Nail Hardener vs Nail Strengthener, What’s The Difference?

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If your nails are dry and splitting, they peel or have tears, you’re a nail biter, or they generally just need some extra help to grow beautifully, then you definitely need to pay closer attention to them before things get worse.

Damaged nails are not to be ignored.

So, if you need support in maintaining the health and growth of your nails, you’re going to need some extra help. And this is where nail strengtheners and nail hardeners come into play.

In this article, Luxe Luminous is the referee in the battle of nail strengthener vs nail hardener. What’s the difference between them? Which should you use? We’ll explore it all below!


Why Are My Nails So Weak?

As within, so without, which means if you have weak and brittle nails, then that comes down to something happening inside of your body.

Your nails are made up of keratin, a protein that is produced in the nail cells (as well as in other parts of your body), which makes up nail tissue.

Keratin plays an essential role in keeping your nails healthy by protecting them from damage. This protein works to make your nails stronger and, therefore, much more resilient.

However, it is possible to have a deficiency of this protein in your body.

There are many reasons as to what is going on, besides a keratin deficiency can manifest due to biological, chemical, and medical influences, such as those listed below:

Biological

If you have a low dietary intake or deficiency of vitamins like folic acid and vitamin B-12, which are found in milk, cheese, eggs, and other animal products, can cause weak, ridged, and peeling nails.

Vegans, especially, have low vitamin B12 intakes.

Inadequate levels of essential minerals like calcium, zinc, iron, and copper can also be the cause of weak nails and even hair loss.

Chemical

Are you a long-term nail polish user? Besides nail polish removers containing acetone which causes your nails to dry and weaken, most nail polishes include toxic chemicals like formaldehyde and TPHP, which are absorbed into the cuticle before they make their way to your bloodstream.

These chemicals enter the bloodstream even when you’re inhaling nail polish on application.

Besides weak nails, these chemicals can also manifest as chronic diseases like certain cancers, infertility, thyroid disorders, and even obesity.

Great.

Medical

Weak nails are often among the early symptoms of hypothyroidism. Other chronic conditions like anemia, fungal infections, which generally cause a discoloring of the affected nails, alopecia, and eczema can weaken your fingernails.

Then there’s your genetic makeup, which is thought to play its part if you have nail ridging, which can be a sign of malnutrition, but also a symptom of a heart and respiratory problem.

If any of the above scenarios resonate, you’ll need to take steps now to maintain the health of your nails. So, what can you do to make this happen?

Now it’s time to dip your finger into the nail strengthener vs nail hardener battle.


Nail Strengthener vs Nail Hardener

Nail strengtheners and nail hardeners are two very different things with two very different functions, although they are sometimes confused with each other.

Nail strengtheners work by acting as a protective layer to the surface of the nail.

Meanwhile, nail hardeners work to make the nail beds less flexible.

Let’s first take a deeper look at the differences.

Nail strengtheners and nail hardeners are two very different things with two very different functions, although they are sometimes confused with each other.

If you’re only after a little bit of protection that will also help to promote stronger, healthier nails, then a nail strengthener is what you need. They generally contain the same ingredients as base coats, except in larger amounts, which are meant to nourish your nails more.


It’s All About The Strength

Nail strengtheners generally make a protective barrier over your nails, and some of the ingredients contained in them are supposed to nourish your nail bed. Unlike nail hardeners, they will leave your nails with some flexibility.

With consistent use, nail strengtheners offer long-term benefits by giving your nails just enough protection, so that they are able to grow more efficiently.

The problem with this, though, is that many nail strengtheners contain chemicals like formaldehyde that can further damage your nails.

Luckily, though, there are more natural alternative products you can use that will keep your nails in a more healthy state. A favorite of Khloe Kardashian (she featured it on her official app), Barielle's Nail Strengthener Cream  is an easy-to-use breakthrough formulation that will help your nails to grow healthier and stronger.

You can even use Barielle’s nail strengthener cream when using as a base before applying your nail polish.

