Brittle Nails? Pro Tips to Strengthen Them

Divine Magazine
Divine Magazine 7 Min Read

Brittle nails are a manicure’s worst enemy. A peeling, splitting, and thinning nail can be caused by a variety of factors. The weather, your health and nail care regimen can all play a role in weakening your nails. Thankfully, there are ways to strengthen your nails and prevent brittleness. Here are some tried and true methods from nail technicians.

Top and Bottom Coat

Some nail polishes and manicures can stain and weaken the nail. A base coat provides an extra layer of protection between the nail and the polish. Base coat also adheres to polish better than a naked nail, lengthening the life of your manicure.

Top coats add a thick glossy or matte finishing layer over polish. Adding a topcoat to your manicure strengthens the nail, limiting breakage and chipping of both polish and your actual nail. Some top and bottom coats even have moisturising oils or vitamins for extra benefits.

Address Gaps in Your Diet

Your fingernails are 10 tiny windows into your health. Any changes in your nails’ appearance can point to a gap in your diet. Brittle nails can occur due to a lack of a vitamin or nutrient, an iron deficiency, hyperthyroidism, Raynaud’s syndrome and more.

Foods you can eat to promote healthy keratin production and the growth of longer, stronger nails include salmon, lean meats, beans, whole grains, nuts, and fruits. Biotin supplements can replace any missing vitamin b7 in your diet, encouraging longer and healthier hair and nails.

Stay Moisturized

Dry nails create brittle nails that peel, split and break. Drinking water and staying hydrated is a fantastic way to keep your hair, skin and nails growing but sometimes topical remedies are needed to repair brittle nails.

Rubbing moisturizing hand lotion on your hands and fingers throughout the day and after washing your hands replenishes the moisture lost during daily activities. Adding cuticle oil to your self-care routine will also lead to strong nails.

Protecting your nails from moisture-stripping activities can expedite your healthy nail growth. Wearing gloves while washing dishes or dealing with any cleaning chemicals can prevent both your hands and nails from drying out. Even too much exposure to water can leave your nails feeling weak and brittle.

Use Nail Polishes and Products with Your Nail Health in Mind

Some nail polish brands contain harmful ingredients that are rough on nails. Reading your nail polish ingredient lists can help you become aware of which polishes and products are causing nail damage with repetitive use. In particular, look for and avoid Methyl Methacrylate, Toluene, and Formaldehyde. These chemicals can be toxic for humans, causing irritation, dizziness, and some are considered carcinogenic by the FDA. This industry is regulated, but difficult to enforce, so stick to well known brands such as SNS or OPI.

Certain brands are focused on nail health and contain vitamins and nutrients that can leave your nails healthier. SNS gel and dip powders are both known to have the most nutrients, and several other brands on the market also produce some nourishing effects.

Ditching acetone based polish removers will also have your nails feeling stronger and healthier. The acetone strips your nail of moisture just as fast as it removes your polish and can even leave visible damage like white marks on the surface of your nail. Try swapping your acetone base polish remover for an oil based solution. Oil based removers will remove your polish fast while being gentle to your cuticles and nails. 

Take a Break Between Manicures

Getting manicures repeatedly without a break can significantly weaken your nails over time. Most manicure processes involve dehydrating the nail, buffing, grinding, and other rough steps to create beautiful nails.

It is important to be aware of your nail health to avoid significant breakage or long-term damage.

After a few months of repeated manicures, it is recommended to remove polish with an acetone-free remover and allow your nails time to breathe and grow out.

There are several physical signs your nails are in need of some TLC. If you see your nails start to peel, develop ridges, split, look discolored, or you notice your nails feel thinner, it may be time for a break.

If your nails are significantly damaged, you may want to wait for the entire nail bed to grow out for a clean slate and fresh start. It can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months to grow out a completely new nail.

If there is only slight damage, like discoloration of the nail, waiting 3 to 4 weeks before your next gel manicure should do the trick.

Keep Your Nails Shorter

Keeping both your natural nail, and any acrylic extensions you put on our nails shorter can limit the possibility of your nail snagging or ripping. Even little, everyday tasks like opening a can of soda can cause your nail to rip off or break if you have long nails.

When cutting your nails, be sure to file for a smooth finish. While filing, drag your file in one direction against the tip of your nail. Bringing the nail file back and forth in a sawing motion can further damage and weaken your nail.

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