double down on healthy nails by ingesting nail supplements as well.

What Causes Weak Nails?

  • Just like the skin and hair, nails become dry and brittle if we don't drink enough water, so to prevent chipping nails, make sure to get your 4 liters a day at least
  • Ripping off your gel manicures or getting your acrylics done without a break between appointments also deteriorates nail health. So make sure to get them removed professionally or give them the proper DIY removal treatment
  • Always wear rubber gloves when handling detergents, bleach or any harsh ingredients. Overexposure to these harsh chemicals makes the nails soft and brittle, making them split or break
  • If you've noticed that it takes your nails forever to grow, you could be deficient in vitamin C. So make sure that your diet includes food packed with vitamin C; this may include pepper and broccoli. Alternatively, you can take oral supplements to help you grow stronger nails; these supplements also improve the quality of your skin and hair

In a hurry?
This is our Winner!

 Best Nail Hardener

Best Nail Hardener- Reviews

duri Rejuvacote 1 Original Maximum strength growth system has a catchy tag line that reads "From dying nails to nails to die for!" and we really couldn't agree more. There are so many nail strengtheners out here, but this specific one ranks as one of the best nail strengtheners that revive and make nails healthy. It comes in a nail strengthening base coat and topcoat.

You'll definitely find yourself reaching out for it time and time again, whether you want to use it as a rehab treatment post gel application or whenever your nails are looking a little bare and kind of meh. Alternatively, you can also use it as a protective base coat before applying your color nail polish. Finally, it works as the solo treatment, with the base coat and the topcoat when applied alone.

It contains 2 different proteins plus keratin and calcium that stimulate growth. This formulation also effectively seals in the moisture and fatty acids naturally produced by the nail plate to minimize dryness and peeling. Overall, compared to other nail hardeners, it ranks high in results as the best nail strengthener.

What you should know:

  • Active ingredients: Keratin, Ethyl acetate, butyl acetate,
  • Dose: Once per day, only a week
  • Size: 0.6 fl. oz.
  • Cruelty-free: Yes 


  • Works as both a protective base and topcoat
  • Works as a clear polish in solo nail treatment
  • Dries fast
  • Seals in the moisture to prevent dry nails
  • Active ingredients that boost nail strength
  • Minimizes peeling and dryness


  • Might peel off a little with time

Here is another proven formula, the Hard As Hoof nail strengthening cream, which has been in the business of strengthening nails and conditioning cuticles for over 25 years. Its formulation contains a blend of jojoba oil, calcium, beeswax, and vitamins to help damaged nails come back to life after using acrylics or any harsh chemicals. Alternatively, you can use it just to grow longer nails faster. 

It ranks high as the best nail strengthener cream that you can massage into nail beds, cuticles and the undersides to give your nails high endurance and long-lasting strength. It also contains a coconut scent which is great when used as hand lotion. As the best nail strengthener creams, it conditions and strengthens the cuticles nails, while the calcium, vitamins, and hydrogenated jojoba oil deal with the thin, fragile nails.

This nail strengthener cream is recommended as one of the best nail strengtheners by experts. Its moisture-rich formulation of vitamins, minerals and emollients help restore the natural moisture balance of your nails. As a result, it helps prevent chips, splits, peels and cracks and even on the most severe cases of soft and fragile nails, pit guarantees to help your nails grow quickly to new lengths.

What you should know:

  • Active ingredients: Shea Butter, Glycerine, Safflower, Beeswax, Vitamin B-5, Jojoba oil, Tocopherol, Retinol, Ascorbic Acid
  • Dose:  Three times a day
  • Size: 1 fl. oz.
  • Cruelty-free: Yes


  • Strong formulation that works to restore soft and fragile nails
  • Formulation that strengthens the nails and conditions cuticles
  • Prevents splits, chips, and cracks
  • Promotes high endurance and durable strength
  • Works as a great hand lotion
  • Comes in a coconut scent
  • Stimulate nail growth, conditions cuticle, stops splits, chipping, and cracks and strengthens nails


  • The coconut scent can be a little bothersome for some people
  • The cream comes in a greasy texture

The Nails Inc Nailkale Superfood base coat is the treatment of choice for a lot of people with peeling nails. True to its title, it does contain some kale extract. The formulation is coupled with other antioxidant-rich botanical extracts and strengthening keratin in a formulation that delivers 5 different benefits.

