How to strengthen nails with our pick of the best nail strengthener UK

How to strengthen nails with our pick of the best nail strengtheners

20th March 2024 | Author: Victoria Woollaston-Webber

The best nail strengthener is one that not only strengthens nails but protects it from further damage. Here’s how to strengthen your nails with our top nail strengtheners in the UK 

Having strong, healthy nails isn’t just good for your appearance, it can be reflection of your overall health.

Weak, brittle nails, or nails that are an unusual colour or shape can suggest that your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs. It could suggest your immune system is low, or that something in your life is causing them to split or break easily.

We’ve previously explained the main brittle nails causes and symptoms but in this guide, we’re focusing on what to do about it – how to strengthen nails and get them (and potentially your health) back to its best.

We’ve also tried and tested the best nail strengtheners in the UK and that list is found at the bottom of this article. Click here to jump straight to that section, or keep reading to find more about strengthening your nails at home.

FURTHER READING: Brittle nails: A skin specialist reveals the causes and symptomsWhat stress does to your skin and hair

How to strengthen nails

How to strengthen nails and brittle nails causesiStock

The best way to strengthen your nails is to try and determine the reasons why their brittle in the first place. The main brittle nails causes include:

  • Brittle nails disease
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Iron deficiency
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of moisture
  • Using cheap nail polish remover
  • Too many manicures
  • You pick your nail polish off

You can then address the cause rather than just the symptoms.

How to strengthen nails naturally through your diet

Your nails are a reflection of your overall health and a diet lacking in essential nutrients can lead to weak, brittle nails. To combat this, make sure you’re getting as many of the following vitamins and minerals as possible.

  • Biotin (Vitamin B7): Known for its role in enhancing hair and nail strength, foods like eggs, almonds and sweet potatoes are a great way to boost biotin levels.
  • Vitamin E: Avocado, spinach, and nuts are great sources for this antioxidant that supports nail health by fighting off free radicals and hydrating the nail bed.
  • Iron: Iron is essential for preventing brittle nails and you can find it in iron-rich foods like spinach, red meat, and lentils.
  • Zinc: Zinc is in foods like pumpkin seeds, beef, and oysters all of which can help support nail growth and repair.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These essential nutrients moisturise the nail bed from the inside out. Flaxseeds, chia seeds, and fatty fish like salmon are all sources of these fatty acids.

You can read more in our best skin food guide.

You can alternatively turn to beauty supplements to raise the levels of these vitamins and minerals in your diet. Supplements should never be used as a substitute for a balanced diet but they can help give you a boost. You can read more, and get recommendations, in our guide to the truth about beauty supplements.

How to strengthen nails naturally through your lifestyle

Ageing hands? Tips, treatments and creams that make your hands look youngerShutterstock

Beyond nutrition, how you care for your nails on a daily basis plays a crucial role in their health.

Just like the skin on your face and hands needs the best moisturiser, your nails need hydration to stay strong and flexible. Using a hand cream and cuticle oil daily can help prevent dryness and splitting and leave your hands feel soft and supple.

A good hand cream is particularly useful after cleaning or washing dishes or handling cleaning products. Wearing gloves to shield your nails from harmful chemicals and excessive water exposure can also help.

And if you’re a big fan of manicures, there are a few things you can do to limit the damage that gels, acrylics, and nail polish remover can have on your nails.

Opt for gentle, acetone-free nail polish removers. Limit the use of nail polish, and allow your nails time to breathe and recover between manicures.

We also recommend that you stop using your nails as tools to pick or pry things open.

How to strengthen nails overnight

If you don’t have the time – or the impetus – to strengthen your nails naturally then there are products that can help you strengthen nails overnight. Or at least in days rather than weeks.

Adding a top nail strengthener to your care routine can act as a protective barrier and repair superficial damage overnight. While regular application can lead to visible improvements, making nails not only appear healthier but also become more resilient and less likely to break.

