Brittle, broken or torn nails are often a big problem for many women, as well as men. But this vice can be remedied with a simple method: natural nail reinforcement.
In this article we would like to inform you about the most important points of natural nail reinforcement, clarify questions and show different methods. In the following you will get an overview of the essential aspects of natural nail reinforcement and how you can fight brittle nails!
the essentials in brief
- A natural nail reinforcement offers the possibility to strengthen your own nails with the help of UV gel, acrylic or fiberglass. Natural nails can thus be stabilized in their structure and shape.
- Basically, the method is suitable for anyone who wants to strengthen their natural nails and do without artificial nails. The natural nail reinforcement strengthens your own nails and gives them a well-groomed appearance.
- There are various alternatives to natural nail reinforcement. On the one hand, the use of special UV varnishes, nail hardeners or artificial nails is suitable.
Strengthening the natural nail: What you should know
In the following, we address the most important questions about natural nail reinforcement in order to give you a comprehensive and objective insight.
What is natural nail reinforcement?
With a natural nail reinforcement, your own natural nail is stabilized and strengthened. The natural nail is covered with a layer of UV gel, acrylic or fiberglass. The variant is freely selectable. The natural nail is not lengthened, but only strengthened in its structure and shape. This makes your own nails more robust and able to react more resistant to environmental influences. The coating and the resulting hardness prevent the nail from tearing or breaking off.
How does natural nail reinforcement work?
UV gel, acrylic or fiberglass can be used to strengthen natural nails. In each technique, the nail is covered with the selected product and thereby stabilized. When using the gel technique, the natural nail is coated with a UV gel, which then hardens under a UV lamp.
Natural nail reinforcement strengthens the nails and gives them a beautifully manicured look. (Image Source: Chelson Tamares / Unsplash)
If you use the acrylic method, you strengthen the nail with acrylic powder, which is liquefied with a liquid. The nail modellage then dries in the air. With the help of fiberglass technology, the nails are covered with so-called fiberglass strips. In this way, only partial areas of the nail can be repaired.
For whom is a natural nail reinforcement suitable?
A natural nail reinforcement is suitable for all those who suffer from cracked and broken nails and want to strengthen them. Brittle nails are usually caused by nail biting or vitamin and nutrient deficiencies . (7.8) These can be very annoying in everyday life and also don't look particularly attractive.
A torn nail can also damage the nail bed and cuticles. This can cause severe pain and, in the worst case, inflammation. So if you value well-groomed and healthy nails, but do not want to use artificial nails, you should consider natural nail reinforcement.
How long does a natural nail reinforcement last?
This point may differ depending on the product technology used and from person to person. As a rule, a natural nail reinforcement with gel or acrylic lasts about 2-3 weeks before it needs to be refreshed again. Reinforcement with fiberglass can even last 4-6 weeks.
The durability depends on the person.
On the one hand, the durability depends on the method and product technology used, but also on the everyday life of the respective person. The reinforcement lasts, for example in a job with little physical activity, probably longer than in everyday life in which the nails are more heavily loaded.
How often does a natural nail reinforcement have to be carried out?
A natural nail reinforcement should usually be refilled every 3-4 weeks so that it continues to fulfill its function and the nails look well-groomed. Depending on how fast the growth of the natural nail is, a nail filling (refill) should be done in between.
As the natural nail continues to grow under the layer, over time a gap will form between the nail bed and the reinforcing layer. For a beautiful look and stability of the nails, it is important to renew them regularly. However, how often a filling has to be done depends on the person, since natural nails grow at different speeds.
What do I need for natural nail reinforcement?