For the best results, though, use the cream on your nails up to three times a day to help improve any splits, cracks, and peeling while your nails grow.

Best of all, Barielle Nail Strengthener Cream is free from formaldehyde and other chemical nasties usually found in nail strengtheners like xylene, toluene, camphor, parabens, and phthalate.

It’s even free of animal products, so is vegan friendly, as well as pregnancy safe.

Nail strengtheners generally make a protective barrier over your nails, and some of the ingredients contained in them are supposed to nourish your nail bed. Unlike nail hardeners, they will leave your nails with some flexibility.

Barielle’s Garlic Nail Strengthener and Growth Formula  is infused with, not surprisingly, garlic (don’t worry, it doesn’t stink!), and can be used as a nourishing nail strengthener as well as a base coat.

Garlic is a natural antioxidant that works to build up protection to weak and brittle nails as you layer on this growth formula.

And as with other Barielle nail products, Garlic Nail Strengthener and Growth Formula is free from formaldehyde and other chemical toxins found in most nail strengthener products.

Another more natural alternative to synthetic nail strengtheners is Maxus’s JojobaBelieve It Butter , which is a luxurious and nourishing nail butter to nurture, protect, and strengthen your nails.

Its non-greasy and moisturizing formula contains jojoba seed oil extract, which is wild-harvested in Israel.

It melts into your nails and skin on contact, and works to repair damage to the collagen matrix of cells inside the nail bed.

With consistent use, your nails will grow in stronger, while staying flexible. And the formula’s essential fatty acids work to restore hydration of the skin and nails, and will even soften your cuticles.

The chemical makeup of jojoba seed oil closely matches the skin’s own sebum, which means JojobaBelieve It Butter will penetrate your skin and nails on contact, to restore their strength on a cellular level.


The Hard Stuff

The keratin in your nails is generated in a cross-linked pattern, which works to harden the overall nail plate. What nail hardeners do is help to recreate this reinforcement synthetically to make your nails more resilient and not easy to bend.

Nail hardeners are generally thick and clear lacquers that help to prevent chipping and breakage. There are two types of nail hardeners:

Cross-linking Nail Hardeners

Cross-linking nail hardeners bind to the keratin in your nails in order to make the nail bed less flexible and harder. If your goal is to grow your nails longer, then this could be exactly what you’re looking for.

Reinforcement Nail Hardeners

Reinforcement hardeners are kind of like base coats in that they form a protective layer on top of your nails to make them feel much more rigid.

Nail hardeners can allow your nails to grow better. But if they’re used too often, this can result in nails becoming more brittle, or so inflexible that they’re more likely to break, completely defeating the reason to use them.

Nail hardeners can allow your nails to grow better. But if they’re used too often, this can result in nails becoming more brittle, or so inflexible that they’re more likely to break, completely defeating the reason to use them.

Also, many nail hardeners also contain harmful ingredients like formaldehyde, which will damage the nails over time if they are used too often. OG nail brand Sally Hansen’s Hard As Wraps nail hardener  doesn’t contain formaldehyde and will instantly strengthen your nails against breaking.

Its clear and transparent acrylic gel formula provides safe protection that can be had after one coat. Hard As Wraps can be used on its own, or as a base coat under your favorite nail polish.

If you’re wanting a more natural nail hardener without formaldehyde, then you’re in luck. Barielle’s Instant Nail Hardener  is an easy to use and maximum strength hardening treatment with vitamin E and other natural proteins to help reinforce and protect your nails.

And again, like with all Barielle nail products, you don’t have to worry about formaldehyde or any of the other synthetic chemicals found in most nail hardeners on the market, which when used too often, will cause your already brittle nails to become even more damaged.


Conclusion

So, when it comes to nail strengthener vs nail hardener, your choice about which of these products to use depends on what you’re looking to accomplish with your nail care routine.

Nail strengtheners provide a protective barrier on the nails, while still giving flexibility.

Nail hardeners are a clear lacquer that protects your nails from chipping and breakage, while preventing them from bending.


Written by Kayla Young

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