I’ve struggled with nails that peel for as long as I can remember. Just when a nail might be starting to reach my fingertip, a thin layer would peel from the side or the middle, making the remaining nail so thin I’d have to cut it down and start again. Sometimes the peel goes so far up my nail I can’t even cut high enough and have to keep cutting as it grows out.

Over the years I’ve tried many nail strengthening products, some even marketed specifically for thin and peeling nails. Very, very few products actually helped my nails, and some even made them peel WORSE! Lately my nails have been better than they’ve ever been before, so I thought I’d share the few things I’ve found have helped me.


First, I’ll start with what didn’t work for me. Now in many cases, people have had great results with these products, so just because they didn’t work for me doesn’t mean they won’t work for you. However if you’ve tried a few of these and nothing helped, you might want to try the products I use.

First, what didn’t work:

Sally  Hansen Hard as Nails/Maximum Growth – both of these had the same effect on my nails as nail polish, which was to thin them out and cause them to peel.

Witchcraft Nail Hardener – Similar effect to the Sally Hansen products.

OPI Nail Envy – Regular and Sensitive and Peeling – Nail Envy has a lot of people that like it, but it wasn’t for me. The Sensitive and Peeling variety I was really disappointed with, since these are the problems I have. Neither of these products helped my nails in the least, unfortunately.

OPI Avoplex – This is a nail and cuticle oil. I don’t have any trouble with dry ragged cuticles, and didn’t feel like this had any lasting effect on my nails.

CND Solar Oil – This is a lot like the Avoplex, and had the same effect.

And now, for what did work…I am not being sponsored by any of these brands, and am just providing links because I really like the products:

Perfect Formula Pink Gel Coat – The discovery of this product has really changed my nails. There is something about this which seems to bond all the layers together. I put two coats of this on, and then every other day apply another coat. Once a week I remove it and give my nails a 24 hour break. Even with this stuff off, I can tell my nails are thicker, stronger and more bonded. Make sure to “wrap the tip” (take the polish over and under the free edge of the nail) the best you can.

Nailtiques Formula 2 – This does the exact same thing as the Pink Gel Coat. I got this while at Ulta in the USA and it seems it’s harder to find in Canada.

Healthy Hoof – This stuff makes my nails feel immediately strong and moisturized. I don’t know how it works, but it does! When I’m taking a break from the Pink Gel Coat, I make sure to apply this stuff several times a day. I also use it immediately after I’ve used nail polish remover, every time.

Silica Supplements – This was another great discovery. This stuff WORKS! You won’t see any results for about a month, but these have made my nails grow faster and stronger, with less peeling. They don’t carry them everywhere (I believe I get mine at Superstore in Canada) but they are worth seeking out. And I find brand DOES matter – Jamieson is good but I’ve tried some brands that did absolutely nothing.

Glass Nail File – A typical file can sometimes tear the edges of my nails, whereas a glass one seems to smooth and seal the tips. I test nails for any rough spots by rubbing them on soft fabric – any spots that catch get filed until smooth.


And now, some things I’m on the fence about:

Biotin Supplements – I think I hear more buzz about these than I have heard about silica. I tried them once but didn’t notice a difference. I’m sure however that brand matters, like it does with the silica, so I think it’s worth me giving them another shot.

Acetone Free Polish Remover – I can’t say this really dries my nails out less than the acetone remover. This uses alcohol instead of acetone, which can also be very drying – and leaves my nails feeling like they’re turning inside out, and running for my Healthy Hoof!

They say water is the enemy of your nails, so always wear rubber gloves when cleaning! I hope these tips can help some of you. Let me know in the comments what you’ve found to help with peeling nails!