If you want to strengthen the natural nail yourself, you need a few materials and products that are part of the permanent equipment:
- UV gel (adhesion, construction and sealing)
- UV lamp
- Paint brush
- Cleaner, brush
- buffer, nail file
When used at home, UV gel is used almost exclusively, as this is the simplest method and is most suitable for beginners. The basis is the adhesive, building and sealing gel for the nail. You also need a so-called cleaner and a buffer with which the nail can be cleaned in advance. The buffer helps to roughen the nail so that the gel adheres better. Accumulating nail dust is removed with a brush or a dust brush. In addition, a brush is required with which the gel layer can be applied. There is also a UV lamp to dry the gel.
Last but not least, nail files are used to shape the nail into the desired shape. If desired, a colored UV varnish can also be used to create a nail design. The equipment for natural nail reinforcement at home is often available as a practical (beginner's) set.
How are natural nails strengthened?
In the following we will go into more detail about the individual steps that are carried out in natural nail reinforcement.
|Preparation / cleaning||Cleaner, buffer, nail file|
|Gel application (multiple passes)||UV gel, brush, UV lamp|
|nail design||Cleaner, buffer, nail file|
|sealing||UV gel, UV lamp, brush|
|Care||Cleaner, brush, lotion|
First, the nails must be prepared for treatment. That means the hands are washed and disinfected. The natural nails are cleaned and shaped beforehand with the help of a nail file. The nails are then cleaned with a cleaner and roughened with a buffer so that the gel later gets a good hold. The adhesive gel is then applied with a brush and cured under a UV lamp.
The next step is to apply the build-up gel, which also has to dry again under the UV lamp. This step is repeated a second time to ensure nail strength. The second layer can be applied a little thicker than the first. Once the nails have hardened under the lamp, the so-called sweat layer is removed with the help of the cleaner on a cotton pad. The nails are then roughened again with the buffer and filed so that the gel layer on the nails is not too thick and a natural look is created.
The resulting nail dust can be removed with a brush or brush. Finally, the sealing gel is applied to the nail with a brush, which has to harden completely in the UV lamp. As a result, the nail is cleaned again with the Cleanser and the hand is creamed with lotion or care oil so that it does not dry out.
How is a natural nail reinforcement removed?
If reinforcement is no longer desired, it can be removed relatively easily. In most cases, the reinforcement is filed away from the nail. Here it is advantageous if the gel layer is not applied too thickly and a high-quality file is used. The natural nail must not be damaged when removing the gel layer and there should be no pain. It is definitely advisable to work with electric nail files for the removal, since working with conventional files is difficult or would take a very long time.
Electric nail files are usually used to remove natural nail reinforcements. (Image source: Linda Sondergaard / Unsplash)
When the first coarse layer of gel has been removed, work can be continued manually with a file or a buffer. You should work with little pressure so as not to damage the natural nail. Afterwards you can care for the nail with a nail oil. After removal, the nails can usually feel soft and a bit thin, here sufficient care is important for a faster recovery of the nail.
What methods are there for natural nail reinforcement?
There are three methods for natural nail reinforcement:
- UV gel
But how do the methods differ in detail? We will go into more detail on this. Here is a rough summary:
|UV gel||UV gel seal||2-3 weeks|
|Acrylic||acrylic powder||2-3 weeks|
|fiberglass||fiberglass fibers||4-6 weeks|
When reinforced with UV gel, the natural nail is stabilized and strengthened by the gel. The UV gel hardens under a UV lamp and guarantees a natural look when applied professionally. UV gel reinforcement is the most common and most used method. With a little practice, it can also be used at home. After 2-3 weeks you should fill up the gel layer so that the stability of the nail and the beautiful look are maintained. You can also create a nail design with colored varnishes etc. if you wish.
In the acrylic technique, an acrylic powder is used, which is mixed with a liquid to form a modeling compound. In contrast to the UV gel, the acrylic mass dries in the air. The application is almost identical to the gel method. The nails are then filed, shaped and painted as required. Here, too, the nails usually have to be refilled after 2-3 weeks. With a little practice and the necessary products, the acrylic technique can also be used at home.
