Looking To Strengthen Your Nails? Check Out The Best Nail Hardeners On The Market
Your nails are basically a reflection of you in many ways. If you have chipped and broken nails, are you going to want to show them off? Are you going to want to shake hands with someone? Are you going to look great at work as the first point of contact for your company?
Having well-filed, clean, and immaculate nails is a must have, and it is also something which is easy to achieve, provided you know the steps to take. One of the biggest problems many people face in terms of looking after the nails is when winter comes around, and the nails become dry, brittle, weak, and they generally need some TLC.
One way to do this is to use products, such as nail strengtheners.
We are going to look at what nail strengtheners are, how to use them, and also review some of the best on the market, to help you make an informed decision before you part with any cash.
**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
What Are Nail Strengtheners, And How To Use Them?
Your finger nails are made up of naturally occurring protein, namely keratin. It is this keratin which means that your nails can grow and bend, without splitting or breaking. When your nails become dry, or you are unwell, this keratin can be damaged; it can also be the case when you age, you produce less keratin. If you aren’t producing enough keratin, or your nails are damaged, they are susceptible to breaking, splitting, peeling, and generally looking rather substandard. A problem with nail growth can take weeks, or even months, to put right, as nails grow at a slow rate, and if you manage to actually damage the nail bed, e.g. by pulling off false nails too early, or from trapping your finger in a door, you will probably find that your nail never really looks the same again!
As you can see, nails are a rather complex situation to address.
The good news is that by using a nail strengthener, you can then give your nails a bit of a helping hand, because the product protects your nails from environmental factors, whilst you’re giving them time to grow and strengthen naturally. Of course, there are a few other things you can do yourself, in order to naturally strengthen your nails without help, but adding a product such as this can really go a long, long way. Avoiding biting, picking, or pulling off your nails is the first and only way to really stop anything from happening at all, so if you feel the urge, avoid at all costs!
So, with all this talk of products, what is a nail strengthener/hardener?
This is a product which you paint onto your nails, exactly how you would do with regular nail polish, and you can apply it usually once a week. There are two main types of nail strengthener, namely cross-linking and reinforcing, but you don’t really need to understand the major differences, because it makes no difference to the actual outcome of the procedure; the only major difference is what they are made of, because they do exactly the same job.
The proteins which your nails are made up of are shaped a little like a step ladder, and when your nails become weak, a few of the steps on the ladder can be broken. The ingredients within the product work to put those steps back, whilst also giving your nails time to regenerate, protecting them from outside forces, such as the weather, work (typing on a computer etc), and breaking by accident, e.g. trapping in a door or drawer, etc. There are many things which can affect the quality of your nails, but using this type of product has been shown to be very effective.
Because of this fact, it stands to good reason that there are many nail strengtheners on the market, and many big named brands, such as OPI, Sally Hansen, Revlon, and Essie, for example. You don’t have to go for a big named brand if you don’t want to, but it’s worth mentioning that these are popular for a reason! The cost isn’t always that high for a bigger brand, perhaps just a little extra, and it can be worth opting for this avenue.
How To Apply Nail Strengthener
In order to successfully apply your nail strengthener product of choice, you need to first prepare your nails. This gives you a clean canvas to begin with, and means that you are not beginning the process on a fault.
Step 1 – Remove any old nail polish and remove excess product with a cotton wool pad; using a cotton wool ball can leave behind small amounts of lint, so pads are always a better option. Using acetone-free nail polish remover is also a good way forward, because this reduces the amount of damage you are doing to your nails, and also stops your nail surface from drying out. Many polish removers now have a degree of moisturizing element to them.
Step 2 – Push back the cuticles. This will give you a DIY manicure, and make your hands look infinitely better! You can do this easily by using a cuticle pusher, and using small circular motions, pushing the cuticle back gently and slowly. Don’t push too hard at this point, or you could cause pain or bleeding.
Step 3 – File your nails properly. Many people don’t know how to file nails safely, because going back and forth with a file can damage the nail badly. You should go in one direction only; check out this video for a visual pointer.
If you have false nails, this is the only time it is acceptable to use a ‘see-saw’ type of motion when filing your nails, the rest of the time should be done in a controlled, one-way manner.
