We may love the way our manicured hands look and how certain nail polishes bring out the shine, but with the good comes the bad. Although anyone can have weak nails — and genes and nutrition play a major role — constantly coating your nails in polish means they'll need some extra love. But using one of the best nail strengthening polishes for weak nails can help replenish your nails after one too many manicures.
Manicures can leave many people's nails feeling brittle and rough, or even cause them to bend to the touch. But, instead of making changes when it comes to the type of nail polish we use, a lot of us — myself included — rush to cover the damage with another coat of any old cherry-red polish. And, while that certainly works to please the eye, it does nothing to help strengthen the nails.
But it doesn't have to be that way! With so many innovative nail products hitting the market recently, including nail polish treatments and colored polishes, there are nail polish options that can strengthen nails, prevent them from splitting, and even give our cuticles a dose of much-needed hydration — all while sprucing up our nails, too.
When it comes to giving weak nails a boost, these nine nail strengthening polishes are some of the best out there.
1A Base Coat Made With Strengthening Superfoods
Ah, superfoods, you can eat them for better health and apply them to your nails for a healthier, stronger manicure, thanks to Nails Inc Nailkale Superfood Base Coat. This base coat contains ginseng, lemon, aloe vera, grape, pomegranate, and vitamins A, C, E, F, and H — all of which combine to provide a strengthening treatment that can be used three times weekly (two coats alone or under colored polish).
One reviewer calls this clear base coat "lifechanging" and say that, after applying it for one month, her previously weak nails stopped splitting.
2A 7-Free Formula That Fills In Nail Ridges
If you suffer from nails that are constantly splitting, ella + mila Ridge-Filler Base Coat was designed with you in mind. This 7-free formula (free of formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, and camphor) is described as a "translucent, creamy" nail base coat that fills in the ridges of nails perfectly, is neither too thick nor too thin, and boasts a long-lasting formula that can withstand the demand of a busy life.
And, as that adorable little elephant on the bottle might suggest, it's also vegan, animal-cruelty free, and certified by PETA.
3A Strengthener So Intense It Comes With A Warning
A cult favorite, Quimica Alemana is a nail strengthener from Colombia that is known for its hard-core intense formula — it's a polish that many reviewers say has done more to strengthen their weak, peeling, brittle nails than any other product, but that actually comes with a few words of caution. When beginning to use this, it is recommended that you protect the skin around your nail with cuticle cream and only apply the clear treatment once a week until your hands and nails get used to it (it can actually cause stinging or burning).
More than 1,000 reviewers who stuck with it say they are "shocked" by how well this polish works and how it can take nails that have been bitten or neglected for years and make them as hard as steel.
4A Wheat Protein & Calcium Nail Strengthener
Many reviewers who say they had "soft, thin nails" before using OPI Nail Envy now rave about how strong and long their nails have grown since incorporating this wheat protein and calcium polish treatment into their nail care regimen. Start by applying two coats to dry nails and then, after one week, remove with nail polish remover and apply the polish again. This works best as a base coat under other OPI polishes, but the good news is that it comes in a clear Dry & Brittle formula, as well as shades like Samoan Sand, Hawaiian Orchid, and Bubble Bath.
5An Anti-Peeling Treatment That Claims To Grow Nails Fast
The key ingredients in duri Rejuvacote 1 Nail Growth System are keratin and calcium, which work to mend split, weak, brittle, peeling, and cracking nails after 2-3 weeks of consistent use. Apply one base coat to clean, dry nails (taking care not to apply to your cuticles or any cuts/wounds) and then add a colored polish if desired. After seven days, remove the treatment and start over, applying it every other day until your nails become stronger and healthier.
Reviewers who say they've been wearing artificial nails for years notice an incredible difference in their natural nails since using this base coat, with most focused on how seldom their nails now peel and how quickly they've grown. You may experience a slight stinging sensation the first few times you use this polish, but customers say it often goes away and that it's still worth it.
6A Treatment That Transforms Weak, Brittle, Peeling & Bitten Nails
With wheat amino acids and keratin, Nailtiques Nail Protein Formula 2 is a highly-rated treatment that addresses the problem of soft, weak, bitten, peeling, or thin nails. Apply the treatment daily (alone or under colored polish) and continue to do so until you notice a difference in your nail strength. Each week, remove this clear polish with a non-acetone nail polish remover and begin the treatment process again.
Reviewers call this the "best stuff for weak nails" and say that, after one or two months of continuous use, Nailtiques transforms their nails and even promotes nail growth.
7A 3-Free Polish In Soft, Sheer Shades
Maybe it isn't enough for you to strengthen your nails with a clear base coat. Perhaps you want to kick things up a notch and try Essie Treat Love and Color, a 3-free formula (no formaldehyde, DBP, or toluene) that comes in three super-sweet, soft and sheer shades: Laven-Dearly (pictured here), Sheers to You (a soft pink), and Treat Me Bright (a creamy white). Apply two coats on bare nails, remove after one week, and repeat. Thanks to the built-in color, it works as both a base coat and a polish.
Reviewers say two or three coats of this polish give your nails a glossy, iridescent shine and that, after a few weeks, "flimsy" nails feel and look stronger and healthier.
8A Triple-Resin Formula With A Matte Finish
This 3-free clear coat dries in minutes to a matte finish, smoothes ridges, and protects and strengthens nails. The secret killer ingredients in Zeva Nail Guard are three resins: polyester resin to make nails more durable, epoxy resin for adhesion, and nitrocellulose to make nails stronger. Use it as a base coat or a ridge filler.
Reviews with thin nails say the ridges in their nails are "drastically reduced" after using this polish and that this pretty much helps eliminate the buffing step of your manicure. Others love its fast drying time and how the matte finish makes them look like they have great, bare, natural nails.
9A Hydrating Nail Treatment That Will Increase Nail Flexibility
With hydrating polymers and a revolutionary nail complex, Jessica Bend Don't Break is designed to minimize breakage and peeling, while strengthening your nails and improving their flexibility (so that they can, as the name suggests, bend without breaking).
Apply two coats once a week (as a base, alone, or as a glossy top coat) and reviewers say your nails will stay moisturized and protected from the elements. According to users, it will last on your nails for about a week without peeling or wearing off — then start over and keep using it to maintain the strength and health of nails.
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