The 4 Best Nail Strengtheners After Acrylic Nails

By Elizabeth Enochs

As fun and pretty as they can be, acrylic nails tend to wreak havoc on your nails. But thankfully, healing your natural nails is totally doable if you use the best nail strengtheners after acrylic nails. Whether you’re swearing off acrylics for good or just giving your brittle nails a break, the products listed below can help restore your natural nails.

No matter what kind of strengthener you're in the market for — from a vegan option to a budget-friendly one — you’ll want to make sure your pick contains nail-nourishing vitamin E, a powerhouse ingredient for healing dry nails and strengthening brittle ones. While some of the options below also contain nutrients like calcium, vitamins A and C, plant extracts, and various proteins, all of them contain the all-mighty vitamin E to help give your nails a regenerative boost. Additionally, all the products in this roundup are formaldehyde-free nail strengtheners, and are good choices if you’re looking to steer clear of that ingredient.

Although results may vary depending on the state of your nails, all of the picks below should show significant improvement within weeks, with many Amazon reviewers commenting on impressive results within days.

Take a look at the best nail strengtheners below. All of them are less than $20 and come highly rated on Amazon.

1. The Overall Best: A Nourishing Nail Hardener & Strengthener With More Than 1,500 Reviews

Hard As Hoof Nail Strengthening Cream is the best-selling nail strengthener on Amazon, and it's easy to see why. It's formulated with vitamins A, C, D, and E, and it uses jojoba seed oil, calcium, beeswax, and minerals to nourish and strengthen fingernails that have been damaged by acrylics. This coconut-scented strengthener is also formaldehyde-free and promises to fight even the most severe cases of splitting, chipping, and cracking nails. It also doubles as a hand lotion. Amazon shoppers swear by it, giving the cream a 4.2-star rating and after more than 1,600 reviews.

This pick doesn’t list a specific results window, but some reviewers noted significant improvement within a week, while others said they saw improvement within several weeks.

What fans are saying: “This nail creme is amazing. I've used a ton of products claiming to strengthen nails, but Hard As Hoof Strengthening Cream really works. After having acrylic nails for almost 12 years, my nails were thin and very short. In a matter of two weeks, my nails are healthy — they no longer tear or split. Highly recommend this to anyone who is trying to recover from having acrylic or gel nails.”

2. The Best Drugstore Nail Strengthener

Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Vitamin Strength Serum is formulated with hydrolyzed proteins that help nails grow stronger, and the serum's pink microcapsules are enriched with vitamins A, C, and E for added strength and nourishment. This serum is also formaldehyde-free and lightly-scented with geranium, and promises results within one week when used daily. Just massage a couple pumps of serum into your hands everyday and let the treatment work it's magic.

What fans are saying: " ... When I started using this product a week ago, I had a couple of torn cuticles. This serum moisturized and improved them. It also seems to have made my nails smoother and less prone to cracking, peeling, and splitting. In that week, I applied this serum each night before bed. I already see a difference. It contains vitamins A, C, and E, which help nails to become stronger and less prone to breakage. This serum works! This is a steal at this price!"

3. The Best Vegan Nail Strengthener

This First Aid Kiss nail strengthener by ella+mila is packed with nourishing vitamin E, vitamin B5 for stimulating nail growth and reproduction, and vitamin A, which is a powerful antioxidant. It’s specifically designed to help heal weak, thin, splitting, or peeling nails. It’s also free from formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, camphor, TPHP, and xylene. Additionally, this pick is certified cruelty-free and vegan by PETA. This treatment is meant to be applied just like regular nail polish, and Amazon shoppers give it a 4.3-star rating.

What fans are saying: "I was amazed at how hard my nails are while using this, having used a toxic nail strengthener for years. I thought this might not work as well."

4. The Best Nail Strengthener For Peeling Nails

OPI Nail Envy For Sensitive & Peeling Nails is specifically designed for super-weak, damaged, and peeling nails. This pick contains vitamin E and kukui nut oil to protect against peeling, and it's packed with calcium and soothing aloe vera as well. It's also formaldehyde-free, and it's meant to be applied like any other nail polish. It can be worn solo or as a base coat for your at-home manicure, and Amazon shoppers give it a 4.3-star rating after more than 3,000 reviews.

What fans are saying: "Nail Envy has transformed my nails. The peeling and breaking has completely stopped. It takes time for the damaged nails to grow out, but the Nail Envy ensures the new growth is healthy and strong."

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