Step 4 – You’re now ready to apply the nail strengthener. Using a thin layer, paint the product in three layers – the first in the centre of the nail from bottom to top, the second on the other side of the centre stripe, and the third on the opposite side; this should coat your nail completely, without touching your skin. Don’t use too much strengthener, otherwise it will never dry!
This video will show you how to file your nails correctly, so as to avoid damage at all costs.
Step 5 – Wait for the first layer of product to dry completely, until it is not at all ‘tacky’.
Step 6 – Apply another coat of the product in the exact same way you did in step 4.
Step 7 – Allow the second layer to dry completely.
Step 8 (optional) – If you want to apply a color to your nails, you can now paint your choice of nail polish onto the top of the strengthener, but remember to allow each coat to dry completely before you start another one. It’s also a good idea to use a top coat, to protect your handiwork.
Knowing how nail strengtheners and hardeners work will give you a bigger idea into why they are a great addition to your beauty kit.
The Best Nail Strengtheners On The Market (2018 Reviews)
This is a huge named brand, and that alone gives you major confidence in your purchase. Whilst you will pay a little more for this type of product, you know that you’re getting serious quality, which could be enough for you.
- Big named brand gives you confidence in your purchase
- Available in nine different colors, all of which are neutral and attractive
- Provides maximum strength, consisting of hydrolized wheat protein and calcium
- Award winning – Sunday Times Style Beauty Awards 2015 and Best Beauty Awards 2015
- You don’t need to apply polish on top of the strengthener, if you pick the right shade for you
- Cost is slightly more
- · Some reviews state that it can be difficult to remove
This might not be the biggest named brand you’ve ever heard of, but the fact that it receives constantly high reviews should tell you a lot about its quality. The pack also consists of two bottles, which makes it cost effective.
- Two bottles in the pack makes it longer-lasting and cost effective as a result
- Consistently high reviews
- Lasts for around two weeks, without needing to be reapplied
- Encourages nail growth and strength to a high degree
- After three weeks, reviews state that the nails are noticeably stronger
- Not the most well known name, which could put some people off making this particular purchase
If you are on a budget and you don’t have too much spare to spend on your beauty regime, this particular nail strengthener is a great one to opt for. The brand is still quite well known also, for confidence.
- Low cost but high quality
- Good reviews on a consistent basis
- Clear product (despite the fact it looks purple in the bottle), which can be painted over the top of for a different look
- Two layers needed, to give maximum strength
- Needs to be removed and re-applied every week, to keep nails strong and looking great
- Not the world’s biggest named brand, but it is still recognisable
This particular product is actually a nail polish, but it has infused nail hardening/strengthening properties, which makes it a fantastic double-header product to purchase, as well as being a highly recognisable name.
- Available in three different fashionable colours, namely pink, purple, and a clear option
- The brush is a professional standard, at 220 strands, giving you a more control over application
- Long-lasting and all reviews state that it doesn’t chip easily
- Gluten free
- Works as a nail polish and a strengthener at the same time
- To avoid staining, you will need to use a base coat as well, and a top coat could also help to protect your nails
- Can be harder to apply than other dedicated nail strengtheners, because of the color element
This particular product is a dedicated nail hardener, and one which is very highly rated amongst new and repeat customers. The name is instantly recognisable to those in the industry, however regular users may not recognise it straightaway.
- Big named product within the beauty world, especially within professional circles
- High reviews
- Low cost for the performance of the product
- Free of formaldehyde
- Triple strength polymers, calcium, and protein, for ultra-strong nails
- The bottle is small, compared to other options, and that means it is perhaps not the most cost effective choice
As with most things in the beauty world, the clear winner will be a matter of personal preference, but the reviews these particular products regularly receive gives you more of a pointer towards a clear winner. For confidence in the name, cost effectiveness, and performance, the main winner will be the OPI Nail Envy Strengthener, because not only is the name huge, but there are nine colors available, which is more than any of our other chosen products.
For anyone on a budget, the Nails Alive 24 Hour Hardener is a fantastic option, because not only is the performance level high, but the cost is very, very low too.
The important thing to remember with any nail strengthening product is that you should apply two coats, and you should always wait for each one to dry totally before you attempt to apply the next one. Working too fast will end in nail painting disaster, as the top coat will not dry either, and you will simply end up ‘smudging’ the product, and causing a very unattractive effect. Patience is key!
We hope you enjoyed the article! If you have any more reviews on the best nail hardener, then do comment down below. We would love to hear what you have to think.