This is because many of these products contain a blend of vitamins, proteins, and other nutrients that reinforce the nail’s natural structure, promote growth, and protect against breakage and splitting.

Best nail strengthener UK


  1. Mavala Scientifique K+ Nail Hardener
  2. OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener
  3. Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Strengthener
  4. Nails Inc. Nailkale Superfood Base Coat
  5. Essie Nail Care Strong Start Nail Polish Base Coat
  6. Jessica Nails Critical Care Basecoat for Soft Nails


Mavala Scientifique K+ Nail Hardener

£19.50 | BUY NOW

Mavala Scientifique K+ Nail HardenerMavala

If you’re looking for a quick, and effective nail hardener that strengthens your nails overnight, the Mavala Scientifique K+ Nail Hardener instantly penetrates and quickly hardens the nail to transform weak or splitting nails into strong, healthy tips.

It contains Pro Keratin and helps the natural keratin fibres in the nail layer to join forces and create a stronger base. It also contains crystal resin tears and a gum extracted from the pistachio mastic tree that helps the natural keratinisation of nails, further repairing and reinforcing them.


OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener

£21.90 | BUY NOW

OPI Nail Envy Nail StrengthenerOPI

OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener is specifically formulated for people struggling with weak, damaged and brittle nails.

Its formula contains wheat protein and calcium, two components that work together to fortify and repair the nails and promote a harder, longer, and stronger nail structure.

It can be used as both a stand-alone treatment or as a protective base coat under nail polish and the more you use it, the better and long-lasting the results.


Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Strengthener

£7.99 | BUY NOW

Sally Hansen Hard as Nails StrengthenerSally Hansen

Sally Hansen’s Hard as Nails Strengthener is a clear treatment designed to combat nail weakness and brittleness head-on.

It contains a blend of vitamins and minerals that help nourish the nails, seal in moisture and increase their hardness.

Like OPI’s Nail Envy, you can wear this nail strengthener under your favourite polish, or you can wear it on its own for natural look.

It’s cheaper than a lot of nail strengtheners out there yet its up there in terms of performance and quality so don’t let this put you off.


Nails Inc. Nailkale Superfood Base Coat

£14 | BUY NOW

Nails Inc. Nailkale Superfood Base CoatNails Inc

This isn’t a nail strengthener in the traditional sense, but the Nails Inc. Nailkale Superfood Base Coat can still improve the strength and health of your nails thanks to the use of kale.

Known for being rich in Vitamins A, C, and K, kale extract helps boost keratin production which is vital for nail strength, smoothness, and overall health.

This base coat not only nourishes but also protects the nails, laying the foundation for a healthier nail bed and enhanced nail growth.

It’s best for people who prefer products with nourishing, plant-based ingredients rather than super strong chemicals. Plus it helps create a smooth and tacky base for your nail polish to stick to. It’s a win-win.


Essie All-in-One Nail Polish Base Coat and Top Coat

£8.99 | BUY NOW

Essie All-in-One Nail Polish Base Coat and Top CoatEssie

As its name suggests, Essie’s All-in-One Polish Base Coat and Top coat is a multipurpose product. It acts as a base coat and top coat with the added benefit of being a nail strengthener. This makes it the best value for money product in this list, and is a testament to the brand’s commitment to nail health and strength.

It contains biotin, a key nutrient known for its nail-strengthening properties, and it creates a protective barrier against damage, reinforcing nails from the base up.

Its clear formula is designed to work with any nail colour, and it creates a smooth canvas for you to apply your polish.


Jessica Nails Critical Care Basecoat for Soft Nails

£21.50 | BUY NOW

Jessica Nails Critical Care Basecoat for Soft NailsJessica Nails

This nail strengthener doesn’t come cheap, but that’s because it contains various proteins, including hydrolyzed keratin that hydrate, repair and strengthen the nail.

This formula has been designed to address the root causes of nail weakness but, thanks to hydrating ingredients, it makes sure your nails stay flexible not just hard and strong.


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