The fiberglass method is the most complex method of natural nail reinforcement. To stabilize the nail, glass fibers are used, which are applied to the nail with a special adhesive. This technique can be used to repair individual cracks or fractures in the nails. Of course, the entire nail can also be reinforced with fiberglass, but the system is very time-consuming and expensive. The fiberglass technique is rather unsuitable for home use, since special materials are used and the job should be done professionally. One advantage is that fiberglass nails usually only have to be replaced after 4-6 weeks, so they last longer.
What alternatives are there to natural nail reinforcement?
For well-groomed and healthy nails, there are some alternatives to natural nail reinforcement that can also be considered. We have listed below what these are and how they work in detail:
- UV varnish
- Stabilizing nail polish
- Fake Nails
Shellac is a special mixture of gel and nail polish, which is visually indistinguishable from conventional nail polish. As with gel reinforcement, the varnish is applied in several layers and dried under a UV lamp. However, the nail does not have to be roughened before application, which is an advantage over working with gel.
Shellac offers the possibility of a permanent manicure with a durability of approx. 3 weeks. The nail polish should react stably to environmental influences, be scratch-resistant and not flake off. In addition, it is applied in thinner layers, which is why it can hardly be distinguished visually from conventional varnishes and offers a natural result.
However, removing Shellac is not as gentle as applying it. The paint is either loosened with cotton pads soaked in acetone and allowed to take effect for around 10 minutes, or removed with an electric file. If you want to keep your manicure longer, Shellac is an option. In addition, the varnish can indirectly ensure a certain stability of the nail through the application in several layers and its impact resistance.
Like conventional nail polish, UV varnish is applied in several layers. The procedure is similar to applying UV gel, but is a little more time-saving. The structure of the varnish is similar to that of a conventional nail varnish, but it is much more robust and stable. After curing under the UV lamp, the nail not only has a well-groomed appearance and a beautiful shine, but also more strength and stability. The manicure with UV varnish lasts about 3 weeks, this is to avoid chipping or tearing of the nail.
UV varnish stabilizes the nail.
The natural nail naturally continues to grow under the varnish layer, which is why a gap appears between the varnish layer and the nail bed after the specified period. In order to continue enjoying the benefits of UV varnish, it would now be time for a new manicure.
The varnish is removed either with a special agent or with cotton pads soaked in acetone. Here the remover should take effect for about 10 minutes. As with most methods, the removal is not really gentle on the nail. However, UV polish offers a good option for well-groomed and strong nails as it is easy to apply and remove.
Stabilizing nail polish
Stabilizing nail polish can be used to create a beautiful design on the nails and to strengthen them at the same time. In its form and application, it does not differ from other nail polishes. However, the varnish should not only ensure a well-groomed appearance, but also strengthen the natural nail. The stabilizing varnish, also known as nail hardener, contains special substances that are intended to strengthen the structure of the nail. The nail polish covers the nail like a protective layer, seals it and strengthens it.(9)
Stabilizing varnishes are another way to strengthen the nail and create a beautiful design. (Image Source: BENCE BOROS / Unsplash)
The polish is used like other nail polishes. Applying in several layers can increase the strength of the nail. If the manicure is chipped or you no longer like it, the nail hardener can be removed with a simple nail polish remover. In order to ensure permanent strength of the nail, the varnish should be applied every 3-4 weeks. Stabilizing varnish offers a cost-effective, time-saving and less expensive method of strengthening natural nails. However, the long durability of the manicure is not really given here.
When using artificial nails, you can either use modeling in a nail studio or nails to stick on. Artificial nails lengthen and strengthen the natural nail. You can also design the nail individually and have a lot of creative freedom in terms of shapes and colors. A so-called nail tip is glued to the natural nail and then sealed in several layers with a UV gel. The durability of gel nails is about 2-3 weeks, but this depends on the nail growth and the person's everyday life.
Nail tips lengthen the fingernail.
