9 Easy & Effective Ways to Strengthen Your Nails

by Meghan Carlson | 8 Comments

We all want strong, thick, and beautiful nails, but simply going about our lives can become a minefield of potentially nail-damaging situations.

Here at Julep we’ve put a lot of thought, love, and science into helping you get stronger, sturdier nails with products like Oxygen Nail Treatment, Mighty Nail & Cuticle Serum, and our Color Treat nail polish formula, which lets your nails breathe while infusing them with natural nail-strengthening ingredients.

But even with the help of powerful pals like Oxygen, Mighty and Color Treat, growing your healthiest nails ever starts with fine-tuning your everyday habits. Here are our top tips for how to grow stronger, healthier nails and prevent nail damage—so you can better enjoy all your gorgeous manicures!

julep-iona-bitsofpolishOur Maven Jen showing off her strong and happy nails in Julep Iona (It Girl).

1. Limit water exposure. Wear gloves when you wash dishes, and don’t soak in the bath tub for too long—or keep your nails outside the water (clasping that glass of red wine, perhaps?) for most of your soak.

2. But drink lots (and lots) of it. One health and beauty secret we can all benefit from is that hydration is key for beautiful skin, hair, and nails. Drink lots of water throughout the day, and you’ll feel and look better, all the way down to your hydrated cuticles and nails. A balanced diet that includes plenty of protein will also help improve your nail health.

3. Keep your nails on the shorter side. If you’re having trouble with weak nails, consider cutting down the length while you build up their strength. Shorter nails are less prone to breaking, because there are fewer exposed edges to tear and less surface area where water and chemicals can be absorbed. Just make sure to file down your nails in one direction, and don’t saw them back and forth, which can cause your nails to split and peel.

4. Make cuticle oil and hand crème part of your routine. If you don’t keep your nails and cuticles moisturized, common nail problems like hang nails and dry skin can snowball into bigger problems, like chronic cuticle picking and nail peeling. Instead of cutting your cuticles—which, when done incorrectly, can be painful and even provide an opening for bacteria to get into your nails—use cuticle softener to gently push them back, and apply cuticle oil regularly to keep them soft and moisturized. Our Essential Cuticle Oil is lip balm-sized and has a convenient roller ball applicator, so you can keep a bottle in your purse or pocket wherever you go.

5. Try a DIY nail soak. Many people swear by soaking their fingers in olive oil to help with nail hydration and strength. Coconut oil, argan oil, vitamin E oil, tee tree oil, and castor oil can help in the same way. Simply pour a little bit of oil into a bowl and soak each hand for 10 minutes, and massage the oil into your nail beds and cuticles to get the blood circulating. To really lock in the moisture, try soaking your nails at night and wearing gloves to bed.

6. Avoid alcohol-based hand sanitizer, as it can be especially drying for your nails. Wash your hands with soap and water and follow up with hand crème or cuticle oil.

7. Be careful when cleaning. Exposure to chemicals and detergents can weaken your nails, so keep your nails protected during household chores by wearing gloves.

8. Avoid using your nails as tools. Even something as quick as opening a soda can or scratching off a price tag puts pressure on the weakest part of your nail, the tip, and can contribute to peeling and breakage.

9. Make your manicures last longer. Overuse of nail polish remover can dry out your nails, so if you love keeping your nails colorful and polished, increase your manicure longevity to decrease the amount of time your nails are exposed to remover. To keep your nail color lasting longer, start by pushing back your cuticles, use a hydrating base coat and durable top coat like our new Oxygen Smoothing Base Coat and Oxygen Performance Top Coat, apply polish to the free edge of your nail with every coat, and reapply your top coat every few days.

What are your favorite ways to promote strong and healthy nails? Share your tips in the comments!

  • I take Vitamin D and B 12 supplements…they help immensely with my nail strength.

  • Nunya

    I am an avid supporter of cuticle and nail oiling! At least once a day, three is ideal!

  • Carrie Millard

    firmfemme Nail Cream It is the only product I have found that truly works. My nails are longer and stronger than they have ever been.

  • Mimi Marcheschi

    Hi everyone. For my health class we are doing a project on any health topic that interests us. I chose to focus on brittle nails and how to strengthen them because that is something I struggle with. My nails chip extremely easily and I find it to be super frustrating! I came across this blog and was wondering if anyone has applied these nine steps and I was also wondering if they have helped anyone out? Thanks!!

    • Lynne Mac Donald Jones

      Look into hypothyroidism

  • Callie Johene

    My nails used to be pretty nice I don’t know what happened (well, I guess Winter Guard happened) and now my nails break all the time (mostly from the flags) but they also peel and chip and it really bothers me. But I don’t normally drink a lot of water, and I take really long showers and use nail polish remover a lot. I guess I could fix that. I wish they made something that was a clear nail coat that didn’t chip and didn’t come off with nailpolish remover. You’d be able to do whatever and your nails would be sealed, you’d just have to apply the coat every once in a while.

    • Lynne Mac Donald Jones

      Check your thyroid

  • Nathalie Burnett

    Hi, I need a help. I am a woman who has been suffering from brittle nails for almost many years now. I have tried all tricks in the trade and nothing seems to be working. I was advised to be on a calcium rich diet and also take vitamin D supplements to help overcome the problem. However the problem never really got any better and over the past years it has been only getting worse. Frankly speaking, is there any which can be done to get my nails back to my original shape?