Nail hardener vs nail strengthener: a detailed analysis

Nail hardeners and nail strengtheners are two different but frequently confused products that are guaranteed to give your nails a refreshed and smooth look.

Understanding the differences between a hardener and a strengthener will provide you with the knowledge you need to step up your nail art, whether you’re a nail lover looking to enhance your already gorgeous nails or struggling with weak and damaged nails.

In this article we will examine both nail hardeners and nail strengtheners, explaining their unique properties and guiding you toward the best solution for your nail problems as we examine “Nail hardener vs Nail strengthener”

nail hardener vs nail strengthener
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Nail hardener: overview

Nail hardeners are specialized nail care products designed to strengthen and reinforce the natural structure of the nails.

They are made with a special mix of active chemicals that penetrate the nail bed to supply vital nutrients, encourage healthy development, and interact with the keratin in the nail at the molecular level.

Nail hardeners prevent weak or brittle nails by locking in moisture, well-hydrated nails are more flexible and less likely to crack, promoting overall nail health.

Nail hardeners can create a tough, durable layer that may be difficult to remove with regular nail polish removers so special nail polish removers may be required.

They serve as a powerful tool in your arsenal of nail care products, offering a way to transform weak and brittle nails into strong and resilient beauties.

The composition of a nail hardener

Nail hardeners work very effectively as a result of the collection of these essential components explained below.

Formaldehyde. This polarizing substance binds to the keratin protein in nails to create cross-linking nail hardeners that reinforce the nail structure.

Ethyl acetate. Known for its ability to act as a solvent, it is dispersing the other components equally over the nail surface for reliable and efficient application.

Vitamin E. Vitamin E protects nails from damage caused by free radicals and other external factors.

Biotin. Reduces the risk of nail splitting by improving nail thickness and promoting nail development.

Panthenol. Panthenol helps to retain moisture, reducing excessive drying and brittleness of the nails.

Calcium. A vital mineral that supports healthy growth, prevents brittleness and strengthens the nails.

Keratin. Keratin is the main component of the nails themselves and it is used as an ingredient in nail hardeners to restore the protein level of the nail, strengthening its structural integrity.

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Advantages of a nail hardener

Enhanced nail strength. The primary advantage of using a nail hardener is its extraordinary capacity to considerably increase nail strength.

To avoid splitting. Weak nails are more likely to split and peel, leaving uneven and ugly nail surfaces.

Nail hardeners tackle these problems by enhancing the nail’s structural integrity and generating healthier nails.

Shielding. Our nails encounter various chemicals and water throughout the day, from cleaning agents to dishwashing and even prolonged exposure to water during showers. Nail hardeners help create a protective shield to reduce damaging effects on the nails.

Nail strengthener: overview

Nail strengtheners are a specialized category of nail care products that focus on nourishing the nails to improve their overall health and strength. 

Nail strengtheners feature a special combination of substances that penetrate the nail bed, supplying vital nutrients and encouraging healthy growth, unlike traditional nail polishes, which just offer color and fashion.

Certain nail strengtheners contain ingredients that help minimize nail discoloration, caused by factors such as staining from nail polish or exposure to external pollutants, as a result, your nails will appear healthier and more radiant.

Apply a small layer of the nail strengthener to each nail with the brush, making sure to cover the entire nail.

Consistent application is key for nail strengtheners to be effective, apply the nail strengthener as instructed and include it in your normal nail care routine to maintain strong and healthy nails.

The composition of a nail strengthener

Like nail hardeners, nail strengtheners are also composed of carefully selected components to guarantee the best effectiveness value.

Keratin. Keratinis an important structural protein that is present in skin, hair, and nails, keratin-enriched nail strengtheners offer essential building blocks for stronger nails.

Collagen. Collagen is a popular protein that is well-known for its benefits for the skin and nails, it promotes nail structure and suppleness, reducing brittleness and breakage.

Wheat protein. This protein is derived from wheat germ and it strengthens nails by producing shielding coatings that lessen the chances of chipping and peeling.

Glycerin. Known for its moisturizing properties, glycerin locks in moisture, keeping the nails well-hydrated and less susceptible to brittleness.

Calcium. Calcium is known for its role in strengthening bones, calcium also supports the growth and durability of nails.

Biotin. A crucial ingredient that promotes healthy nail growth and lowers the chances of nail breakage and splitting.

