Changes to lifestyle habits and nutrition may help strengthen nails. Staying hydrated, taking a biotin supplement, and avoiding certain chemicals are just some of the things you can try.

The good news is that we can always make changes to our lifestyle and habits to help strengthen our nails and get them where we’d like.

Here are 12 tips that you can use to help strengthen your nails in no time.

Biotin, also known as vitamin H and vitamin B7, is one of the B vitamins. Because it’s water-soluble, it isn’t stored by the body, so you have to ensure that you consume it daily.

Biotin can help strengthen hair and nails. It also helps the body’s nervous system to function properly.

It can be found in foods like sardines, cooked eggs, and legumes, or you can take a B vitamin supplement.

Check with your healthcare professional before taking a biotin supplement to ensure that it’s safe for you.

Too much soaking in water can cause your nails to become weak and brittle. Wear gloves when washing dishes, and try to keep your hands out of the water while taking a bath.

It’s impossible to always avoid submerging your hands, of course, but this is something to be mindful of.

Drinking enough water is essential for health, and nail health is no exception. Without adequate moisture, nails can become brittle and break and peel easily. Drinking enough water helps them to retain moisture and stay strong.

Make sure you’re eating a nutrient-dense and varied diet, as well as taking a multivitamin with minerals. A diet that’s deficient in crucial vitamins and minerals can affect your entire body — including your nails.

Speak with your healthcare professional before starting new supplements. They interfere with any prescription drugs you’re taking and pose other risks.

Nail polish and remover

Many nail polishes or treatments contain harsh chemicals that can actually weaken nails. Nail polish remover that contains acetone should be avoided since it can damage nails.

Look for nontoxic nail polishes and soaks as well as an acetone-free polish remover.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns against other potentially harmful chemicals found in everyday nail care products.

Hand sanitizer and cleaning products

If you use hand sanitizer, try not to get it on your nails, and use it in moderation. The alcohol-based sanitizer dries out nails (and hands), leading to brittle nails.

When cleaning around the house, wear rubber gloves. Many cleaning products or cleaning wipes contain chemicals that can weaken the nail. Gloves help you to avoid contact with these chemicals.


If you’re using a shampoo that is drying or aims to strip oils (that is, meant for oily hair), it might dry out your nails and cause weak or brittle nails.

Try changing your shampoo for a couple of weeks and see whether you notice a difference.

While these are touted as an easy alternative for those who have trouble growing their nails, frequent use can cause your nails to peel, which weakens them. But if you’d still like to wear them, be sure to give your nails a break in between applications.

Exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) light required for gel polish has been identified as a risk factor for cancer, although more research is needed.

Exposure also ages the skin that supports a healthy nail. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying sunscreen to your hands at least 20 minutes before your hands are exposed to UV light.

Along those same lines, although nail polish looks nice, your nails need to breathe. Constant use of polish, even nontoxic polish, can weaken the nail.

After wearing nail polish for a week or so, remove the nail polish with an acetone-free polish remover, and then let your nails be polish-free for a week.

Long nails are more likely to break and be caught on things, while shorter nails are less likely to be chipped, cracked, or split, helping to keep them strong.

Instead, use the pads of your fingers to open up a soda can or use a paper clip to reach something in a small space. Using your nails as tools can lead to breakage and chipping, which can in turn weaken the nail.

After removing polish, or if you think you’re not hydrated enough, use hand cream on your hands, making sure to moisturize your nails. You can do this every time you wash your hands.

Filing your nails in a back-and-forth motion like a saw can actually weaken your nails. Instead, file them in one direction.

Also, go easy on the sides of the nails since filing too much there can weaken the nail.

If you’ve tried multiple things for several weeks and haven’t noticed any change in your nails, see a dermatologist or another skin care professional. They can take a look at your nails and ask you questions about your routine and overall health.

If need be, they can prescribe a prescription-strength nail treatment that can help to strengthen your nails.

Our nails can send lots of messages to others, and weak or brittle nails may make you self-conscious. Thankfully, there are lots of things you can do to help strengthen your nails and improve them.

If you’ve tried various remedies and nothing helps, see your doctor. There might be an underlying condition causing thin or brittle nails, and only by treating the root cause will your nails be able to become strong again.