What Can I Use for Strong Nails Besides Acrylic?

Acrylic alternatives can help strengthen weak nails.

Photo: Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

A delightful manicure helps drive up the diva factor of your hands and nails. Artificial nails can provide an attractive alternative for naughty nails that fail to grow on their own. Acrylic nails are one of the most common forms of artificial nails. Other types of artificial nails also serve to create durable structures that can help bump up the beauty of your hands.

Savvy Silk

Some types of artificial nails use silk fabric to increase the strength and durability of your underlying nails. Unlike acrylic nail tips, this type of nail strengthener won't allow you to extend the length of your nails. Instead, silk wraps allow your own nails to grow longer by protecting them from splits, cracks and chips. This method requires cutting the silk to fit your nails, wrapping the edges under the tips of your natural nails, then applying a liquid product that helps the fabric bond to your nail. The fabric overlay may last for several weeks, but usually requires partial or complete replacement during regular manicures.

Fabulous Fiberglass

Fiberglass wraps work in a manner similar to silk wraps. This type of fabric forms a strong, flexible shield over your natural nails. Depending on the thickness of the fiberglass fabric, this type of nail strengthener provides a protective finish while allowing your nails to look natural and acrylic-free.

Jazzy Gels

Gels are nail substances that resemble polishes. While some nail gels come in trendy colors, most are clear, allowing your natural nail bed to show through the protective coating. Gels come in a range of materials, including acrylic. If you have an allergy to acrylic, purchase an acrylic-free formula. Some gels dry naturally, while others require a special light to cure the liquid substance.

Perfecting Polish

Although polishes generally only last as long as a single manicure, certain ones can help strengthen your nails, providing an inexpensive alternative to acrylic nails. Look for strengthening top and bottom coats, as well as strengthening color coats. Regular manicures that include a coat of durable base, two coats of chip-resistant color and an application of a protective topcoat can help increase the strength of your fragile nails.

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