Bad beauty editor confession: I’m a nail biter. I have been my entire life, and I’ve been hearing how gross it is for just as long. I agree! It is! Especially during a pandemic, when my hands are supposed to be far from my face. It’s also a bummer aesthetically, because I’ve whittled down my nails to sad, bloody stumps that aren’t exactly conducive to a chic manicure. That’s why when I started high school, I turned to acrylic tips to stop me from gnawing away my beds. And it worked…until I took them off ten years later. My poor, stubby nails emerged out from under a dense layer of gel and powder paper-thin, peeling like dried flower petals and splitting painfully (which only made me want to bite them more). They were in worse shape than when I’d started. That’s when I knew they needed a major intervention.
I know I’m not alone in having to rehab my nails after abusing them. Whether you’ve been heavy on the gel polish, work with your hands, or just simply have naturally brittle nails, sometimes you need extra help getting your nails to get them back to their former healthy glory. That’s where strengthening and hardening products come in. These fortifying liquids and gels are made to bathe your weak nails in ingredients that nourish nails deeply and harden their surface to prevent splitting and more damage. Here, we’ve rounded up the best of the bunch.