How To Naturally Strengthen Your Nails

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There’s almost nothing worse than getting a disgusted or disapproving look from your manicurist once she’s seen the sad state of your haggard, brittle and broken nails. Everything from gel manicures to vitamin deficiencies can destroy their quality, but luckily there are several all-natural ways in which you can fight back against this damage. Here, 5 of the best remedies—your manicurist (and your pride) will thank you.

Soak in Oil

According to the University of California, Davis, olive oil is a time-tested cure for brittle nails. You can also use coconut oil, castor oil, or any oil found in nature. Simply pour the oil into a bowl and let your nails soak for 10 minutes. Some people also like to lightly heat the oil and/or add lemon to brighten the nails.

Take Supplements

Biotin, a B Vitamin touted for it's nail-strengthening properties, has been proven effective for those who suffer from a Biotin deficiency. Small-scale studies have shown that those who don't, however, may also benefit from taking the supplements, and most dermatologists see no harm in adding them to your daily vitamin regimen to aid in improving your nail quality. You can also try increasing your daily intake of Biotin the old-fashioned way, by consuming foods rich in the nutrient such as eggs, almonds, mushrooms, tuna, turkey, berries and avocados.

Apply Nail Cream Regularly

Keep a nail-specific cream at your desk to keep thirsty nails hydrated. These can also help to soften your cuticles.

Avoid Excessive Water Exposure

Cleaning chemicals are harsh on nails, and constant exposure to water can also weaken them. Wearing gloves when you clean household surfaces or wash dishes can help, as can keeping your hands mostly out of the water when soaking in a bath. Hand sanitizers can also dry out your nails, so be wary of excessive use. Always moisturize nails after use.

Stay Hydrated

Adequate hydration is critical for overall health, so it's no surprise that dehydration can negatively affect nails as well. While you don't want to soak your hands in water—which actually robs them of moisture—you do want to be sure you're drinking enough H2O throughout the day. This hydration calculator is pretty cool, but you're also pretty safe if you just aim for 8 ounces per day.

Reduce Nail Polish Remover Usage

Acetone is not exactly dangerous, but it's not exactly good for you, either, and it can seriously dry out your nails. Experts say you should use it no more than 2x per month. Opt instead for these natural wipes by Josie Maran.