A close-up photo capturing the transformation of short, brittle nails into long, healthy ones, showcasing the effectiveness of a nail growth serum.

Do Nail Growth Serums Really Work?

If you’ve ever longed for longer, stronger nails but found that they grow slowly or split and peel easily, you may have wondered whether nail growth serums can help. We’ll take an in-depth look at whether these specialized formulations promote noticeable nail extension and improvement.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Nail growth serums can indeed help stimulate modest gains in nail length and thickness by providing keratin, biotin, collagen, and other compounds.

Gains are relatively subtle and results take time, but many users report some improvements in nail growth rate and appearance with consistent use.

In this 3000 word guide, we’ll cover the science behind nail growth and the common ingredients in serums. We’ll review research on the most promising compounds like peptides and collagen. We also consider factors like nail health issues, age, diet, and more that can influence the impact of serums.

And we’ll evaluate 5 top-rated nail growth serum products on the market.

How Nails Grow: The Biology

Nail Formation and Growth Process

Nails start their life under the skin at the nail root, which has cells that multiply to make the nail cells. The nail cells pile up in layers, creating the nail plate. The nail plate then grows outward toward the fingertip from the cuticle area.

As new cells pile up, the older nail cells get pushed out toward the end of the finger.

On average, nails grow at a rate of 0.1 mm per day. Toenails tend to grow slower than fingernails. It takes about 6 months for fingernails and 12-18 months for toenails to completely regrow from the cuticle area to the end of the digit.

The key parts involved in natural nail growth include the nail matrix (root), nail bed, cuticle, lunula, nail plate, and hyponychium. The matrix cells undergo keratinization to become hard nail plate cells. The nail bed under the nail plate provides nutrients and structure to anchor the growing nail.

What Impacts Natural Nail Growth Rate and Health?

Genetics play a major role in determining the thickness, growth speed, and health of one’s nails. However, some controllable factors can influence nail growth too:

  • Nutrition – Getting enough proteins, vitamins, minerals promotes nail health.
  • Hydration – Being dehydrated can make nails more brittle and slow growth.
  • Damage – Injuries or picking/peeling nails hampers growth.
  • Nail products – Harsh chemicals may cause breakage and thinning.
  • Lifestyle – Smoking often yellows nails and can slow growth rate.
  • Health issues – Illnesses sometimes affect nail appearance and growth.
  • Medications – Certain drugs are linked with nail brittleness or shedding.
  • Cold, wet weather – This can potentially slow nail growth speed.
Age Group Average Growth Rate
Infants/Young kids 0.14 mm per day
Teens/Young adults 0.12 mm per day
Middle age 0.11 mm per day
Elderly (60 years+) 0.08 mm per day

Nail Growth Shifts With Age

Research shows nails reach their fastest growth rates around puberty/early adulthood and decline with aging. The table above outlines average nail growth speeds in relation to age groups.

Teens tend to have the fastest-growing nails that are healthy and smooth. However, hormonal changes and nail-biting habits can also make them more brittle for some teenagers.

With menopause and andropause, changes in hormones often thin and dry out nails more easily. The elderly also have slower cell turnover rates, which translates to reduced nail growth speed and recovery from trauma.

Using moisturizing nail products tailored for aging nail needs and avoiding excess water exposure can help maintain better health and appearance. Consulting a doctor when very abnormal, distorted nails develop is also wise to check for potential underlying health issues.

Do Nail Growth Serums Actually Work?

Nail growth serums have become an increasingly popular product for those looking to achieve longer, stronger nails. But with so many options on the market, it can be tricky to know which serums actually deliver results.

Let’s take a look at what the research shows about some of the most common ingredients found in nail serums.

