How can you strengthen nails that crack, peel, and break? You need the best nail hardener without formaldehyde. It’s smart to choose a non-toxic nail strengthener or a natural nail hardener because there’s no reason to use harsh chemicals that can harm your health.
Formaldehyde stinks, literally. It’s all around us, in building materials like particleboard, for example. It’s a heavy-duty fungicide and preservative used for embalming. Since it’s linked to respiratory problems and leukemia, it’s smart to reduce your exposure to it. (1)
Fortunately, the top nail polish brands refuse to include it in their products. Most are at least 3-free, avoiding formaldehyde, DBP (dibutyl phthalate), and toluene.
But as we go through the nail hardener reviews below, you’ll see that these products go beyond the minimum to protect your well-being. Here are our top picks:
|The best nail hardeners without formaldehyde||Why we love them|
|ella+mila Nail Care, Nail Strengthener - First Aid Kiss||
|Sally Hansen Treatment Hard as Nails||
|butter LONDON Horse Power Nail Rescue Base Coat||
|Karma Organic Deep Nutrition Nails Strengthener||
|OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener||
|NAIL-AID Keratin 3 Day Growth||
|Hard As Hoof Nail Strengthening Cream||
Best Nail Hardener Without Formaldehyde in 2022
ella+mila Nail Care, Nail Strengthener – First Aid Kiss
This brand of nail products is one of our favorites because it’s 7-free. They don’t use formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, camphor, DBP, xylene, or TPHP. Moreover, they manufacture in the USA and are certified cruelty-free and vegan.
Perhaps you’re already familiar with their cute “mommy & me” nail polishes made for parents and children. Or maybe you’re a fan of the wide range of chip-resistant colors they continuously add to.
In any case, their nail strengthener is excellent for repairing weak nails. It’ll take about a month to heal peeling or splitting nails. But watch out – it smells delicious!
Here’s how to use it: Apply one coat to bare nails and wait a week before removing it. (They recommend a non-acetone remover). After cleaning the nails, apply another single coat of strengthener and take it off a week later.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting. During the third and fourth weeks, put on one coat and remove it on the third day. After removing it, put on a fresh coat and wait 3 more days before repeating the process.
After 4 weeks, feel free to use the nail strengthener as a base coat under colored enamel.
If you’re skeptical, check out the piles of positive reviews. We saw comments like, “it has not chipped one bit yet”, and “it feels like silk on my nails”. Users find that it significantly improves the appearance of brittle nails.
- 7-free and made in the USA, with no formaldehyde, DBP, toluene, camphor, xylene, TPHP, or formaldehyde resin
- Also certified-cruelty free and vegan
- Has a pleasant fragrance and cleans easily with non-acetone remover
- Only a single coat needed for each application
- Can be worn as a base coat
- May take up to a month of weekly and biweekly treatments to cure damaged nails
Sally Hansen Treatment Hard as Nails
Does Sally Hansen nail hardener have formaldehyde? No, it does not. Hard as Nails is 3-free, with no formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP. Instead, it’s enriched with green tea and pro-vitamin B5 to nourish the nails.
Unlike the ella+mila hardener, Sally Hansen’s strengthener needs to be applied daily for a week. But at the end of the week, the nails should already be significantly stronger. Many reviewers say they use it regularly to grow their nails longer.
It looks and feels like clear nail polish, and can be used as a base coat or on its own. It’s extremely chip-resistant, yet removes easily.
- Noticeably stronger nails within a week of daily applications
- Resembles clear nail polish and can be worn by itself or as a base coat
- Chip-resistant but easy to remove
- Free of formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP
- Contains pro-vitamin B5 and green tea with antioxidants to nourish the nails
- Must be applied daily
butter LONDON Horse Power Nail Rescue Base Coat
butter LONDON’s nail polishes, including this hardener, are 8-free. They have no formaldehyde or formaldehyde resin, toluene, DBP, xylene, camphor, TPHP, or ethyl tosylamide.
So, why is it called the Horse Power Nail Rescue Base Coat? That’s because it has horsetail extract which is known to strengthen nails and hair. It also contains biotin and calcium to fortify the nails.
When you take a break from gel or acrylic manicures, but still want to wear polish, this is the solution.
This is how to use it: first, prepare your nails and cuticles as usual. Then, apply the Horse Power base coat and let it dry. Afterward, apply 2 coats of colored lacquer and you’re done. It’s also possible to add a top coat for extra gloss.
On a side note, we’ve seen some users wear this as a protective base coat under gel manicures and it seems to work. Other comments report that weekly applications keep the nails healthy with no peeling or cracking.