These include; hydrating, hardening, nourishing the nails while also stimulating growth and preventing breakage of nails. Additionally, it has a minty tint in its bottle for a base coat that goes on clear to give your nails a healthy, glass-like sheen with every fresh coat. Finally, this is the best nail strengthener for peeling nails.

What you should know:

  • Active ingredients: Butyl acetate, ethyl acetate, pomegranate extract
  • Dose: Two coats for three times per week
  • Size: 0.5 fl. oz
  • Cruelty-free: Yes


  • Hardens, hydrates, nourishes, stimulates growth and prevents breakage
  • Adds sheen when used as a clear polish
  • Rich with kale extract and other botanical extracts
  • Formulation works best for peeling nails


  • Might peel after some time

This nail strengthener and growth treatment formulation contain Vitamin E. It's also good to note that this product doesn't contain Toluene, Formaldehyde Resin, Formaldehyde, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Camphor, TPHP or Xylene. As one of the best nail strengtheners, it's used to revive weak, thin nails that are either splitting or peeling. 

Once you have completed the 4-week application process, it's advised that you continue to use it as a re-hydrating nail strengthener. In addition, you can use it as a base coat underneath colored nail polishes. Finally, if needed, you could repeat the application process for the 4-week duration, especially if you feel like your nails need that additional TLC.

Although it's not an actual base coat, First Aid Kiss can be used underneath the nail polish, but since it's not, your manicure may not last as long. Overall, it's the best nail strengthener for faster nail growth and to promote nail thickness.

What you should know:

  • Active ingredients: Vitamin E
  • Dose: Two coats three times per week
  • Size: 0.45 fl oz
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes


  • Packed with vitamin E to strengthen weak nails
  • Comes in a slightly fruity fragrance
  • Nail strengthener and polish
  • Stops peeling, cracking, splitting
  • Repairs weak, brittle, thin and damaged nails
  • Contains Vitamin E


  • It doesn't work well as a basecoat 

Most of the nail hardeners these days are either 3- or 5-free, but as one of the best nail strengtheners, this pick comes packed as an impressive 8-free. This means it doesn't contain 8 different unclean chemicals often found in nail polishes. This also means it's clean, cruelty-free and vegan.

What it does contain, though, is horsetail leaf extract. This plant-based ingredient is rich in calcium and silica, which are essential minerals for healthy nails. It also contains a healthy dose of nourishing vitamin E.

The result formulation is a basecoat that not only helps color from nail polish adhere better but also works to strengthen nails, repair peeling, prevent cracking, and fill in the unsightly ridges. The key ingredient Vitamin E is a great antioxidant vitamin and oil that's often found in antioxidant blends, which helps soothe the skin and protect its lipid barrier.

What you should know:

  • Active ingredients: Butyl acetate, ethyl acetate, horsetail extract
  • Dose: Once or twice per week
  • Size: 0.5 fl. oz
  • Cruelty-free: Yes


  • Best 8-free nail strengthener
  • Formulation contains horsetail leaf extract
  • Works as a great basecoat to help nail polish color adhere better
  • Nourishes, strengthen, repair, prevents cracking, and fills in ridges 


  • Relatively pricey

The OPI nail envy is more for people who like to keep things simple and don't like to sport acrylics or gel polish and just want something that'll work for your natural-looking nails. Besides protecting your nails, it helps promote strong growth and pulls off double duty as an excellent base coat. In addition, the OPI nail envy helps prevent staining or discoloration, helping color from nail polish adhere better.

What you should know:

  • Active ingredients: Ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, camphor
  • Size: 0.5 fl. oz


  • Dries pretty fast
  • Glides on smoothly
  • Has a gentle application
  • Best for natural nails


  • Might peeling after some time
  • Scent can be a little too strong

No matter how beat up your nails might be, creating that truly flawless look on your nails might be as simple as reaching out for this 4-step nail care rejuvenation system. Step 1 acts more as a nutrient-packed base coat that's full of vitamins, proteins, and amino acids. This promotes nail strengthening for flexible nails to prevent peeling and breakage. 

