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September 3, 2021 — 16:04 PM
White tips with a smooth, flesh-toned nail plate, nary a spot, ridge, or fray in sight—a strong, healthy nail is always on-trend. It sure sounds sublime, but, alas, the road to optimal nail health is quite the winding one.
Experts would agree: "Your nails are made of proteins and naturally need a lot of vitamins," Amy Lin, the founder of sundays, once told us about how to strengthen nails. (Specifically, they consist of keratin.) So while you can massage in a cuticle oil (as you should!) or commit to monthly maintenance, sometimes the best method for shiny, smooth nails is to go internal.
That's where we come in: Below, find the best vitamins for nails—including common ingredients to look for, as well as a curated list of supplements to choose from.* You know, in case you find yourself browsing the vitamins aisle.
- Best overall: beauty gut collagen+ , mindbodygreen
- Best gummy: balanced beauty , TULA Skincare
- Best powder with marine collagen: holi(mane) , Agent Nateur
- Best capsule: Hair, Skin Nails Veg Capsules , NOW Foods
- Best for hair: Plant Based Hair Capsules , Act+Acre
- Best MSM: MSM Bio-Plus , OSKIA London
- Best for skin: Hair/Skin/Nails Ultra 60's , Pure Encapsulations
- Best HSN multivitamin: Hair Vitamins , Codeage
- Best budget: Killer Nails , HUM
- Best vegan collagen support: Collagen Precursor , Zuma Nutrition
- Best organic: mykind Organics Organic Plant Collagen Builder , Garden of Life
- Best on-the-go: Collagen Powder Packets , Youtheory
- Best prenatal with omega-3's: Prenatal Multivitamin + 200 mg DHA Softgels , Nature Made
- Best keratin: Keratin Hair Supplement , NAOMI
What ingredients to look for.
Before we dive into the list, let's highlight a few star players for strong, healthy nails.*
Ah, the beloved B vitamin (vitamin B7, to be exact). Biotin has been shown to support the thickness and firmness of nails in several human studies.* One moderate-size human study found that those who took biotin supplements had 25% thicker nail beds than the placebo group.* Your body cannot create its own levels of biotin, so it must be obtained through what you ingest (i.e., food or supplements) daily, and it's often paired with collagen to further support the skin and hair benefits.*
Collagen supplements contain hydrolyzed collagen peptides, which are short chains of amino acids. These amino acids are the building blocks for your nails—so if you provide your body with those nutrients, it will be better equipped to grow healthy, strong nails.* One study even found that when individuals took collagen daily for 24 weeks, it helped support their nail health, including better growth rates, reduced breakage, and improved appearance.*
Again, your nails are structurally made of keratin—and while you can get your fill of keratin-building amino acids, you can also find supplements that contain soluble forms of keratin itself. In a way, it takes the middleman out of the equation—although, many options will still include keratin-building ingredients, like biotin and collagen, just to encourage your body's natural source of the protein.*
Fatty acids help maintain your skin barrier, sealing in moisture and keeping your skin supple and smooth—to that end, they also can help lubricate your nails.*
Finally, you have nail-strengthening antioxidants. Vitamin C is a popular one in nail supplements, as the antioxidant is essential in collagen synthesis.* Vitamin E is another one to note, as research shows it can help support a healthy, fresh nail color.* You can also find botanical antioxidants (like horsetail or fruit extracts) to protect the collagen you have from oxidative stress.*
Best vitamin supplements for nails.
