I wish I could say that I was born with naturally long, healthy nails, but alas – I very much was not. For most of my childhood, I was a chronic nail-biter. In fact, it wasn’t until my teen years that I was able to finally kick the habit – and funnily enough, it was my early love of beauty that finally worked when nothing else hadn’t. (Long story short: I wanted to be able to get manicures and not be embarrassed at my stubby, bitten-up nails.)
All of that brings me to today. When I first saw “nail slugging” trending on TikTok, my first thought was, Hold up — I’ve seen this before. While the youths are slathering their nails with Aquaphor and Vaseline, I’ve been loyal to a lesser-known nail cream that’s Amazon-famous: Hard As Hoof Nail Strengthening Cream. As the hilarious name suggests, the idea behind the salve is to bestow strong, resilient nails that rival those of our equine friends.
With ingredients like jojoba seed oil, beeswax (FYI — this means it’s not vegan), and vitamins A, C, D, and E, Hard As Hoof promises to moisturize cuticles and strengthen and condition nails. Oh, and did I mention that it’s less than $10? And listen, I’m a fan of fancy cuticle oils. However, Hard As Hoof has become one of my favorite nail care products because the stuff works. Even though I no longer snack on my nails, my tips are prone to splitting, cracking, and breaking. Unless I get a gel manicure (which is rare), I rarely grow them past a medium oval shape.
I have a soft spot for an Amazon cheap beauty thrill, and Hard As Hoof is definitely that. The one-ounce jar includes a decent amount of product, and you don’t need much to treat each fingernail. If I don’t have polish on, I try to apply it nightly as an intensive treatment. It smells like a piña colada (which might be polarizing if you don't like gourmand scents), and even though the texture is rich and buttery, it absorbs pretty quickly. My nails just drink it up.
With over 58,800 reviews, Hard As Hoof is far from a sleeper hit: “I have absolutely never been able to grow my own natural nails,” shares one Amazon customer. “I was a biter for about 28 years then I went to at-home gels, then I went to acrylics, and then I went to press-ons. I did this because even though I stopped biting, I absolutely could not rock natural nails without them being painfully short, paper thin, and constantly ripping and tearing along the sides. This is the first thing that I’ve ever used that helped my nails get strong enough to stop tearing.” Other reviews mentioned that it’s also helpful for those experiencing menopause or dry nails due to weather changes or increased hand washing.
"Noticeable difference within a day or two. 10/10."
As for me? When I'm consistently using it (consistency is the key), I really do notice a significant difference in the health and appearance of my bare nails. However, even if you apply it every few days — or whenever you remember — it does offer an immediate benefit in the form of hydrated cuticles and a soft sheen to the nail surface. With any luck, I'll be living my truth in elongated almond tips by Thanksgiving...
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