A close-up shot showcasing a hand holding a bottle of OPI Nail Strengthener, capturing the product's label and a well-manicured fingernail painted with the strengthener.

How To Use Opi Nail Strengthener For Strong, Healthy Nails

If you struggle with weak, brittle nails that split and peel, an OPI nail strengthener can help transform your nails into strong, healthy ones. With the right application technique and consistency, OPI nail strengtheners can work wonders.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Apply a thin layer of OPI Nail Envy nail strengthener to clean, bare nails every other day for 2-4 weeks. Then use it once or twice a week for maintenance. Make sure to cap the tips and avoid the cuticle area.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about using OPI Nail Envy or OPI Natural Nail Strengthener. You’ll learn tips on proper application, how long it takes to work, how often to apply it, and what ingredients make OPI strengtheners so effective for fortifying weak nails.

Choose the Right OPI Strengthener for Your Needs

OPI Nail Envy Original vs. Natural Nail Strengthener

When it comes to choosing between OPI’s two main strengtheners, it often comes down to personal preference. The OPI Nail Envy Original formula contains hydrolyzed wheat protein and calcium pantothenate to strengthen nails. It has a high-shine gloss finish and the formula is designed to help nails grow quickly and strongly while preventing cracks, peels and breakage.

Some people avoid wheat-derived ingredients, in which case the OPI Natural Nail Strengthener uses plant-derived proteins instead for a vegan formula. It contains 20 amino acids from wheat and soy proteins to deliver similar strengthening benefits.

Both OPI strengtheners rank among the most popular for helping improve nail health.

Key Ingredients That Repair Nails

Many of the key ingredients in OPI strengtheners promote nail growth and resilience by adding nutrients and proteins that get incorporated into the nail plate as it grows out from the matrix. For example, hydrolyzed wheat and soy proteins provide amino acids that boost keratin levels, which help strengthen nail structure.

Calcium pantothenate is a B vitamin that aids in forming keratin while biotin, also called vitamin B7, helps stimulate growth. Additional ingredients like honey and silk extracts supply nutrients to condition nails and make them stronger.

Using an OPI strengthener helps rebuild and reinforce the nail matrix to grow healthier looking nails that resist peeling and breakage.

Benefits of Using an OPI Strengthener

An OPI nail strengthener offers several advantages for getting your nails into better shape. The enriched formulas help in the following ways:

  • Stimulate quicker nail growth
  • Prevent cracking and peeling
  • Reduce breakage
  • Condition and reinforce nails
  • Add shine and luster

With consistent use over time, usually a few weeks, OPI nail strengtheners allow nails to grow out stronger and more flexible so they become less prone to damage. Most people notice positive effects in nail appearance and texture within a month.

For severely weak, peeling or brittle nails, using a targeted OPI strengthening treatment helps restore nail health from the base to the tip for dramatic improvements.

OPI Nail Envy Original OPI Natural Nail Strengthener
Contains hydrolyzed wheat protein Uses plant-based proteins
High-gloss shine finish Natural matte finish
Helps nails grow quickly Promotes strong nail growth

How to Apply OPI Nail Strengthener

Prep Your Nails

Before applying the OPI nail strengthener, start by properly preparing your nails. First, remove any existing nail polish with a non-acetone nail polish remover. Acetone can be too harsh and dry out the nails. Gently file and shape your nails into your desired style using a nail file.

Then, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to remove any oil and debris from the nail surface. This helps the strengthener adhere better. Make sure nails are completely dry before moving onto the next step.

Apply a Thin Layer

When nails are prepped, apply a very thin layer of the OPI nail strengthener onto each nail using gentle, even strokes from the base of the nail to the tip. It’s important not to apply too much product at once, as nail experts recommend multiple thinner layers for best results.

Apply nail strengthener to all nails, avoiding the skin around the nails. Let the nails dry completely before adding another layer.

Let It Dry Completely

Allow adequate drying time between each layer for the best strengthening effects. The packaging often recommends letting the strengthener dry for at least 5 minutes between coats. Be patient and let each layer dry thoroughly before adding another. Applying too soon can cause bubbling or peeling.

An easy way to tell if your nails are ready for the next layer is if the strengthener feels dry to the touch.

Finish with Top Coat (Optional)

Some people choose to apply a regular nail polish top coat over the strengthener to help lock everything in place and add extra shine. This is an optional step, as the strengthener has its own built-in top coat.

If choosing to add regular top coat, apply only after the last layer of strengthener is 100% dry. The top coat will help seal the layers underneath to help the strengthener hold up longer.

Cap the Nail Tips

Be sure to gently brush the nail strengthener over the tips of the nails to “cap” them. Nail tips tend to be thinner and crack more easily, so capping helps protect them. Apply the strengthener onto the nail about 1 millimeter over the edge of the nail tip for maximum strengthening.

Capping the tips seals in layers and prevents early chipping and peeling back.