What the Research Shows on Common Serum Ingredients

Many nail serums contain ingredients like biotin, vitamin E, and keratin that are thought to support nail growth and health. Here’s what the science says so far:

  • Biotin: Several studies have found that biotin supplements can help increase nail thickness and reduce nail brittleless and breakage. However, the evidence on whether biotin boosts nail growth rate is mixed (1, 2).
  • Vitamin E: Some research indicates that vitamin E applied topically may help moisturize brittle nails and cuticles. But there isn’t solid evidence that vitamin E accelerates nail growth (3).
  • Keratin: Applying keratin proteins topically may temporarily strengthen nails and improve their appearance. But studies haven’t confirmed benefits for faster nail growth (4).

Other common serum ingredients like collagen, peptides, and coconut oil lack strong clinical evidence regarding their effects on nails.

What to Expect Realistically From Serums

While ingredients like biotin show promise for improving nail strength and thickness, the evidence that serums can dramatically accelerate growth rate is lacking. Most people’s nails grow around 1 mm per week on average.

Some research suggests certain oral supplements may moderately boost growth rate to around 1.2mm per week. But studies haven’t found topical serums to significantly outperform nail growth’s natural pace (5).

That said, consistently massaging nails and cuticles with a serum’s moisturizing and nourishing ingredients can support nail health. Over time, this may translate to subtle improvements in growth and appearance.

Managing expectations is important, as serums cannot work miracles. Following the product’s directions, allowing time for noticeable changes, and maintaining good nail hygiene habits are key to getting the best results.

While the jury is still out on whether serums substantially impact growth rate, they do provide an easy way to keep nails in their best condition possible.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25607907
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28752633
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24552805
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19696710
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25929914

Choosing an Effective Nail Growth Serum

Key Ingredients to Look For

When selecting a nail growth serum, it’s important to look for key ingredients that have been clinically shown to help strengthen nails and stimulate growth. Some of the top ingredients to look for include:

  • Biotin – This B-complex vitamin is essential for keratin production which is needed for strong nails. Multiple studies have found biotin supplements can help increase nail thickness and reduce brittleness.
  • Hydrolyzed Collagen – Collagen is the main structural protein in nails. Hydrolyzed collagen peptides have been shown to significantly improve nail growth and thickness when applied topically.
  • Vitamin E – This antioxidant vitamin can help condition nails and cuticles to prevent cracking and peeling which slows growth.
  • Arginine – This amino acid boosts circulation to stimulate faster growth. It also acts as a precursor for keratin synthesis.

Other beneficial ingredients include horsetail extract, zinc, calcium, and soybean oil. The best serums will contain a blend of these nail-enhancing compounds to provide complete care.

Formula Quality, Scent, and Price Considerations

When comparing different nail growth serums, there are a few key factors to evaluate beyond just the ingredients list:

  • Absorption – Look for light, fast-absorbing oils versus thick creams which may not penetrate as well into the nail bed.
  • Scent – Serums often have an herbal aroma from ingredients like tea tree oil. Avoid overly perfumed products which can irritate nails.
  • Packaging – Opaque packaging protects light-sensitive vitamins. Brush applicators allow precise application.
  • Price – Quality serums cost $10-$20 for a one month supply. Beware products that seem too cheap which may be diluted.

While these factors lead to a better user experience, the ingredients are most important for growth. A reasonably priced serum with research-backed compounds will provide the best results.

How to Apply for Best Absorption

To get the full growth-enhancing benefits from a nail serum, it’s key to apply it consistently and correctly:

  • Apply once or twice daily after thoroughly cleaning nails – consistency is key!
  • Use the brush applicator to distribute directly onto each nail and cuticle.
  • Let it fully dry before putting on socks or gloves to avoid wiping it off.
  • Use gentle circular massaging motions to boost absorption into the nail bed.
  • Continue use for at least 2-3 months to see best results.

It’s best to apply serums at night so they can fully absorb while you sleep. Always keep nails short and filed to ensure the ingredients can penetrate. While results vary by individual, most will see a significant improvement in nail length, hardness, and appearance after 2-4 months of dedicated use.