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Advantages of a nail strengthener

Durable foundation. Nail strengtheners strengthen the nail plate by replenishing essential proteins like keratin and collagen.

By offering these essential building blocks, they repair damage and strengthen the nail’s structural integrity, laying the foundation for long-lasting nail health.

Prevents nail breaks. The strengthening effect of nail strengtheners contributes to a more flexible nail plate, minimizing the risk of nail breaks and splits, this advantage ensures your nails maintain their beauty and strength over time.

Defending against stressors. Nail plates face daily challenges from environmental stressors, such as exposure to water, chemicals, and temperature changes.

Factors to consider when choosing

  • Your nail type. While some naturally have strong nails that only need minor strengthening, others have thin or weak nails that require additional assistance, so pick a product designed for your particular nail type.
  • Reviews. Read reviews and seek recommendations from trusted sources, such as friends, family, or nail care professionals.
  • Budget. Consider your budget and the price range of the products, and find a product that balances efficiency and affordability.
  • Personal preferences. Consider your personal preferences and comfort level with the product and choose a product that aligns with your nail care routine and preferences.
  • Nail goals. Establish your targets and expected results, a nail strengthener with nourishing qualities can be more in line with your objectives if you want to grow longer and healthier nails, while a nail hardener will be more effective in preventing breakage and improving nail strength.

Which one is better: nail hardener vs nail strengthener

The nail strengthener vs nail hardener argument has been around for a very long time, comparing drawbacks and advantages there have been different choices for the better one from countless sources.

Both products offer distinct advantages for nail care but the better in the “Nail strengthener vs Nail hardener” argument generally depends on your individual nail needs and concerns. 

Nail hardeners are excellent at providing extra strength and protection.

Ideal for weak nails, while nail strengtheners focus on nourishing nails from the inside out, ideal for healthy growth and flexibility.

Top nail hardeners recommended for you

Sally Hansen Xtreme. This nail hardener is a favorite among many for strengthening weak nails because of its low cost and efficiency.

Essie Hardener. This nail hardener combines care and color to give the nails a light polish while strengthening them.

Quimica Alemana Hardener. This nail hardener is a favorite among nail enthusiasts thanks to its quick-drying and long-lasting effects.

Nailtiques Formula 2 Nail Protein. This protein-based hardener is designed for soft and peeling nails and helps fortify and promote healthy nail growth.

Top nail strengtheners recommended for you

CND Keratin Treatment. With its keratin-rich formula that revives the nail plate, this product is a popular choice for both natural and artificial nails.It’s especially effective for healing and restoring damaged nails.

Sally Hansen Thickener. This is a nourishing nail strengthener made to offer a thicker, more durable base coat for the application of nail polish, making it perfect for people with thin, brittle nails.

Burt’s Bees cuticle cream. This is also a great addition to your nail care routine because it hydrates the skin around the nails.

Additional nail tips

Trim nails regularly. Trim your nails regularly to maintain a neat and polished appearance, shorter nails are generally less prone to damage.

Choose quality nail products. Invest in high-quality a base coat and top coat, as they can contribute to the health and appearance of your nails.

Stick to a balanced diet. A balanced diet full of vitamins and minerals is important since it can help make nails stronger and healthier.

Give nails a break. Consider giving your nails a break from nail polish and treatments sometimes, allowing them to breathe and rest can help prevent discoloration and maintain good nail health.

Limit the use of nail tools. Metal instruments, such as cuticle pushers and metal nail files, should not be used repeatedly as they might harm the nail surface, use more gentle tools instead.

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Should I use nail hardener or strengthener?

The current condition of your nails and what you aim to achieve with a nail product will determine whether to go for a nail strengthener or hardener.

Is nail hardener same as strengthener?

A nail hardener is not the same as a nail strengthener, although they have some features in common, they are two different types of products.

Does nail hardener strengthen nails?

Nail hardener does strengthen nails by forming a protective barrier on the surface of the nails, but if it’s strengthening what you are after it is recommended to go for a nail strengthener instead.

Does nail hardener make your nails grow faster?

Nail hardeners are primarily designed to fortify and maintain strong nails and do not make nails grow faster in any way.


Both nail hardeners and nail strengtheners offer valuable benefits in the pursuit of healthy and beautiful nails, the choice between these products depends on individual nail concerns and preferences.

This article on “Nail Hardener vs Nail Strengthener” will help you to choose the perfect nail product to maintain stunning and healthier natural nails.