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Nail Hardener Vs. Nail Strengthener

by Gabbi

Our nails deserve love and care, and what better way to pamper them than with a nail hardener or a nail strengthener? If your nails are distressed and weak, it’s time to give a boost of extra protection to the nail beds so they can grow long and strong!

A nail strengthener and nail hardener will offer nourishment to your nail beds, especially if they feel brittle and break or chip easily. However, it’s crucial to note that nail hardeners and nail strengtheners aren’t interchangeable, and you’ll receive different results when using each product.

What is the difference between a nail hardener vs. nail strengthener? A nail strengthener works to improve the health of the nail over time. On the other hand, a nail hardener will offer a thick layer of protection for the nails to help you avoid breakage or damage. 

How do you decipher which is the right product for you? Both a nail hardener and strengthener will offer positive results for your nail plates. However, evaluating your needs will help you decide which product is right for you. And who knows, you may even end up with both!

While they share similarities, both of these products will achieve different outcomes for your nails. If you are looking to improve your nails’ health or want to grow out your natural nails, you’ll need to know the differences, so follow along!

What Is Nail Hardener?

What is a Nail Hardener? Nail hardeners are a thick, clear lacquer that will dry down into a resistant layer of protection. They prevent chipping on the free edge and nail breakage altogether. So, if you’re looking to grow out your nails, a nail hardener can help you reach your goal.

However, nail hardeners have many characteristics to be aware of before you incorporate them into your routine. First, there are two types of nail hardeners: a cross-linking hardener and a reinforcing hardener.

According to Easy Nail Tech, “Cross-linking Harderners work by binding the Keratin Protein in your nails more tightly making your nail plates harder and less flexible.” A cross-linking hardener will do the trick to grow your nails long and strong.

Easy Nail Tech also states, “reinforcement hardeners are very similar to base coats; they work by forming a protective coat over your nails, making them feel more rigid.” Both types of hardeners will offer protective results for your nail plates. 

While nail hardeners can allow your nail to grow longer than they usually would, they have some disadvantages. For example, using nail hardeners too often will result in brittle and inelastic nails that are more likely to break. 

Also, it’s important to note that some nail hardeners can contain harmful ingredients. Formaldehyde can damage the nails over time and even cause lifting or breaking, especially if used frequently. Thankfully, there are options out there that contain safer ingredients. 

If you must use a product containing Formaldehyde, it’s recommended to do so sparingly. Like most harmful things, using nail hardeners containing formaldehyde every once in a while won’t cause damage. So stay clear of frequent use. 

In addition, a nail hardener will be simple to implement into your routine. It will act similar to a base coat. All you need to do is apply one coat to the nails and let them dry. You will see it harden with a shiny and resilient finish.

So, if you need to repair your weak nails or are looking to grow them long and strong, then opting for a nail hardener can be a great tool. Always conduct a patch test and use as instructed on the label. Now you can say hello to lengthy nails. 

Suggested Product: LONDONTOWN Nail Hardener 

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Nail hardener

Leave weak and brittle nails in the past and increase their strength with this Nail Hardener from LONDONTOWN.

Doubling as a basecoat, it’s the best of botanicals and science combined in a bottle to tackle even the most damaged nails in need of some serious TLC. It creates a durable surface that shields from chips, cracks, breakage, and peeling.

Below that layer of protection, carefully selected botanicals work to repair damage and keep your nails completely quenched. They’ll be treated to the moisturizing and healing powers of biotin, vitamins E, A and B5, evening primrose oil, safflower oil, and more.

Plus, it’s free from not-so-ideal ingredients like acetone and formaldehyde.

If you’re at the beginning stages of healing damaged nails, it’s ideal to use the product sans nail polish at first. Trust us, it’ll make your life easier. Fans of the product recommend daily application for up to a month for the best results.

It’s also important to remember to apply the product on clean nails and to start fresh at least once a week using an acetone-free remover.

After a month, you can move to once every week or so and start using the product as a nourishing base coat under your favorite polish. But, you might love your revived nails so much that you don’t want to cover them up!

What Is Nail Strengthener?

Nail strengtheners will also offer a layer of protection for your nails like nail hardeners, but they won’t be as thick, and you’ll receive extra nutrients. This type of nail product will offer long-term benefits with consistent use rather than short-term results for growth. 

According to Easy Nail Tech, “nail strengtheners usually use the same ingredients as a base coat…except they contain large amounts of nutrients and vitamins to promote stronger and healthier nails.” With each use, you get a boost of nourishing properties.

One way to decipher the difference between nail strengtheners and hardeners is that strengtheners will still leave your nails flexible. On the other hand, nail hardeners will make your nails resilient and unbendable.

Silhouette Spa and Laser states that “strengthener works as a protective, flexible film that reinforces the structure of the nail while also imparting vitamins and nutrients to the nail plate to promote growth.” Your nails also need a daily dose of vitamins. 

Nail strengtheners can be applied daily for up to 14 days for the best result. They can also be applied like a base coat or a prep for your base coat to prolong your manicure. Strengtheners are an easy step to improve your overall nail health.

In addition to repairing damaged nail plates, nail strengtheners can also be used as a preventative measure to ensure your nails get the nourishment they need. This will also keep them long and robust over time. 

Keep in mind that most nail strengtheners also contain formaldehyde, which is harmful for long-term use. As long as you follow the instructions on the label and conduct a patch test, this can lessen adverse side effects due to the formaldehyde. 

Strengtheners are available in varying formulas and finishes. For example, some nail strengtheners cater to soft and thin nails, sensitive and peeling nails, or dry and brittle nails. Some formulas can leave you with a high-shine glossy finish or a natural matte one. 

Silhouette Spa and Laser has also described how strengtheners can penetrate the nail plate “by microelements and proteins in nail strengtheners. These small molecules have a chemical similarity with the nail’s own keratin composition.” 

For optimal results, you can combine nail hardeners and strengtheners to create bulletproof and healthy nails. However, separately they offer different results. Hardeners are great for growth, and strengtheners deliver a boost of nutrients. 

Suggested Product: OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener

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It’s no wonder OPI is the number one nail brand to shop from, no matter if you need a new nail polish color or a full nail treatment. OPI created the Nail Envy Nail Strengthener so you can care for your nails without giving up your weekly manicures. 

This nail strengthener is formulated with calcium and protein to build up the resistance and strength of your nail plates. The calcium and hydrolyzed wheat protein will promote your nails to grow longer for healthy natural nails. 

Why is OPI’s Nail Envy line so captivating? Their nail strengtheners are available in different shades, so you can have a clean and crisp manicure without all the extra steps. In addition, it’s simple and a hassle-free product to implement in a routine. 

First, apply two coats of the nail envy strengthener. Next, apply one coat every day afterward for one week. Once the week has passed, remove the strengthener and begin the process again if you desire stronger results. 

OPI’s Nail Envy Treatment can be worn completely by itself, or it can replace your base coat the next time you are due for a manicure. Over time, you’ll notice longer and healthier nails. 

In addition, you’ll be able to protect your nail plates from unnecessary trauma. OPI is a trusted nail brand worldwide and will always bring the quality results of a salon to the comfort of your own home. 

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