If the gap between the nail tip and the nail bed is too large, the gel nails should be filled in to maintain the beautiful look and stability of the nail. If you want to remove the artificial nails, they have to be removed with an electric file and ground down. This process should be done in the nail salon and is not really gentle on the natural nail.
The disadvantage of artificial nails is that they can break off and tear if they are too long, which can be very painful and lead to injuries to the natural nail. In addition, artificial nails can provide a breeding ground for bacteria if air pockets form between the natural nail and the tip during modeling. If oxygen gets into these, it can lead to nail fungus in the worst case. (1,2,9,10)
Artificial nails are a good option to lengthen and stabilize the natural nail and create a beautiful design. However, the modeling can be expensive and time-consuming in the long run, since professional work is required for a good result. If the nails are not renewed regularly, are too long, etc., injuries to the nail and nail bed can occur, which counteract the goal of a stable nail. So caution is advised here.
The supplementation of food supplements or vitamins can also contribute to strengthening the fingernails. Brittle and cracked nails are often the result of an unbalanced diet or a lack of nutrients. Here it can be helpful to analyze your own diet more closely or to speak to a doctor.
Taking zinc , iron or vitamin A can help strengthen the nails and provide more stability. (5,6,7,8) A visible result will only appear after a long time, but do it you do something good for your body and your nails at the same time!
As a conclusion of the article, it can be summarized that natural nail reinforcement is suitable for all those who suffer from cracked and brittle nails. Because especially in everyday things, broken nails can develop into a strong disruptive factor. Anyone who would like to strengthen their natural nails and maintain a well-groomed appearance could consider natural nail reinforcement.
There are numerous methods, techniques and solutions on the market for a beautifully manicured nail. Here you should decide according to your individual needs and choose what suits you and your everyday life best. Natural nail reinforcement could be an option of it.
- onychomicosis Prof. Dr. D. Abeck Munich, Prof. Dr. J. Brasch Kiel, Priv.-Doz. dr O. Cornely, Cologne, Prof. Dr. I Effendy, Bielefeld, Univ.-Prof. dr G. Ginter-Hanselmayer, Graz, Dr. N. Haake Essen, Dr. G Hamm Halle/Saale, Dr. Ch. Hippler, Jena, Prof. Dr. H. Hof, Mannheim, Prof. Dr. HC Korting Munich, Prof. dr P. Mayser, Gießen, Prof. Dr. M. Ruhnke, Berlin, Dr. K.-H. Slag Bremerhaven, Prof. Dr. C Seebacher, Dresden, Prof. Dr. H.-J. Tietz Berlin, 1997, AWMF Online Source
- Robert Koch Institute: Frequently asked questions about artificial fingernails in the healthcare sector, January 4th, 2018 Source
- Health Center: Healthy fingernails our tips, Carina Rehberg, March 20th, 2021 Source
- Dermatology practice Dr. Uwe Kirschner: What to do with brittle nails?, Dr. Uwe Kirschner, 2018 Source
- Ananda S Prasad Discovery of Human Zinc Deficiency: Its Impact on Human Health and Disease. Adv Nutr. 2013 Mar; 4(2): 176-190. Source
- National Institutes of Health. Zinc: Fact Sheets for Health Professionals. Source
- Vitamins and minerals: their role in nail health and disease, Noah Scheinfeld, Maurice J Dahdah, Richard Scher, 2007 Aug;6(8):782-7 Source
- Nutrition and nail disease, Michael W Cashman , Steven Brett Sloan, Jul-Aug 2010;28(4):420-5. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol. 2010.03.037. Source
- Cosmetic Nail products, R Baran , S Goettmann , J André, 2016 May;143(5):389-96. doi: 10.1016/j.annder.2016.01.005. Epub 2016 Mar 14. Source
- Nail cosmetics: a dermatological perspective, N Dinani, S George, 2019 Aug;44(6):599-605. doi: 10.1111/ced.13929. Epub 2019 Feb 21. Source