Having chronically weak nails, I’m always on the lookout for products to prevent breakages, so when this was recommended to me recently, I was quick to try it out!


A recent post by the lovely Heulwen at Rays of Heulwen drew the comparison between Sally Hansen Miracle Cure (my long-standing go-to nail hardener) and this stuff, so when the Essie version was hailed as being superior, it got my attention. I’ve taken quite a shine to Essie polishes recently, and while I find them priced a little high (they’re around €11 here in Ireland), there are certain things I’m prepared to splash out on when it comes to polish. One is a good black polish (black is my bread-and-butter polish colour– always has been and apparently always will be), and the other is a hardening product.

I don’t think I can over-estimate just how crap my nails are when left to their own devices. According to my grandmother, you could only have good hair or good nails, but never both. I’ve met plenty of people who seemed to disprove this rule, but it’s certainly true in my case: my hair is thick, shiny, and happy to grow to great lengths, but my nails… They’re weedy, brittle things which peel and snap at the slightest provocation, despite eating what I think is a fairly decent diet. I even tried a course of those vitamin tablets that are supposed to beef them up once, but all that happened was I got a face full of spots for my trouble. This is unfortunate for me, since I love long nails, and nailpolish, but in addition to having naturally weak nails, I’m also a fidgeter and a tapper, and I’m almost never off the computer, so my nails are in constant contact with a keyboard for a good chunk of the day.

I’m telling you all this to make the point that when it comes to nail hardeners, I’m a tough customer. My nails are useless by nature, and I put them through hell on a daily basis. In order to keep them from breaking, a product has to be pretty damn good… Which this undoubtedly is. What I’m not so sure of is whether or not it’s better than my previous product.

I rarely had breakages with the Sally Hansen,–not unless I really slammed my hand into something (I’m clumsy as hell, so this is not as irregular an occurrence as you might imagine). I had three breakages with this, and although they were minor and the impact had been pretty serious (it involved a fridge door; we shan’t speak of it), I don’t feel this protected me any better than the Sally Hansen product did. It did stop the nails from breaking badly, though, so clearly the chemistry of this formulation isn’t too shabby. (Yes, that pun was both lame and intentional.)

The thing which really bothered me about this product, though, wasn’t so much its performance as what I read on the back of the box in the shop when I was trying to decide which one to buy.  “For added strength follow Millionails with Grow Stronger base coat”, it says. I really don’t like the idea of having to use two products for the one job– shouldn’t two coats of this one be sufficient, instead? I don’t want to have to purchase two different bottles, and I feel it’s silly to suggest I should.

My biggest gripe with the Sally Hansen product is that the polish gets thick and gummy very quickly. I find I rarely use one bottle fully, having to bin and replace at about the halfway point since it’s just so thick it’s too difficult to apply after that point. This does not happen with the Essie version– it’s a far more liquid solution, which I find a lot easier to apply. Having to use two bottles, though, would mean each bottle lasts twice as long, and that increases the likelihood of the product thickening due to air exposure. The thinner formula is actually (in my opinion) the big plus for this product, so having to use two different bottles would cancel this out.

Consequently, I only bought the one, and perhaps that’s why I didn’t find it as “protective” as I might have liked. What I did like was how thin the polish was, and how quickly it dried. I’ve said before how much I like the brush with Essie polishes, and it goes double here– with a clear polish, I am lazy, and this brush is perfect for hit-and-miss application where you don’t care if you get some on your cuticles or fingers. It has absolutely no smell, and gives a lovely, mildly-shiny finish. I’ve applied this more or less every day since I’ve got it (when not wearing coloured polish, I tend to re-apply a new layer of clear protection every day, sometimes being lazy and slapping it on over the pre-existing coat) and there is as yet no sign of gumming or thickening.

There’s a lot to like about this polish, but I’m not sure it is the best polish out there for giving you hard-as-steel nails. I feel like there has to be something which combines the benefits of this (thin, quick-drying, beautiful applicator) with the Sally Hansen (super-tough nails) for some kind of ultimate, holy-grail strengthener which is easy to apply, doesn’t need replacing when there’s still half a bottle left, and makes your nails as hard as– Well, hard as nails, basically.

Have you tried Essie Millionails? Are you a Sally Hansen devotee? Do you think I just need to use another couple of coats of this stuff to get the unbreakable finish I was looking for? Drop me a line and let me know!



  1. Posted February 10, 2015 at 20:37 | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks so much for featuring my blog post on your blog! I really enjoyed reading this, and glad you feel as passionate about the Sally Hansen/Essie debate! Shame it didn’t work as well for you 😦 Next on my hit list is OPI Nail Envy (it is a bit dearer than the Essie, so definitely an investment!) so maybe that one will work better for you? Keep searching though, one day we’ll both achieve lovely strong nails! x

    • Posted February 10, 2015 at 20:50 | Permalink | Reply

      Well, I did get the rec from you so I always like to point that out. ❤

      I'm still using it (and it's still lovely and thin) so it's not a *bad* buy so much as I was expecting too much, possibly? I agree with you about it being able to prevent them from bending, but I'm not sure that's wholly a good thing, because if the force is too great and it can't bend, it just snaps.

      I think maybe the real problem here is that I have Bella Swan levels of clumsiness, haha. If I wouldn't keep smacking them into things, I wouldn't be having these problems!

  2. Posted February 11, 2015 at 10:55 | Permalink | Reply

    I recently got the Salley Hansen one! My nails are really terrible, they always crack – super annoying! So I have high hopes for them to be better after I get around to using the strengthener.

    • Posted February 11, 2015 at 11:00 | Permalink | Reply

      The strengthener should definitely make a big difference to the cracking problem! You might find the SH formula thickens after a while, which is very irritating on application, but in terms of effectiveness, I really do rate that SH one quite highly.

      Thanks for commenting, and I hope it works out for you! ❤

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