Step 2 is the pink perfector applied to brighten the nail color instantly. Step 3 is the tip perfector that's applied along the free edge to enhance its white tip.

Finally, step 4 is a shine-enhancing topcoat that literally seals the deal, making it look like you're not wearing any polish for the most natural, gorgeous nails ever!

The key ingredients include Amino acids, which are the building blocks that make up the proteins in our bodies, including the nails and skin.

What you should know:

  • Active ingredients: Ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, sunflower oil
  • Size: 0.5 fl. oz
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes


  • Dries quick
  • 4-step nail care kit for natural-looking nails
  • Applies smoothly
  • Easy to use


  • Might be peeling after some time
  • Scent can be a little strong

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For the people, the idea of bare nails is simply unfathomable; here's where Essie Treat Love and Color comes in. This is the best alternative to gel manicures since it's a nail-perfecting polish. In addition, it's known to decrease peeling by 60% and breakage by 35% in only a week thanks to its collagen and camellia extract- formulation.

Additionally, it comes in 32 different colors, all giving you a sheer wash of gorgeous colors along with the extra strengthening benefits. What's more, you don't even need to use a base or topcoat with this.

What you should know:

  • Active ingredients: Ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, collagen
  • Dose: Daily for only one week
  • Size: 0.5 fl. oz


  • Comes with color to substitute nail polish
  • Applies smooth and evenly
  • 32 different colors that include natural and neutral colors
  • Contains collagen to the strengthen nails


  • Some shades streak

As you probably know by now, Sally Hansen pretty much owns the whole drugstore nail products category, so it's really no surprise that they'd offer a good set of nail strengtheners. The Sally Hansen Mega strength nail hardener definitely bags the best drugstore nail hardener title.

Its formulation is infused with fortifying diamond powder to help keep your nail tips extra strong. It also gets extra points for the extra-wide brush, making the application quite easy. It's also a great budget pick.

What you should know:

  • Active ingredients: Ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, diamond powder
  • Dose: Two coats on each application
  • Size: 0.4 fl. oz | 


  • Comes in many colors you can choose from
  • Extra-wide brush for easy application
  • Infused with diamond powder


  • Might dry and streak in some shades

If you like your nails polished, most, if not all the time, then you probably need a really good base coat as well. If so, why not get a base coat with the benefits of Butter London Horse Power nail rescue base coat.

It contains 4 key ingredients: Horsetail leaf extract and Biotin to promote healthy growth, while vitamin B and calcium boost strength. This will not only help protect, but it will also help transform them back to great shape

What you should know:

  • Active ingredients: Ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, Biotin
  • Dose: One coat application
  • Size: 0.5 fl. oz
  • Cruelty-free: Yes


  • Made with horsetail extract
  • Bolsters strength
  • Protects against future damage


  • Runny texture
  • Might not bring fast enough results for some

What to Consider For the Best Nail Hardener and Strengthener?

A) Does it contain clinically-tested products?

Many nail products make a lot of promises without the hard evidence to back up their claims. So before getting any products, always do your research to see whether the companies have actually tested and proved their claims in their products. Also, always check out the key ingredients it contains and whether they actually work as claimed.

B) Does it contain proteins?

As far as the ingredients go, it's always ideal for checking out the proteins in the nail strengthener; these include keratin, wheat protein, etc., since the nails are primarily made of proteins. 

C) Does it contain Biotin?

Biotin is another tried-and-tested nail strengthening ingredient that's great for promoting healthy growth. 

Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Nail Hardener and Nail Strengthener

1. What's the difference between a nail hardener and a strengthener?

A nail hardener is more of a short-term treatment that's used to harden the nail plates. In contrast, a nail strengthener is a long-term treatment that's used to nourish nails and promote stronger and healthier nails.

2. Why do nails get so thin and bendy after applying acrylics?

When you remove gels or acrylics, especially if they aren't soaked for long enough, they might scrape off a nail layer while coming off, making nails thin, bendy, and prone to breaking easily. Always think of your cuticles as the scalp and the bedrock of growth.


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