Nail Hardeners… Common ingredients and do they actually work?

One of the most common questions I get asked by clients is to suggest the best nail hardener on the market. Although I always stress the importance of a healthy, balanced diet as the key to strong nails, people still want to have a go at what they refer to as ‘miracle products’.

Let’s start with a natural nail hardener. Sunflower oil, being rich in Vitamin E, is an excellent natural nail hardener. All you need to do to have strong, healthy nails the natural way is soak your bare nails in a small bowl of the oil for ten minutes. Alternatively, olive oil works just as well.

A common ingredient found in nail hardeners in formaldehyde. Nails are made up of a protein called keratin which is in turn made up of a long chain of amino acids, all bonded together to create a strong nail plate. Weak nails are usually due to the individual not having enough cross-linked amino acids. Formaldehyde exerts a nail hardening action by forming more cross-links with the keratin, thus strengthening the nail. However, long term use can lead to the nails’ flexibility being impaired and hence resulting in brittle nails. Try Mavala Scientifique Nail Strengthener and use only as directed on the leaflet.

If you need an everyday solution, look for nail hardening products that contain bamboo, keratin or both! As discussed earlier, the latter is the substance out of which nails are made, hence wearing a nail strengthener rich in keratin is always a plus. Bamboo-containing polishes provide a protective shield to the nails and it is therefore safe to say that you can wear such products all the time without the risk of staining your nails as often happens with wearing coloured nail polish every day. Try Orly Nailtrition or Sally Hansen Green Tea & Bamboo Nail Strengthener.