If you're looking for specific supplements to add to your routine, peruse the below. Each high-quality blend is formulated to target your hair, skin, and nail health.*
Our collagen powder targets nail (and skin and hair) health from multiple angles: There's 17.7 grams of pasture-raised, grass-fed bovine collagen peptides (delivering types I and III collagen); vitamins C and E for enhanced collagen production and antioxidant support; hyaluronic acid for hydration; biotin to strengthen nails; and the protein building block L-glutamine. Plus, you can trust that each ingredient is rooted in science, and the excipients (aka, the "other" ingredients on the label) are clean and of the highest quality. A star supplement, we'd say.*
beauty gut collagen +, mindbodygreen ($59)
This tasty gummy features biotin, vitamin C, and folic acid for strong nails, as well as pre- and probiotics to support gut health (a welcome added benefit, don't you think?). As you chew on the candy-like gummy (serving size equals two gummies), take note of the tart flavor—it's all thanks to a berry antioxidant blend of cranberry, raspberry, cherry, strawberry, blueberry, and elderberry extracts.*
balanced beauty , TULA Skincare ($30)
TULA Skin Care
Best powder with marine collagen
While bovine collagen peptides tend to be the most researched and potent, marine collagen is a great option for those who follow a pescatarian diet. The other main ingredient is the brand's signature crushed pearl powder (come on, that just sounds luxurious), which is chock-full of minerals like calcium.*
holi(mane) , Agent Nateur ($92)
These capsules contain Cynatine®, a clinically tested and bioavailable form of solubilized keratin, to help strengthen your hair and nails. Other star players in this multi-ingredient formula include biotin, MSM, hyaluronic acid, vitamins C and E, and horsetail extract (to name a few)—which research shows can help enhance nail health.*
Hair, Skin Nails Veg Capsules , NOW Foods ($29.99)
Best for hair
A hair care brand through and through, Act+Acre's vegan capsules are actually pretty stellar for nails: It contains biotin, as well as vitamin C, MSM, and amino acids to support your body's natural collagen production; it also features horsetail extract—which, as we mentioned, have some research-backed benefits specifically for your digits.*
Plant Based Hair Capsules , Act+Acre ($50)
MSM is a naturally occurring organic sulfur compound, and research shows supplementing with the ingredient is associated with improvements in the condition of the hair and nails. (The theory is that it can help form keratin bonds, which are the building blocks for hair and nails.) This MSM is combined with black pepper extract for improved bioavailability.*
MSM Bio-Plus , OSKIA London ($75.13)
Best for skin
The thing is, any supplement with biotin and hydrolyzed collagen can support your nails and skin, as these ingredients have also been shown to support skin elasticity and hydration. However, these capsules take your glow a step further by offering other good-for-skin bioactives, like an array of vitamins and minerals, CoQ10, hyaluronic acid, and chondroitin. While we still recommend a powder form if you are going to ingest a meaningful dose of collagen, this option is a great fit if you love the ease of a capsule.*
Hair/Skin/Nails Ultra 60's , Pure Encapsulations ($40.20)
Best HSN multivitamin
HSN stands for "hair, skin, and nails" (in case you didn't know), and thanks to biotin, keratin, collagen (specifically wild-caught marine collagen), omega-3s, and a trove of minerals and antioxidants, this multivitamin is exceptionally beauty-centric. The capsule form makes supplementing a breeze—we should note, though, that powders are able to deliver the most potent amount of collagen.*
Hair Vitamins , Codeage ($39.99)
This vegan supplement is simple, effective, and to the point: There's only one ingredient, a high-potency biotin (5,000 mcg, to be exact), with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
Killer Nails , HUM ($20)
Best vegan collagen support
We've said it before, and we'll say it again: There is no such thing as vegan collagen. There are vegan ingredients that support collagen health—like vitamins C and E for collagen synthesis or botanical antioxidants to protect the collagen you have from oxidative damage—but the actual collagen itself cannot be sourced from plants. That said, this supplement contains ingredients to bolster your body's natural production of collagen, like vitamin C, as well as a B complex and key amino acids. We should note that each packet contains eight capsules—something to keep in mind in case you're looking for single-capsule doses.*
Collagen Precursor , Zuma Nutrition ($99.95)
These USDA-certified organic tablets contain 2,500 mcg of biotin, along with antioxidants from pomegranate, turmeric, amla (a berry that is rich in vitamin C), and green and rooibos teas. It's marketed as a collagen builder, so know that while there are no collagen peptides inside the formula, the ingredients are meant to support and protect your body's natural source.*
mykind Organics Organic Plant Collagen Builder , Garden of Life ($34.99)
Garden of Life
A trifecta of hydrolyzed collagen, biotin, and vitamin C, these powder packets are great for strengthening nails on the go. And if you're not a fan of unflavored collagen (some report a less than stellar aftertaste), know that this formula contains natural vanilla flavor for a smooth, creamy experience. Of course, we'd be remiss not to point out the single-use packaging—not the most environmentally friendly option but helpful for travel.*
Collagen Powder Packets , Youtheory ($21.99)
Best prenatal with omega-3s
To support a smooth, moisturized nail plate, look for a supplement with fatty acids—specifically, these softgels contain DHA and EPA, along with biotin, calcium, and vitamins C and E to strengthen and hydrate the nails, along with other essential prenatal micronutrients like iron, vitamin D3, and much more.*
Prenatal Multivitamin + 200 mg DHA Softgels , Nature Made ($15.35)
Soluble keratin is the star ingredient here (500 mg!), but the formula is enhanced with biotin and resveratrol (a potent polyphenol) to support and protect healthy nail beds. Not only are you replenishing your body's keratin with this supplement, but it also helps encourage your body's natural production of the protein—so this is a formula with multiple avenues for nail health.*
Keratin Hair Supplement , NAOMI ($34.99)
Two of the most popular (and widely studied) vitamins for nails are biotin and collagen, but plenty of supplements include other antioxidants and bioactives to support nail health from all angles. With these 14 options, you and your nails (and your skin and hair, while we're at it) are covered.*
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.