How Long It Takes to See Results

Intensive Use for First 2-4 Weeks

When you first start using an OPI nail strengthener, you should apply it to your nails every day for the first 2-4 weeks. This intensive use helps the strengthening ingredients, like calcium or formaldehyde, quickly penetrate and repair the layers of your nails.

During this initial period, you should see improvements in nail smoothness, shine, and strength. Many users report peeling and flaking decreasing, nails feeling stronger, and some growth of new, healthier nails starting to emerge.

Maintenance After

After the first 2-4 weeks of intensive daily use, you can decrease application to 2-3 times per week for maintenance. OPI recommends applying their Nail Envy nail strengthener every other day to keep nails strong and healthy.

With continued use, your nails should continue improving in strength, thickness, and growth. Many users see dramatic differences in their nail health, growth speed, and ability to grow their nails long without breakage after 8-12 weeks of consistent use.

Be Consistent and Patient

While OPI nail treatments deliver visible results quickly, remember that growing out healthy natural nails takes time. Nail growth happens slowly, only about 1/8″-1/4″ per month. Be patient and stick with the OPI system for 2-3 months to see the full benefits.

Consistency is key, so be diligent about applying the strengthener on schedule. Skip the acrylics and gel polish during treatment so the nutrients can fully absorb into natural nails. With commitment to the process, those weak, peeling, short or slow-growing nails can transform into strong, smooth, beautiful nails that grow fast and long!

How Often Should You Use OPI Strengthener?

For Weak, Damaged Nails

If your nails are very weak, brittle or damaged from excessive use of acrylics or gels, you should use an OPI Nail Envy strengthener daily for the first month. This intensive treatment helps rebuild the nail layers and restore strength.

Apply it once daily, preferably at bedtime so it can fully penetrate the nails overnight without being disturbed. After a month, you can reduce application to 2-3 times a week for maintenance.

For severely damaged nails, using an OPI strengthener too often can make them overly hard and inflexible. It’s best to give the nails a break from any lacquer 1-2 times a week if you are doing daily application. This prevents product buildup and allows the nails to “breathe”.

An occasional break also helps you monitor improvement.

For Maintenance After Improvement

Once your nails have regained strength and hardness, usually after 1-2 months of intensive treatment, you don’t need to use the strengthener as often. For maintenance:

  • Apply OPI Nail Envy 1-2 times a week to keep nails strong and resilient.
  • Always prep nails properly before applying by removing old lacquer and buffing for maximum adherence.
  • Pay attention to nail appearance and go back to more frequent use if you notice peeling, cracks or breakage recurring.

With regular OPI Nail Envy use, most people can sustain the nail improvement they achieve in the first intensive phase. But damaged nails require special care and vigilance lifelong. Don’t hesitate to return to daily strengthening if you experience recurring issues.

Tips for Getting the Best Results

Avoid Filing the Surface

When using an OPI nail strengthener, it’s important not to file or buff the nail surface. The strengthener works by bonding to the nail plate to make it harder and less prone to peeling and breakage. Filing or buffing will remove this protective layer before it has a chance to properly cure and adhere to the nail.

If you must file your nails, be very gentle and use a high grit file. Avoid filing back and forth, which can cause extra stress on the nails. Instead, file using gentle, downward strokes in one direction. And limit filing to once every 2-3 weeks for the best results.

Use Cuticle Oil

Using cuticle oil is another great way to improve the effectiveness of your OPI nail strengthener. The oil helps condition the nail plate and surrounding skin, preventing hangnails and dry cuticles which can snag and rip the nails.

Apply cuticle oil daily, massaging it into the nail bed and cuticles. This allows the oils to penetrate deeper, where they can work to soften the nail plate. Regular oiling leads to a noticeably improvement in nail flexibility and strength over time.

Try a Biotin Supplement

Biotin is an essential B vitamin that aids in keratin production, helping build hardness and thickness in the nail plate. Multiple clinical studies have found biotin supplements support stronger, healthier nail growth (source).

Take a biotin supplement of 2.5mg – 10mg per day to help reinforce and maximize the effects of your OPI strengthener. Just be aware that results may take 2-3 months due to the slow rate of nail growth.

Wear Rubber Gloves

Wearing rubber gloves when washing dishes or cleaning around the house is a simple way to further protect your nails. The gloves form a barrier against water and harsh cleaners, preventing excessive dryness and chemical exposure which weakens nails.

Choose a well-fitting, heavy duty glove that fully covers the nails and cuticles. Change gloves frequently if they become overly wet inside, as prolonged dampness can also be problematic.

Using rubber gloves along with an OPI strengthener offers a dual-pronged approach to reinforcing nails, creating a notably tougher protective layer.


Using an OPI nail strengthener consistently and properly can transform weak, brittle nails prone to splitting and peeling. With the right product choice and application techniques, you’ll notice an improvement in as little as a few weeks.

Be patient during the intensive use phase and stick to regular maintenance after that. Follow our tips for getting the most of your OPI nail strengthener. Your nails will look stronger and healthier than ever.

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