- 8-free and infused with horsetail extract, biotin, and calcium
- It’s a base coat that allows the wearer to continue to use colored polish on top
- May encourage continuous manicures although the nails need a break
Karma Organic Deep Nutrition Nails Strengthener
The highlight of this natural nail hardener is that it defends against fungal infections, too. It doesn’t just strengthen the nails, but it improves their overall health. Furthermore, it’s hypoallergenic and free of formaldehyde, DBP, toluene, and TPHP.
The formula uses the extract of the resurrection plant, Selaginella lepidophylla, to revive brittle nails. Plus, it’s enriched with vegan ingredients like avocado, apricot, coconut, and other plant oils. That’s not surprising as this is an organic spa brand on PETA’s good list.
Apply it onto bare, clean nails. Within a week, there should be a noticeable difference. But the best results come after 3 weeks. Wear it as a base coat under other polish if desired.
Inasmuch as possible, the manufacturer also tries to protect the environment. They have stopped using plastic in favor of glass and print with soy-based ink.
- Made by an organic spa brand and free of formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, and TPHP
- Infused with plant oils and extracts that ward off fungal infections and strengthen the nails
- Noticeable results after only a week, and maximum benefits after 3 weeks
- Doubles as a base coat
- Not completely colorless
OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener, Sensitive and Peeling
Does OPI nail strengthener contain formaldehyde? Although the original formula might, the Sensitive and Peeling version does not.
Instead, it has calcium, vitamin E, and Kukui nut oil to condition the nails. Apply 2 coats to clean nails, then an additional coat every other day. At the end of the week, remove Nail Envy and repeat the process.
In time, the nails will be rock hard, glossy, strong, and long. Users say this takes anywhere from a month or 2 months. Fortunately, you can wear this as a base coat under other nail lacquers.
- The Sensitive and Peeling version of Nail Envy is formaldehyde-free
- Enriched with vitamin E, calcium, and Kukui nut oil for extra conditioning power
- A positive difference should be visible after only a week, although best results come after a month or more
- Wearable as a base coat or on its own
- Requires repeated applications
NAIL-AID Keratin 3 Day Growth
Will this nail hardener really grow longer, stronger nails in only 3 days? Well, nails naturally grow at a rate of about 3 and a half millimeters per month, so this product isn’t responsible for that. But it will stop nails from chipping and peeling, allowing them to look and feel stronger.
In fact, from the time you apply the first 2 coats, the nails will have a hard, glossy finish. Since the hardener contains keratin, it instantly strengthens weak nails. To better protect brittle nails, apply a new coat every 3 days. It looks nice on its own, or you can use it as a base coat under colored lacquer.
Happily, it’s free of 20 harmful ingredients including formaldehyde, parabens, toluene, DBP, carmine, xylene, and so on.
- Fortifies the nails with keratin to prevent peeling and chipping
- Hard, glossy finish looks attractive on its own and doubles as a base coat
- Nails have improved length and strength after only 3 days
- Formula is free of 20 harmful ingredients including formaldehyde etc.
- The best results come from applying a new coat every 3 days
Hard As Hoof Nail Strengthening Cream
This is not a nail polish that instantly hardens the nails. Instead, it’s an intense moisturizer packed with nutrients that keep nails from peeling, splitting, and chipping. It also restores cuticles to health.
It’s a thoroughly tested product that’s been around for a quarter of a century, proving time and again how well it works. Plus, there’s nothing to stop you from using it in tandem with one of the other nail hardeners above. It’s coconut-scented and non-greasy.
The ingredients list includes coconut oil, beeswax, silk protein, and vitamins. It’s so nourishing you might be tempted to treat cracked heels and dry elbows with it.
Users recommend reapplying as often as needed. Be sure to leave some underneath the tips and massage thoroughly into the cuticles. Within a few weeks, you can say goodbye to thin and bendy nails.
- Nourishing moisturizer that repairs cuticles and strengthens nails to prevent peeling and splitting
- Can be used alongside nail hardeners for maximum benefits
- Effective product that’s been on the market for 25 years
- No immediate results other than smoother cuticles; takes time to work
You don’t need formaldehyde to harden natural nails. The best nail hardeners are non-toxic and beneficial, preventing peeling and chipping by improving the nails’ health over the long term. Most can be used as a base coat or clear polish for when you need to give your nails a break.
We hope we helped you find the solution to your problem today. If you’re enjoying a nail hardener we reviewed above, we’d love to hear what you think about it. Feel free to leave us a comment below.
1. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/formaldehyde/formaldehyde-fact-sheet accessed May 3, 2021