How To Strengthen Your Nails

No matter how many vitamins I take, my fingernails always seem to break so easily.  It makes it nearly impossible to ever grow them, plus it can be painful when they catch on things and tear.  I’ve been looking into what I can do to make them stronger and have found quite a few remedies that I wanted to share here on the blog today – if you have any of your own tried-and-true remedies, please share in the comments!

how to strengthen nails

For starters, when filing your nails, only file in one direction – NOT back and forth. I never knew this, but filing back and forth can worsen damaged nails and cause splitting.

how to strengthen nails

Certain oils are great for strengthening your nails – particularly olive oil, vitamin E oil and tea tree oil! Olive oil is extremely moisturizing and easily absorbed into the skin and nails.  Soak your nails in  a dish of olive oil for about 20 minutes once a week, or every day for a few minutes, to feel its full affect.  Tea tree oil is a powerful antiseptic that can remedy discolored nails and prevent fungus, in addition to repairing and strengthening damaged nails. Lastly, vitamin E oil is another great moisturizer that is rich in antioxidants and also has the added benefit of a very light scent. Apply it to your nails and cuticles and soak up its restorative properties!

how to strengthen nails

how to strengthen nails

Moisturizing your nails is just as important as moisturizing your skin – but it’s not something I ever think to do. Washing your hands can really dry out your nails, and keeping them moisturized is one of the easiest ways to keep them strong and healthy.  Vaseline is an excellent way to keep them moisturized.  Massage it into the nails to get the blood circulating, and if you have really dry and damaged nails, put on a pair of gloves after applying the Vaseline to lock in the moisture (many recommend doing this before bed and sleeping with gloves on).

how to strengthen nails

how to strengthen nails

Nails contain a lot of sulfur, and another way to strengthen them is to eat foods that are also high in sulfur – like broccoli, onions, and garlic.  The sulfur in these foods will not only help to repair nails but will give them added shine.

how to strengthen nails

Do you have any tips for strengthening nails? Share in the comments!

Jewelry pictured: Assorted Cluster Brass Bracelet, Trapped Crystal Cuff, Filagree Skinny Hard Bangle Set, Stacking Ring Set, Smokey Mountain Stone Ring, Novelty Flip Ring.

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7 years ago

I love these tips! I take Biotin everyday and I found out it really helps me strengthen my nails + hair!

Alicia Hoemsen
2 months ago
Reply to  Magreet

Which brand biotin ?

7 years ago

Oh just what I needed! So perfect. I use coconut oil instead of vaseline and it works wonders! I use it as a cuticle cream. But the olive, tea tree, and E oil suggestion is perfect. Definitely trying it.

xo, Juliette Laura

7 years ago

I too have started using biotin and it has been great for my hair and nails!

FYI: tea tree oil…if very concentrated….can be corrosive and damaging to the skin, so for this reason I would suggest diluting it. Maybe if you mixed the tea tree oil, olive oil, and vitamin e oil together and used that to soak your nails in :) gonna try it tonight


7 years ago

Thanks for sharing! My nails have been in horrible shape lately. Something I do is use coconut oil on my nails. I just rub it on, like the vaseline, before bed and it seems to help!

7 years ago

Coconut oil after washing your hands (so it seals in the water)! Also NailTek is a lifesaver and totally changed my nails.

7 years ago

Every night before I go to bed and coat my hands and nails in coconut oil. My nails have never been stronger and longer and the splitting is virtually gone. I had to stop using nail polish because the remover made my nails super weak, so if I want a shine, I just buff them.

1 year ago
Reply to  Jasmine

What brand and type of coconut oil do you use?

3 months ago
Reply to  Charlotte

You can just buy virgin or organic coconut oil they come in bottles and jars they are all the same but make sure they are virgin or organic

7 years ago

Biotin for sure! I take two 5,000 mcg capsules daily and it’s made all the difference

7 years ago

I use an olive oil & beeswax balm over my fingernails & cuticles, bought from a healthfood store, although you could try Etsy or make your own, the beeswax seals in the olive oil. I apply right after I shower & after a few months of use I have strong long healthy nails. I even bought some for my mom, she loves it because her hands/nails get dry from gardening. Olive oil really does work wonders… I used the balm to give my fellow pedicures (yeah, he’s spoiled rotten!) and the stuff even transformed scary man toes!!! Speaking of which, if you have trouble with your big toe toenails curling & cutting into your toes on the sides, try letting the nail get a bit long then square it off as opposed to cropping it close & rounded. You can train it not to dig in… Random helpful hint….

Sharon Mallar
7 months ago
Reply to  Lucille

I love random helpful hints!

7 years ago

Collagen supplements!

7 years ago

For a non-petroleum (I.E., not eco conscious) alternative try coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, the list goes on!

7 years ago

Silica supplements! My nails were always so brittle and now they grow so fast and so long!

7 years ago

As some of the other ladies said, Coconut Oil! I used to have horrible brittle, peeling nails. Coconut Oil strengthened them like nobody’s business! :D

Thank you for the tips! I shall try these as well.

7 years ago

In Traditional Chinese Medicine nails belong to the element “wood”. Nails that break easily or have an unnatural color may mean that something is wrong with your liver or gallbladder. My personal element is wood too and whenever I drink alcohol (and I hardly ever drink and if, it´s only a glass of red wine or a sip of beer) or eat rich or grilled things you can always tell by my nails.

This might be helpful to give you a little bit more insight. (I did not write it, but I think the article gives a quick insight on what´s going on.)

7 years ago

Coconut oil is MUCH better than Vaseline for your nails. Vaseline is petroleum based and actually DRIES out your skin or nails in the long-run. I’m surprised Free People would advocate it on their blog. If you’re curious about coconut oil’s benefits, there’s a lot of info on coconut :)

7 years ago

Great tips! I love your jewelry! Gorgeous hands. :)

Sheila Barrett
7 years ago

Eat Knox gelatin. It works!

7 years ago

Nice, I have tea tree oil, i will definitely try..
Have to ask,,where did you got the big ring in your right middle finger ?


Sweet Painted Lady
7 years ago

Duri Rejouvacoat saved my nails big time, never had such nice nails until the combination of duri and lush’s lemony flutter cuticle cream. Totally worth trying in my opinion. Couldn’t survive with out them now

6 years ago

A glass nail file smoothes nail edges so the nail does not catch and snag.

6 years ago

Can coconut oil help your nails grow as Well?

6 years ago

In the past I have found that a blend of beeswax and almond oil applied every night to the nails and cuticles worked wonders for my nails. It took about 3 months to see a difference, but it was worth it.

6 years ago

I like to use Palmers cocoa butter hand cream on my nails every morning and night. It makes them shiny and after I do this for about two weeks my nails look like I just polished them with clear polish, and they are super long and pretty, and nail polish lasts way longer than it used to. :) I will definitely try some of the methods listed above! :)

6 years ago

Knox Gelatin capsuls. Beats drink knox or eating a lot of jello.

5 years ago

Allqua natural alkaline water! It contains sulfur among other trace minerals. I wasn’t a believer at first but after a few weeks of drinking this water my nails were stronger than every.

Stacy Rutter
5 years ago

I like firmfemme Nail Cream. this one requires multiple drops per day and you need to massage them in and wait for it to dry. It does work .. but it does take longer