Achieving stronger, longer nails requires a multi-pronged approach that involves both using the right products and implementing certain lifestyle measures, says Dr. Melissa Piliang, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Cleveland Clinic, who spoke with Elite Daily for this article. She says "Healthy nails come from healthy cuticles," so it's "important to moisturize the skin [on] your hands and your nails several times a day" — which is why most of the best nail growth products come in the form of moisturizing oils, ointments, and creams. Unfortunately, there's not really such a thing as a miracle product that's going to make your nails grow longer and faster — it all comes down to proper nail maintenance, in the end.
Nails are more prone to breakage and splitting when you use them as tools to pry things open or scrape at things, and if you don't wear gloves when cleaning or washing the dishes. Finally, Dr. Piliang says that acrylic nails and gel nail polish can be damaging, too, so she suggests reserving those types of manicures for special occasions, rather than getting them regularly.
Darlene Sritapan, OPI’s North America Education and Capability Manager, tells Elite Daily that adding an extra layer of reinforcement to your nails, such as a nail strengthening polish or treatment, can be helpful for preventing damage and breakage. That won’t make nails grow faster (she explains that only internal changes like your diet, or taking supplements like biotin, will do that) but your nails will look and feel stronger and less "bendy."
To shop some of the best nail strengthening products for longer, stronger nails, scroll on.
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1. Best Nail & Cuticle Oil
"Cuticle oils and creams are so important for nail health," Sritapan says. "If the nail gets too dry then it will become brittle and break." So, massage some of this JĀSÖN Purifying Tea Tree Nail Saver into your nails and cuticles everyday, ideally after washing your hands. Like all JĀSÖN products, it's made with only naturally derived ingredients, including sesame, safflower, soybean, and evening primrose oils, as well as vitamin E. The key ingredient in here, though, is tea tree oil, which has tons of purported benefits for you skin and nails. You can use this on your toenails, too, of course.
2. Best Hand & Nail Cream
Blanket your hands and nails in rich hydration with this fragrance-free hand cream from Yes to. In here, avocado oil and shea butter work together to deliver heavy-duty nourishment, while hyaluronic acid helps provide even more hydration. For just $10, you get two, 3-ounce tubes — one to keep at home and another for your car or bag.
3. Best Hand & Nail Ointment For Overnight Use
"Applying a petrolatum-based ointment [such as Solimo Petroleum Jelly] to your nails and cuticles at bedtime will allow the moisture to infuse while you sleep," says Dr. Piliang. And as we know by now, keeping your hands and nails properly hydrated is the key to encouraging healthy nail growth. Pro tip: Slip some cotton gloves over your hands after applying this ointment to really lock in all that moisture (and prevent the greasy residue from getting onto your sheets and pillows).
4. Best Base & Top Coat
Applying a nail hardener, like Deborah Lippmann Hard Rock, can help protect your nails from damage and keep them strong (which in turn, may be able to help promote nail growth). Designed for people with weak nails, the formula contains actual diamond powder, as well as biotin, hydrolyzed soy protein, and safflower seed oil. It can be used a base and/or top coat, as well as worn on its own, without polish.
5. Best Biotin Supplements For Nail Growth
Dr. Piliang recommends a well-rounded, balanced diet for optimal nail health, but if you're concerned you're not getting all your essential vitamins and minerals, you could take a supplement like Nature's Bounty Hair, Skin & Nails Gummies. These strawberry-flavored chews contain vitamins C and E, as well as biotin, an ingredient that's often touted as a hair and nail strengthener.
"There is some limited evidence to support [biotin's] use to strengthen nails," says Dr. Piliang, who adds, "However, there are risks with taking biotin as it can interfere with certain laboratory tests results and lead to false results." So as always, it's best to speak with your doctor first before taking any new supplement or vitamin.
Don't Forget: Rubber Gloves To Keep Your Nails Protected From Water & Cleaning Products
Wearing rubber gloves while washing the dishes or using harsh cleaning products will do wonders for keeping your skin from cracking and chapping, your cuticles from drying, and your nails from peeling and splitting. With this order, you get two pairs of sturdy, elbow-length latex gloves for all your cleaning needs. Simple, but effective.
And: A Quality File To Prevent Breaking & Tearing Your Nails
Another simple tip for maintaining strong, healthy nails? Keep them neatly filed to prevent accidentally ripping or tearing off the tips. It's worth investing in a quality nail file, like this one from OPI; it'll last you years and does a much better job than all those other, flimsy nail files out there. Pairs will with a buffer to keep your nails in tip-top shape.
Darlene Sritapan, OPI North America Education & Capability Manager
Dr. Melissa Piliang, M.D., board-certified dermatologist, Cleveland Clinic