It’s commonly known that properly prepped skin acts as the first step to a flawless face of makeup. Without the right skincare products and primer, your foundation might melt away throughout the day, your highlighter could cling to your dry patches or you just might not look as glowy as you would like.
The same principle is true when it comes to nails; without a strong base, your manicure probably won’t have a long shelf life. And let’s face it, fewer things are as frustrating as noticing a chip or break the day after your nails are done — or sooner.
Adding a nail strengthener to your routine is a great way to boost the health of your nails and, in turn, the longevity of your mani. That’s because healthy nails are known to hold polish longer. Plus, it’s an easy solution to the damage that frequently results from harsh nail treatments such as gel or acrylics, which can contribute to peeling, breakage, and overall nail weakness.
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Nail strengtheners are typically a clear treatment that’s packed with nourishing ingredients like vitamins and proteins to help your nails grow long and strong. Many of them also double as base coats and top coats, so they’re working to strengthen your nails while simultaneously helping to create the perfect manicure.
Here, we’ve gathered the best nail strengtheners on the market to give you your strongest nails ever.
OPI Natural Nail Strengthener ($11; ulta.com)
Because OPI is regarded as one of the top nail brands, it’s not exactly surprising that they have one of the best nail strengtheners. In addition to helping to protect the nails, the OPI nail strengthener works to prevent yellowing and other discoloration.
Dermelect Makeover Ridge Filler Base Coat ($18; dermelect.com)
In addition to treating brittle nails with ingredients like vitamin B5 and keratin protein peptide, this pick from Dermelect also adds a slightly shimmery, sheer wash of color.
Olive & June Nail Strengthener ($14; target.com)
This nail strengthener is formulated with celery seed extract to help heal and condition the nail surface. It also claims to increase nail durability by nearly 20% so your manicure lasts two to three days longer than average.
Lights Lacquer Magic Strengthener ($12; lightslacquer.com)
Not only does this ultra-nourishing formula have keratin and calcium to help nails grow strong, but the rounded brush allows it to apply quickly and easily, with minimal mess. Plus, the brand is founded by veteran beauty YouTuber KathleenLights, so you know she knows a thing or two about what makes a good product.
Essie Strong Start Base Coat ($9; amazon.com)
Infused with biotin, a B vitamin often used to boost hair and nail growth, essie’s nail strengthener helps to harden and reinforce the nails — all while acting as a perfect base coat to any manicure.
Deborah Lippmann Hard Rock Nail Strengthening Top and Base Coat ($20; sephora.com)
This top and base coat also promises to boost the strength of your nails in a few short weeks — plus, it’s formulated without parabens, sulfates, and other harsh chemicals.
Nailkale Superfood Base Coat ($15; sephora.com)
This nail strengthener looks like a green smoothie, and that’s because it’s formulated with kale extract as well as keratin and a medley of antioxidants.
Butter London Horse Power Nail Rescue Basecoat ($18; amazon.com)
This pick from Butter London contains nourishing ingredients like horsetail extract, biotin, vitamin B and calcium to help rescue damaged nails and protect against future damage.