Tired of having dry, brittle nails that split and break? If you are like a vast majority of women, your attempts to have the long, beautiful nails that we see in advertisements and on celebrities seem to ultimately fail as our nails are doomed to breakage as soon as they grow to that “perfect” and desired length. While fake nails can help you achieve that lengthy nail, there are other options out there – like a nail hardener!
What is a Nail Hardener?
Nail hardeners are an effective way to strengthen brittle and fragile nails. Nails tend to become dry and weak due to a number of factors, including contact with detergents, solvents, and water.
A nail hardening solution comes in a number of different ingredients, though most do contain acetates, nitrocellulose, toluene, polyamide resins, acrylic, and some contain up to 2% formaldehyde.
TIP: Try to avoid buying any nail hardener that contains formaldehyde as some have had serious health issues when using a formaldehyde-based solution, such as onycholysis and subungual hyperkeratosis.
Newer formulations of nail hardeners contain such materials as nylon, glycerin, hydrolyzed proteins and metal salts.
Nail hardening solutions come as a clear protective coating. Once applied, the solution then penetrates the nail and reacts in such a way with the natural proteins in your nail plate to strengthen and toughen up your nails.
How do you Apply a Nail Hardener?
If you are familiar with applying a “base coat” to your nails before applying nail polish, a nail hardener is applied in just the same way. These products usually come in a nail polish-style bottle with a wand.
After giving yourself a manicure and ensuring your nails are clean and dry, you’re ready to apply the nail hardener! The wand is removed from the bottle, dabbed to remove excess solvent, and then applied to your nails prior to applying nail polish.
TIP: Nail hardeners are particularly useful for anyone who receives manicures. Nails are extremely fragile after any false nails or tips are removed, so it is important to reinforce your natural nail by applying a nail hardening solution.
Is there Anything I Should Know before Using a Nail Hardener?
Nail hardeners, as with anything that is applied to the skin that is not “natural”, can cause contact dermatitis in some. Contact dermatitis when related to the use of a nail hardener can usually be seen around the nail, cause the finger swell, or cause eyelid dermatitis.
Some also find that using nail polish and nail hardening products both stains their nails and causes them to weaken. Many products are out there to remove the toughest of stains your nails may face (such as applying and wearing a deep red nail polish) and the best of the nail hardening products will actually leave you with stronger nails even after it has been removed. It has also been found that clear nail hardening solutions can actually protect your nails from staining and yellowing.
Next time you are considering running to your manicurist or salon to glue on some fake nails, consider picking up a bottle of nail hardener at a fraction of the cost and see how beautiful your real, natural nails can really be!