Brittle nails are a big, big problem for me, and I'm sure many of you suffer from this problem as well. I was a nail biter for most of my childhood and young adulthood, and I was so proud of myself when I finally conquered the bad habit. The problem is that some of my nails are still brittle and prone to breaking, which tempts me to chew on them just to deal with breaks, snags, hangnails, and general unevenness. Currently, three nails on my right hand are absolutely unsightly because of this problem. I don't want to go back to biting my nails, especially since most of them are long, strong, and healthy. Whether you've got a full-out case of brittle nails or an issue with just a few, I think these tips will help all of us.
1. Eat Your Way to Healthier Nails
The foods you eat can have a profound effect on your nails. It's important to eat foods that are rich in biotin, which is essential for strong, healthy nails that don't break or get so dry that they turn brittle. Start incorporating eggs, avocado, cauliflower, whole grains, and even liver into your diet, for a start. There are so many biotin rich foods, you're sure to find something you enjoy eating. If you can't, or if you find you're simply not getting as much biotin as you need, you can also look for a good supplement or multivitamin to battle your brittle nails.
2. Have an Olive Oil Soak
Honestly, is there anything olive oil can't do? Soaking your fingers in olive oil is extremely beneficial to the health and appearance of your nails. This treatment is pretty involved because, ideally, you should soak your nails for 15 minutes every day for at least one month – and make sure it's extra virgin olive oil. After a month, you can do the treatment once or twice a week. Do it regularly and you'll find that your nails no longer break or peel. They'll stay strong, hydrated, and fortified.
3. Protect Your Hands
If you protect your hands, your nails will benefit. There are dozens of ways to do this, such as wearing gloves whenever you're doing chores like washing the dishes or scrubbing the bathtub. Basically, wear gloves any time you're working with any detergents, soaps, or cleansers that contain harsh chemicals. You can also protect your nails with polish, whether you choose a fortified color polish or a clear coat designed to strengthen and protect.
4. Skip the Acetone
If you choose to paint your nails, avoid using acetone polish remover to get rid of it. You can find gentler alternatives if you frequently change your polish, but you might also consider just wearing a clear coat until your nails get stronger. At the very least, try not to use nail polish remover more than once or twice each month.
5. Drink Away Brittle Nails
Nails get dry, brittle, and weak when they're not hydrated enough. A foolproof quick fix for this is to drink at least eight glasses of water every day. It's worth it, even if you have to add muddled raspberries or a squeeze of lemon juice, because drinking water improves your overall health, not just the health of your nails.
6. The ABCs of Filing
Actually, there aren't really ABCs – or maybe there are, but I'm more focused on “F,” for filing. Nail upkeep is a delicate balance when you have brittle nails. It's important to file or clip any rough edges or breaks, just so you don't start nibbling. However, especially when your nails are brittle, you need to make sure you file in one direction, not back and forth. That's a good tip to follow no matter what the state of your nails, but when they're brittle, back and forth filing causes too much stress and can create even more damage.
7. Treat Yourself to a Massage
I'm not talking about a back or shoulder massage, although you're welcome to pamper yourself that way too. In relation to brittle nails, however, a hand massage is ideal. You can do it yourself or get it done professionally, as long as you get your fingernails themselves massaged. This promotes and stimulates the flow of blood to your nails and fingertips, so the nails get stronger and grow longer. If you do it yourself, all you need is an excellent moisturizer and perhaps a cuticle cream, or a little olive oil.
There's never a better time to start improving the health of your nails. I've already started following many of these tips and, as briefly mentioned, I'm seeing a remarkable improvement. How do you keep your nails happy, healthy, and strong? Do any other former or current nail biters have a problem with brittle nails?