Nail Care Favourites: OPI Nail Envy Base Coat

OPI Nail Envy: Strengthening Base Coat for Nails

Shop UK: Boots / Amazon
Shop US: Ulta / Amazon

Nothing I can say about OPI Nail Envy will ever do this bottle of miracle juice real justice. I’ve never used another base coat because I’ve never had the need to stray.

My first bottle came my way in a giveaway package I was lucky enough to win back in 2010 and I was quickly hooked. Within 2 weeks, my soft, breakage-prone nails were noticeably stronger and growing at triple speed. Before this eye-opener, I had never understood the need to invest in a base coat – probably because all the cheaper versions I’d tried up to then had never improved the condition of my nails. Turns out that it is in fact a very sound investment and one I’ve made time and again since that fateful encounter all those years ago.

Whenever people ask me what they can do to strengthen their nails, Nail Envy is always the treatment I recommend. It’s also very important with any nail strengthener to use it together with a good cuticle oil like the offerings from KB Shimmer or All That Jazz to get the balance right. If you only use strengthener, you will find that your nails become too hard and snap at the tips. If you only use oil, you’ll end up with soft nails which can start to bend and tear. Just rub a good dose of oil all into your cuticles and under the nail tip 2-4 times a week and you’re good to go.

In the UK, Nail Envy retails at around £18 on the high street but I always get it from Amazon where it’s considerably cheaper. It usually runs between £8-12. One bottle usually lasts me 3-4 months which is amazing considering that I paint my nails 5+ times every week and wear this under every manicure. The formula does start to thicken about half way through the bottle but never to the point where it’s completely unusable. With a few drops of nail polish thinner, it’s restored to perfect consistency.


– Worth the investment if your nails are thin / weak / soft / slow-growing
– Use it with a cuticle oil for optimum nail health
– One bottle lasts a really long time, even if you paint your nails daily

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  • This has been a long time favorite of mine too!

  • Does it also protect the nails from yellowing/staining? That is my biggest problem at the moment – my nails are sooo yellow as if I were an old professional smoker.

    • It certainly helps but doesn’t prevent it completely – mine are very slightly yellow close to the tips. I used to have awfully stained, practically orange, nails and the only thing that ever improved them (apart from buffing away the stained layers of nail which I wouldn’t recommend) was taking at least one day off from wearing polish every week. On my days off, I just wear the Nail Envy and it’s really helped.

      • Thank you! I don’t buff my nails too often – just slightly once a month to smooth them out, it does not remove the staining at all. I also have a day-off for naked nails on Thursdays, when I work from home. So now I look for a good base coat protecting my nails from staining – what I use now does not work. And I always start with a layer of base coat.

    • Eva

      I feel like other base coats are way better protectors, so sometimes I wear one coat of nail envy and then a second base coat 🙂

  • I keep meaning to try a bottle of this! Cuticle oil has been a game changer for me.


  • janka

    Perfect, does it also help for splitting nails? Doesn’t it say on the bottle?
    Anybody an advice for a nail polish for faster growing nails?

  • Love the idea of this & I’m glad to hear it works. After using acrylics for several months, my nails need some help.

    :] //

  • Nice to see. Something for me to check out then.

  • Ebony J

    I have really long nails but they break really easily so I should probably pick this up because I have never tried it before

  • Beth Combs

    I’ve tried a bunch of different nail strengtheners an i always come back to nail envy too! My nails used to peel horribly, but not anymore 🙂

  • This is my absolute favourite as well! Need to stock up again!

  • Thank you for this! My nails are super flexible and often bend outwards accidentally lol. I might give this a try 😀

  • Clarita

    I want to get it on Amazon to save money but I’m concerned about fakes. Do you have advice about this? Thanks!

    • I’ve personally never had a fake bottle from Amazon. I normally go for the first result that comes up when I search ‘OPI Nail Envy’ and check that the seller has a good rating.

  • mz Johansen

    This really is THE miracle for nails. I recommend it all of the time!

  • Emily

    I used this in the run up to my wedding! It is fab. Need to invest again soon

  • I feel exactly the same about my strengthener/ base coat – NAILTIQUES. : ) Word for word, transformed my nails.
    Along with my homemade cuticle oil, they’re the two things keeping my previously BITTEN AND PEELING (poor claws) healthy.

    I really think it’s 80% personal preference as I feel about my base coat the way you do about OPI.

  • Great review 🙂 In my experience my nails grow longer and stronger with this base coat, as soon as I run out I’ll end up having a breakage here or there. In the past I tried to reason with myself to go for something cheaper but in the end I consider that as wasting money as for the price of Nail Envy you actually have a product that does what it is supposed to!

  • This sounds so good! Will have to try it out x

  • Danele

    Love love love this stuff! Like yourself, I never wore basecoat before nail envy. I tried Orly Bonder and CND stickey but they didnt really help with polish wear and cause peeling. Nail Envy is definitely a must! I gifted several family members this nail “crack” over Christmas and they all love it so far!

  • thanks a lot for the post and the tip abt the oil! really useful:)))

  • I tried this many years ago and was very pleased with it, though I never repurchased it because it’s way too expensive in Italy. Now I’m fully hooked on Sally Hansen nailgrowth miracle.

  • Lauren

    Do you use two coats like the bottle recommends? I’m totally buying some on Amazon, but I was wondering if the bottle lasts longer because you only use one coat?

  • As an ex-biter my nails break all the time, i’ve just purchased it based on your comments so i’m looking forward to using it. Great review – thanks! x

  • Helen Wood

    This is the most amazing product ever, my nails have become rock hard. I have used this for years and have got my friends and family to do the same. If you want beautiful long strong nails… This is the stuff to use!