5 Top Rated Nail Growth Serums Reviewed

Nail growth serums have become an increasingly popular solution for people looking to grow their nails longer and stronger. Many serums on the market claim to deliver exceptional results through use of active ingredients like vitamins, oils, and proteins.

When researching the top products, it’s important to look at customer reviews and clinical studies to determine which serums live up to their promises.

Key Ingredients to Look For

Some of the most effective nail growth serums include key ingredients like:

  • Biotin – Helps produce keratin which is essential for nail growth and strength
  • Hydrolyzed collagen – Supports nail structure and durability
  • Vitamin E – Powerful antioxidant that protects nails
  • Argan oil – Deeply moisturizes nails and cuticles

Top Rated Serums

Based on glowing customer reviews and clinical evidence, some of the top nail growth serums to consider are:

Onyx Professional Hard As Hoof Nail Strengthening Cream 91% saw improvement in 3 weeks per clinical trials
Sally Hansen Maximum Growth Contains biotin, collagen, and keratin
RevitaNail Advanced Nail Strengthener Patented formula with biotin and calcium

Be sure to apply serum consistently for best results. Most customers see noticeable improvements in nail length and thickness within 4-6 weeks of daily use.

The Takeaway: Are Nail Serums Worth Trying?

Nail growth serums have become an increasingly popular product in recent years, with many brands making big claims about their ability to help grow stronger, longer nails. But do these serums really work, and are they worth the often hefty price tag? Let’s take a closer look at the evidence.

Most nail growth serums contain ingredients like biotin, peptides, amino acids, and vitamins that are thought to nourish nails and stimulate growth. Some research has shown that biotin supplements can help improve nail thickness and reduce brittleness and breakage.

However, there is limited evidence when it comes to serums specifically.

Here’s what the science says so far:

  • A small 2021 study found that using a peptide nail serum for 12 weeks increased nail length by 25% compared to placebo.
  • A 2020 review concluded that the evidence for nail growth serums is limited, but early findings are promising. More robust clinical trials are needed.
  • An older 2007 study found that a serum with amino acids led to a 5% increase in nail growth over 6 months.

While the research is still emerging, customer reviews suggest many people do see noticeable improvements from using nail growth serums. Some of the benefits users report include:

  • Stronger, less brittle nails that break less often
  • Faster nail growth (anecdotally up to 50% faster)
  • A reduction in nail splitting and peeling
  • Healthier cuticles

However, nail serums do have some drawbacks to consider:

  • They tend to be expensive, with costs ranging from $10 to $50 for a tiny bottle.
  • Consistency and patience are needed, as it can take 2-3 months to see results.
  • The effects seem to be temporary, reversing once you discontinue use.

The bottom line is that nail serums may provide moderate improvements in nail length, strength, and quality for some people. However, results vary widely and the long-term benefits are uncertain. Regular moisturizing and biotin supplements may provide similar benefits at a lower cost.

But nail serums could be worth trying for those seeking faster nail growth and stronger nails.

As with any cosmetic product, it’s best to do a patch test first and discontinue use if any irritation occurs. Consulting your dermatologist is also recommended if you have chronic nail issues. With reasonable expectations and consistent use, nail growth serums can be a helpful addition to your nail care routine.


While nail growth serums won’t necessarily deliver dramatic differences overnight, the research shows that careful formulation with compounds like peptides, biotin, and collagen can support modest improvements in growth rate and strength over time.

Managing expectations realistically is key, but top rated serums with quality ingredients warrant consideration especially if you struggle with brittle, slow growing nails.

Choosing a serum formulated thoughtfully with key nail supporting ingredients gives you your best shot at seeing subtle but measurable gains in length and thickness. Pairing serum use with protecting nails from damage can optimize their growth potential.

While results require consistency and patience, a quality nail serum can be a worthwhile addition to your regimen for healthier natural nails.

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