These Nail Strengtheners Are the Secret to Healthy Nails

by Caroline Harris

These Nail Strengtheners Are the Secret to Healthy Nails
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These are the best nail strengtheners and treatments for stronger, healthier nails.


If you struggle with brittle, weak nails, then you’re in good company. It’s actually fairly common for nails to peel, split, and break. Frequent hand-washing and sanitizing during the coronavirus pandemic could be the culprit. So can age, iron deficiency, and too many trips to the nail salon. 27 percent of women have brittle nails (or onychoschizia), according to Harvard Medical School.


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There are two basic types of brittle nails: dry and brittle (caused by too little moisture) or soft and brittle (caused by too much moisture). Repeated hand-washing, dry heat, and lack of humidity can contribute to dry nails. Excessive exposure to the chemicals in nail polish removers and cleaning products can cause soft nails. For strong, healthy nails, it’s all about achieving just the right amount of moisture for your nails — not too little and not too much.


Once you’ve diagnosed the problem, it’s pretty easy to course correct. To treat dry and brittle nails, apply a moisturizing strengthener that’ll restore much-needed hydration. Make sure to cut, shape, and file your nails regularly to help prevent further breakage. For soft and brittle nails, wear rubber gloves while washing the dishes or performing any other household chore that involves getting your nails wet. Apply a weekly nail strengthener that improves your nail’s thickness and health, steering clear of formulas with formaldehyde in them.


We gathered the best nail strengtheners for targeting specific nail issues, like dry and brittle nails, soft and brittle nails, and even short, stubborn nails that just won’t grow. These formulas tackle flaking, peeling, chipping, and overall weakness to save your fragile fingernails from further damage. Below, find our top 10 picks for stronger, healthier nails.


Best for Dry, Brittle Nails

1 of 10 Image Credits: Sephora

Nails Inc. NAILKALE Superfood Base Coat


This superfood base coat is formulated with kale extract and keratin for hydration, nourishment, and anti-splitting protection, plus a glossy finish. It has glowing reviews on Sephora, with happy shoppers stating, “this absolutely revitalized my poor nails.”

Best for Soft, Brittle Nails

2 of 10 Image Credits: Ulta

ella+mila First Aid Kiss Nail Strengthener


Infused with Vitamin E, this nail strengthener is designed to treat weak, thin nails. Apply one coat of the strengthener every other day for a month to help stop brittleness in its tracks.

Best for Peeling Nails

3 of 10 Image Credits: Ulta

Nail Tek Moisturizing Strengthener 3


With powerhouse ingredients like calcium, Vitamin E, and Vitamin A, this nail strengthener is beloved by Ulta shoppers, who claim the product “has worked miracles” on their thin, peeling nails.

Best for Nail Growth

4 of 10 Image Credits: Ulta

Orly Nailtrition


If your short nails just won’t grow, look no further than this Orly nail growth treatment. Its ingredients include collagen, keratin, wheat protein, and bamboo extract to naturally encourage longer (and stronger) nails.

Best for Weak, Damaged Nails

5 of 10 Image Credits: Ulta

OPI Nail Envy Nail Straightener Original Formula


If you love gel manicures, you’re probably no stronger to damaged nails. That’s where this nail strengthener comes in, fortifying nails with its calcium and hydrolyzed wheat protein ingredients. Bonus: It’ll also help your nails grow faster.

Best for Preventing Breakage

6 of 10 Image Credits: Amazon

duri Rejuvacote 1 Nail Growth System


This nail strengthener contains keratin, calcium, hydrolyzed soy protein, and hydrolyzed wheat protein to make your fragile fingernails more robust. Nail biters love it, saying, “I’ve been picking and biting my nails for about 20 years. This is the only product that worked for me. There’s no reason to pick or bite your nails when they look so darn fine.”

Best Hydrating Cuticle Serum

7 of 10 Image Credits: Olive & June

Olive & June Cuticle Serum Duo


This hydrating serum from Olive & June gives your cuticles the attention they deserve. The award-winning product is vegan, cruelty-free, and fast-absorbing with a soft foam tip for easy application. Conveniently, the serum comes in a pack of two, so you won’t run out anytime soon.

Best Horsetail Strengthener

8 of 10 Image Credits: Amazon

Ellie Chase Horsetail Strengthener


This horsetail strengthener is nutrient-rich, with a specialized formula to help harden your nails and accelerate their growth. You can use the nail treatment in three ways: as a top coat, base coat, or stand-alone product.

Plant-Based Nail Strengthener

9 of 10 Image Credits: Ulta

Nailtopia Spinach Nail Strengthener


This vegan nail strengthener includes spinach to help hydrate your cuticles and nourish your nails. The product currently has all five-star reviews on Ulta, with shoppers declaring, “My nails are super thin, fragile, and break all the time, but this product makes my nails look shiny and healthy.”

Best for Thin Nails

10 of 10 Image Credits: Ulta

Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Vitamin Strength Serum


Rounding out our list is this Sally Hansen serum, which is vitamin-enriched to help prevent thin nails from breaking and cracking. Ulta shoppers are excited about the results, writing that “my nails were soft and peeling until I used this product” and “I would absolutely recommend this product to anyone struggling with damaged nails.”