RD Readers Can’t Get Enough of This Strengthening Nail Gel—Here’s Why

The Pink Armor nail gel deserves a spot in your manicure kit.

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I love having my nails done. I love how they sound when I type, I love the designs and the process is therapeutic for me. Over the past few years, I’ve perfected my gel technique, and only go to the salon for pedicures (how could anyone replicate the pedicure experience at home?).

Unfortunately, all those years of soaking in acetone and buffing have left my natural nails worse for wear. I’m also prone to unexplainable cracks in the middle of my nail bed. But when I stumbled upon a strengthening nail gel by Pink Armor, I decided it was worth a try.

With long natural nails, breakage is par for the course. But with the Pink Armor nail gel, I feel like my at-home manicures are finally getting the protection they need.  

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What is Pink Armor nail gel?  

applying Pink Armor nail gelAndrea Carrillo/RD.com

Although it has gel in its name, the “As Seen On TV” Pink Armor nail gel doesn’t require a UV lamp or any extra steps. The “gel” refers to the consistency of the polish. It’s really more of a thick clear coat.

You don’t need anything more than Pink Armor: it works as a base coat, top coat and, thanks to a little tint of pink, a nail color. Just apply two coats on clean, bare nails and leave them as-is. Adding another favorite nail polish on top is optional.

According to the brand, the gel strengthens, protects, repairs and restores nails. It also promotes nail growth and leaves a glossy nail finish at the same time. When used with another polish, it even makes the nail polish last longer. All of these qualities are just what I need and I was excited to give it a try.

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Pink Armor nail gel features 

The nail gel comes in a bottle just like regular nail polish with about half an ounce of product to work with. If you apply two coats weekly, it should last a while. Furthermore, the light pink tint gives your nails the “clean girl” look. If used as a top coat on another polish color, the tint could affect the final look, so keep that in mind.

How I tested it 

finger nails with Pink Armor Nail Gel onlyAndrea Carrillo/RD.com

I rarely wear regular nail polish, but if I do, I pair it with a UV-drying gel base and top coat for extra strength. Part of the reason is that my nails crack and chip easily thanks to all the acetone that has weakened my nails over time. Regular polish doesn’t offer me the strength of gel or dip powder, so I tend to avoid it.

For the sake of my testing, I decided to commit to Pink Armor and stow away my UV gels. I fully anticipated breaking a nail, but after all, nails grow back, so onward. I removed my gel manicure in the usual way (soaking in acetone and scraping and buffing off the excess). Once my nails were prepped, I was ready to put on my armor.

The gel applies smoothly. One coat isn’t super visible, but two coats leave a healthy, pink-toned finish. I don’t like how my nails look bare, so I topped it with two extra coats of Sally Hansen’s Tulle Much, one of my favorite nude pink colors. For good measure, I topped it off with a final layer of Pink Armor.

Pink Armor Nail Gel With Sally Hansen on finger nailsAndrea Carrillo/RD.com

When applying nail polish, it’s important to remember to cap the edges (making sure the entire edge of the nail is coated, not just the top surface). Otherwise, the nail polish lifts and peels, as pointed out by some reviewers.

The box also states that you can recoat over dry Pink Armor at any time but should remove it once weekly with nail polish remover. I used the same combination for three of my reapplications: two coats of Pink Armor, two coats of Tulle Much and a final coat of Pink Armor. Throughout my testing period, I could feel the extra protection on my nails.

I’ve used the gel for about three weeks and so far, no chips in my polish or my nails! I’m happily surprised and even trust Pink Armor when I want to take a break from a Gel-X set or gel manicure. It goes on easily and leaves my nails feeling so healthy. Even when my hand hits tables or I have to use my nails to open cans, they’re still strong. 


  • Strengthens nails without needing a UV lamp 
  • Thick consistency 
  • Doesn’t peel when applied correctly
  • Leaves a light pink finish
  • Easy to use and remove
  • More than 7,000 five-star Amazon ratings


  • Have to remove and reapply once weekly 


What does Pink Armor nail gel do? 

The nail gel strengthens nails and seals them to protect against chips and breaks. While it doesn’t repair nails that are already broken, it’s a good preventative and defensive tool for new growth. 

Is Pink Armor nail gel a base coat? 

Yes, its main use is as a base coat, but it also works as a top coat. 

What other reviewers had to say 

“If you ever touch a polish brush to your nails you need this product,” recommends five-star reviewer Sandy. “It works as a base coat, top coat or alone as a strengthener. It has a slight pink tint that can affect the polish color when used as a top coat, but I generally like the effect. Alone it gives nails a healthy pink appearance. I have this on auto order so I never run out!”  

April Wilson, a 63-year-old user, finds that Pink Armor worked better than other nail strengtheners. “If I paint my nails once a week with this, my nails grow and don’t split or crack,” she writes in her five-star review. “I have been using this for about seven years now and I carry one with me wherever I go. Can’t go wrong with this. I swear this is true. My mother told me about this when she was in her 70s and I am glad I took her advice.” 

“This is the only nail polish that I have used that made my nail stronger,” says verified purchaser Ann Rogers. “I use to have brittle nails that broke all the time but not with this. I use it over nail wraps and it keeps my nails looking great for at least three weeks.” 

Product comparison 

I’ve used other nail strengtheners, including one by Sally Hansen, but hadn’t noticed much improvement. The thick, gel consistency of Pink Armor makes a big difference in my opinion and, best of all, it dries quickly. 

Other products like liquid latex and press-on nails are resources to improve nail strength, but the Pink Armor nail gel is a great tool to have in your kit. Amazon might even make it a beauty deal for Prime Day.

Final verdict

If you’re a self-proclaimed nail tech like me, you need this gel. But really, anyone who wants to add some strength to brittle nails benefits from using it. The Pink Armor gel is easy to use and remove and I love the pink tint. My nails definitely feel stronger, even after just a few weeks of use. I just wish I had it before I broke my two thumb nails!

Where to buy Pink Armor nail gel

Pink Armor nail gelvia merchant

Shop this nail gel on Amazon and Walmart. At $10, it saves money on trips to the salon, especially with rising service costs. Keep an eye on this Amazon Prime Day beauty deal for an even better savings.

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Andrea Carrillo
As Associate Shopping Editor at Reader's Digest, Andrea is a lifestyle writer covering all things e-commerce. She has covered streetwear, sustainability and culture for a variety of publications. When she's not on deadline, you can find her reading, collecting vintage fashion and furthering her goal of visiting every country in South America.