Getty Images - Design: Alex Sandoval
If you ever feel the need to hide your hands in your pockets or disguise peeling fingernails behind polish, you're not alone. Whether you're a health-care worker and experience dry and weakened nails from hand washing, an outdoor laborer or avid gardener that constantly suffers from chips or breaks, or someone who has unintentionally damaged their nails due to removing a gel manicure the wrong way (hey, been there), you might not be totally happy with the state of your nails.
Luckily, Amazon shoppers have discovered a product that might just be your end-all, be-all cure for nail woes: OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener (Buy It, $18, amazon.com). "Nail Envy is a nail strengthener formulated with wheat protein and calcium designed to resist peeling, cracking, and peeling," explains Sigourney Nuñez, licensed lacquer artist and education manager at OPI North America. (Related: Amazon Shoppers Say This $4 Nail Treatment Makes 'Paper Thin' Nails Longer and Stronger)
Here's a quick lesson on nail strengtheners: They work by forming a protective seal over the nail to physically protect and add strength to the nail itself, explains Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. This formula, in particular, helps to harden the nail to minimize breakage thanks to protein and calcium, adds Dr. Zeichner.
One of the most common questions Nuñez gets on Instagram is how can one improve the integrity of their natural nails — to which she responds, "use OPI Nail Envy and a cuticle oil." Not only can OPI's Nail Envy give you a little pick-me-up to strengthen and condition nails, but it can also aid in recovery when you have an accidental break or unintentional damage from improper removal of a manicure, especially gel. (Related: This Cuticle Oil Pen Can Help You Maintain Salon-Worthy Nails Without Leaving the House)
Something to keep in mind with this potent formula is that if you overuse it (read: multiple times a day), your nails can become too hard and break — so you can't go ham. "You want to make sure your natural nails still have some natural flexibility and bendability," says Nuñez. Her recommendation? "You can use it a base coat, then follow with color and top coat. Or you can use it as a standalone treatment, apply two coats followed by one coat every other day. Then after a week, you remove it and start the process over for at least six weeks." And Dr. Zeichner agrees: "Strengtheners can be used daily for one to two weeks for maximal benefits, then applied as a base coat before your regular manicure."
If you're in the market for a nail strengthener, this one gets a stamp of approval from both of the experts and has racked up more than 18,000 five-star ratings from Amazon shoppers, too. Reviewers laud this product for strengthening paper-thin nails, preventing breaks and chipped polish, and even stimulating new growth.
"This is the first and ONLY product in 35 years of spending money on various nail hardeners, strengtheners, oils, cuticle creams, oils, dietary changes, & oral supplements that has made any difference whatsoever for my chronically weak, splitting, nubby nails!" raves a customer. "Cuticle overgrowth and cracking have greatly lessened. Polish stays on longer due to less severe nail flexing and bending, which used to cause my polish to start chipping off within hours. I finally have nails I love instead of sad-looking, ragged, and embarrassing nails."
Another writes, "This is by far the BEST nail strengthening product that I've ever used. I've had thin and brittle nails since I was a teenager. As soon as they grew past my fingertips (when they occasionally were able to make it even that long) they would consistently chip, crack, rip, peel, and break. I've tried keeping my hands better moisturized. I've spent hours of my life painting them with other products, babying, and filing the darn things, only to be disappointed and frustrated with the results. After some desperate Googling to try and find other options, I stumbled upon an article that recommended Nail Envy and decided to try it. I am SO glad I did. I've been using it for about three months, and I couldn't be more impressed. My nails are now stronger than they've EVER been. IN MY LIFE! I've been able to grow them out much longer than I ever have, and they look so much healthier! They've stopped peeling, rarely chip, and never break. I honestly have never been so impressed with the results I've experienced vs. the claims of a beauty product. For the first time, I finally have strong and beautiful nails!"
Take a cue from the thousands of Amazon shoppers that swear by the formula and kiss your weak, peeling, nubby nails goodbye with OPI's Nail Envy Nail Strengthener. Add it to cart and be on your way to gorgeous natural nails, stat.