1Gelish Mini Nourish Cuticle Oil, $5
Made with grapeseed oil, kukui nut oil, sesame oil and vitamin E oil, this cuticle oil restores essential oils in nails to keep them soft and healthy.
Danielle Candido, a lead educator at Gelish, believes that using cuticle oil twice a day is the best way to get stronger nails. “Use a cuticle oil made with essential oils like Grape Seed Oil, Sesame Seed or Sunflower Oil,” she notes, since these are carrier oils. “The smaller molecular structure of these oils penetrates the skin easily and will “carry” the other ingredients deeply into the tissue to help hydrate and heal most efficiently.”
2Ciate Nail Tonic: Nail Hydrator, $17
Muscat rose tree oil, iron, zinco, vitamin E and seaweed extract make up this hyrdrating, nourishing cocktail. Apply under your base coat or alone to repair dehydrated and splitting nails and give nails a smooth, healthy finish.
3Perfect Formula Gel Coat Color, $24
This nail polish and strengthening gel coat hybrid is the first two-in-one base coat and polish. Rich in keratin, it instantly seals and protects nails so that they can grow without splitting or flaking.
4Morgan Taylor Go Ahead and Grow Fortifying Nail Treatment Base Coat, $13
(available for purchase in salons and spas)
A treatment base coat like this one from Morgan Taylor is a good way to give weak and damaged nails healthy base support pre-mani. Keratin and vitamin E help strengthen nails and allow them to grow longer.
5Rococo Pro Glass Nail File, $18
A glass file makes it so you don’t need to apply as much pressure when filing, since the heavy material does it for you. It also helps seal the nail, preventing splitting and chipping. (Plus, you can wash it, so it’ll last!)
Rococo’s founders, Ange and Vernice Walker, note that glass files are great to smooth and bevel the edge of the nail. “It’s best to use a file that is 240 grit or higher—it should be smooth,” they add. And filing the correct way is key, otherwise you can split and peel the nail. “It’s best not to file back and forth with a file that could be too coarse or gritty. You should also avoid filing on top of the nail plate as this could cause thinning of the layers and damage to the nail bed,” the Walkers advise.
6Butter London Melt Away Cuticle Eliminator, $19
A weekly dose of this treatment gently exfoliates and gradually softens cuticles so they’re easy to push back and you won’t be tempted to cut or pick at them.
7Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment, $18
Julep’s patented formulation forms a film on nails to make them water-resistant, protecting nail cells from water damage and making them less prone to splitting.
8Essie Millionails Treatment, $10
Applied alone or under base coat, this strengthener combine amino acids, iron and Kevlar (what bulletproof vests are made of) to leave nails shielded from those external factors that weaken them.
9Nivea Smooth Indulgence hand cream, $6
Not into cuticle oil? Use hand cream instead. “It’s just all about what you’re going to end up using,” says Dana Stern, M.D., a New York City-based dermatologist who specializes in nails and nail disorders. Natural minerals and vitamins B5 and F provide serious moisturization and macademia nut oil works to replenish dry skin and cuticles.