Having a hard time with dry, brittle, and breaking nails? Let’s fix them up and get them looking amazing with these great nail care tips!

It’s a popular belief out there that pretty, healthy nails translate to hefty salon bills.

But that’s not the case.

If you treat your nails as an extension of yourself, you will see that a big part of it is about taking care of your whole body.

We are going to get into that holistic approach today.

One thing you should know about nail grooming (if you didn’t already) is that you can do most of the care at home on your own. Nails are really low maintenance unless you want it otherwise.

You don’t need an overpriced weekly manicure session. The secret to perfect nails is toning down on the chemicals and taking care of yourself.

Now, for the breakdown, here are the top five nail care tips to rock pretty and healthy nails.

Avoid Harsh Polishes

Dermatologists have been actively looking into products used in nail polish. They have discovered that some chemicals may be toxic. 

While there aren’t any conclusive results, there’s evidence that some of the chemicals used to make strong polishes come with health risks.

For instance, the National Cancer Institute identified Formaldehyde as a potentially cancer-causing substance. It’s also an incredibly popular ingredient in nail polish.

Dermatologists have singled out five harsh chemicals to avoid when shopping for polishes. They include:

  • Dibutyl Phthalate
  • Formaldehyde
  • Camphor
  • Toluene 
  • Formaldehyde Resin

When shopping for polishes, look for the “five-free” varieties. That means they don’t contain any of the above ingredients.

You may also want to avoid gel polishes. Removal may require aggressive buffing or strong chemicals, which can cause your nails to turn dry and brittle.

Eat Foods Rich in Vitamins and Minerals

Remember the holistic approach we mentioned in our earlier nail care tips?

Try eating a diet rich in nutrients — it’s the best way to get your nails looking naturally healthy and strong.

Here’s why. 

Taking vitamins and minerals helps in the formation of strong and healthy nail cells. When you’re lacking certain nutrients, it will show up in the appearance and texture of your nails.

One of these essential nutrients is biotin, a B-complex vitamin that assists in the growth of healthy cells. It’s also vital in breaking down protein-building amino acids for nail growth.

Some studies have supported biotin’s effectiveness in strengthening brittle fingernails.

Here are other equally important nutrients your body needs to support healthy nails:

Vitamin B12 

Vitamin B12 is an active agent in the absorption of iron and the formation of red blood cells. A deficiency in this vitamin could result in weak, discolored nails.


Iron helps in the formation of red blood cells which ferry oxygen to all organs, tissues, and cells.


Nails are a buildup of dead cells that create a protein called keratin. Your body creates keratin out of your protein reserves, so make sure you’re eating plenty. 


This mineral may assist in the formation of new cells. Magnesium deficiency may be the cause of vertical ridges that sometimes appear in nails.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids can prevent dry, brittle nails due to their moisturizing quality. This is a perfect way to develop shiny nails.

Avoid Biting Your Nails

Nail biting is a bad habit. It’s unhygienic and could lead to a host of ailments.

The habit also affects the growth and texture of your nails, making them look unsightly.

But that’s not the end of it. Nail biting significantly increases the risk of developing an infection of the nail called Paronychia.

Paronychia is a bacterial or yeast infection of the skin around the nails. It has multiple causes and biting your nails is one of them due to the constant irritation. If left untreated, the infection could result in the loss of the nail.

Look out for these symptoms of paronychia if you suspect you’ve developed it and seek treatment:

  • Pain and swelling around your nails
  • Redness in the area around your nails
  • Blisters that may contain pus

Moisturize With Urea or Lactic Acid

It’s important to treat your fingernails the same way you treat your skin and it definitely pays off.

Dermatologists recommend moisturizing your nails with hand creams to prevent dryness and brittleness. Note that keeping your nails lubricated (not with plain water — avoid frequent wetness) brings out a healthy glow.

When shopping for moisturizers, you may want to choose one containing urea or lactic acid to help prevent nail cracking.

Additionally, if you’re using moisturizers to give your nails a smooth shine, you may want to cut down on buffing. Buffing is okay, it brings out the shininess but it also makes your nails weak.

If you’re going to buff your nails, do it only once or twice a month.

Stay Hydrated

There are many reasons for developing brittle nails. Some link to health conditions such as iron and vitamin deficiencies, alopecia areata, hypothyroidism, etc.

On the other hand, brittle nails can also be a sign of dehydration. 

The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD) says that external factors play a bigger role in brittle nails compared to underlying health conditions.

Avoid dehydration as it affects the nails the same way it affects the skin. It can get even worse in winter when water intake goes down.


There we go!

As you can see, the whole thing is easy. Most of the work centers around healthy habits rather than expensive products or spa visits.

All you need to do is take care of your body and it’ll take care of you.

Give these 5 secrets for pretty and healthy nails a try and find out if they work for you. But if you continue to suffer from problems like brittleness and cracking, see a dermatologist.

Author Bio

Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Varsity House Fayetteville to help them with their online marketing.