Here’s How To Strengthen Your Nails

Are your nails feeling a little weak and thin? 

Nails that break easily can be a very common but unwanted side effect of wearing gel polish, builder gels and acrylic nails over time. 

When you come to soak off your enhancements, it’s always a little disheartening to see your nails are much less strong than they were before.

Fortunately, with the right care, your nails will grow back stronger! 

Follow our top tips on how to strengthen your nails and improve your overall nail health!

how to strengthen your nails

Table of Contents:

How to strengthen nails and make them grow

How to strengthen nails after acrylics 

How to strengthen nails after gel

Home remedies that help strengthen your nails

How to strengthen nails and make them grow

Your natural nails are robust, and thankfully, there are many things you can do to encourage them to grow strong and healthy.

From subtle changes to your diet and lifestyle, to taking the occasional break from your manicure, here are some of our top tips to help you to improve weak nails.

Biotin Supplements and changes to your diet

Biotin is one of the B Vitamins that our body needs to keep our hair and nails looking at their best.

Also known as Vitamin H and Vitamin B-7, it helps the nervous system function properly. The body can’t store Biotin as it’s water-soluble, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough of it from your daily diet.

Found in sardines, eggs and legumes such as beans, peas and lentils, upping your daily intake of these food groups should contribute to healthier and stronger nails.

It’s also important to consume your recommended daily dose of calcium, which can be found in milk, cheese, yoghurt, leafy greens, seafood, dried fruit and tofu. 

Protein is essential for healthy hair, skin, and nails, so you’ll want to eat a balanced diet filled with various protein-rich foods such as eggs, nuts, whole grains, lean meats, and salmon.

how to strengthen your nails

Hydration is key

Hydration is essential for strong nails, as dry nails can easily become brittle, causing them to break and peel. Try to drink the recommended daily amount of 2-2.5 litres of water to keep yours at their healthiest.

Minimise your exposure to water

Too much contact with water also contributes to brittle nails. Always wear gloves when cleaning or washing the dishes, and try to keep your hands above the water level when taking a bath. 

Keep your nails short and file in one direction

If your nails are brittle and damaged, keep them short whilst you’re growing out the damage, so they’re less likely to chip, crack or split. 

When shaping your nails, file in one direction, as moving the file back and forth can weaken them. By filing your nails down evenly and neatly, you’re ensuring all of the layers of your nails are even less prone to breakage and are the thickest they can be. 

For natural nail filing, we recommend a 240 grit nail file.

Take occasional breaks from gels, acrylics and polish

We know it’s sometimes hard to take a break from that flawless manicure, but nails need time to breathe, so giving them a break is important.

If you really can’t live without some nail colour, where possible, opt for chemical-free and breathable choices.

Avoid drying products and use a moisturiser 

Products like hand sanitiser contain ingredients like alcohol which dry out the nails and skin. Try to avoid too much contact with your nails when using and follow up with a good moisturiser after each application.

how to strengthen your nails

Shampoo can dry out your nails too

If you use a shampoo for oily hair, the chemicals could wreak havoc on your nails. Some shampoos are built to strip your hair of oils, so if you find that your nails are unusually dry, you may want to change up your shampoo.

How to strengthen your nails after acrylics

Acrylics on their own aren’t bad for your natural nails. If your nails are weak however, they can damage your nail’s surface. 

Doubled with the acetone-soaking that your nails undergo during removal, it’s inevitable that at some point, your nail bed may get damaged. But the good news is, there are a few things you can do to strengthen and restore them. 

Prepping your nails and applying a nail treatment 

  • Start by filing your natural nails in one direction.
  • Follow with a low grit nail buffer, taking care to gently stroke the nail’s surface so as not to thin your nails any further, for a smooth, even base ready for your treatment.
  • For some deep hydration, treat your hands to a hand mask such as OPI’s Pro Spa Advanced Softening Gloves before applying further treatments. Try out your hand mask on bare nails so they can take in as much moisture and goodness as possible.
  • Now your nails are clean, shaped and prepped, apply your nail treatment. OPI’s Nail Envy Treatment Original Nail Strengthener is a great choice, guaranteeing harder, stronger, and longer natural nails that are less prone to cracking and peeling. 
  • Follow your treatment with cuticle oil. Applied to the nail base, cuticle oil gives essential nutrients that promote healthy growth, strengthen the nail, and reduces the splitting and peeling of the skin that grows around the nails.
  • Repeat this process for the best results.
  • For added strength, a nail hardener like Mavala’s Scientifique K+ Nail Hardener with Pro-Keratin boosts the strength of your natural nails, hardening the nail plate so the nail can restore its normal growth.
how to strengthen nails

How to strengthen your nails after gels

If applied and removed correctly, a gel manicure shouldn’t ever damage your nails. 

Damage from gel nails is usually caused during removal, particularly if the correct steps aren’t followed or if you pick and peel at your gels.

If you notice any white lines, spots or unevenness to your nails’ surface, you may need to let them grow out. Keep them short in this case to prevent any further damage from occurring.

If you’re experiencing some peeling or flaking after your gel removal, there are some simple steps you can follow to get your natural nails back to their best.

  • Trim your nails to remove some of the damage and prevent them from chipping or peeling. Make your nails rounded to keep them strong and prevent them from catching or snagging.
  • Buff your nails to remove any unevenness and prevent any further chipping
  • Treat your hands often, with moisturisers, nail treatments, hand masks and cuticle oil, following the same steps as with acrylic repair.
  • Once your nails have fully healed, resist the urge to pick at your gel polish to ensure no further damage occurs.
how to strengthen your nails

Home remedies that help strengthen your nails

If your nails are weak or brittle and you’re looking for a quick home remedy to restore some moisture and strength, you’ll be surprised at what you can find in your kitchen cupboards.

Here are a few of our failsafe favourites until your nail treatments arrive:

Olive Oil

When massaged into your nails, a teaspoon of olive oil mixed with a few lemon drops adds instant hydration. Apply to your nails before bed and cover with soft gloves and get ready to walk up to perfectly moisturised nails.

Sea Salt

Known for strengthening brittle nails, softening cuticles and adding shine to your nails, mix two tablespoons of sea salt into a small bowl of warm water. Add two drops of frankincense oil, wheat germ oil and a few drops of lemon oil into the mix and soak your nails for 10-15 minutes. Rinse your hands in warm water before patting dry, following with a hand cream.

Coconut Oil

Gently warm a few teaspoons of coconut oil and gently massage into your hands and nails to add some instant moisture.

Shop our hand and nail treatments at Nail Polish Direct

Explore our full selection of hand and nail treatments for strong and healthy nails. From nail treatments and masks to cuticle oils from industry-leading brands, it’s never been easier to achieve enviable natural nails ahead of your next manicure.

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