How can you treat weak and brittle nails?

How can you treat weak and brittle nails?

Medically reviewed and approved by Nataniel Josue Alvarez M.D.

When you break a nail, it can cause sadness and disappointment. It is frustrating, when, after a manicure that looks perfect, the nail falls off or breaks quickly. As a consequence, the color you have applied is ruined. How can you treat weak and brittle nails? Well, after a thorough investigation I will tell you how:

When treating weak and brittle nails, the first thing you must do is change your eating habits, which will influence their repair. Also, use a nail strengthener base, protect your hands with gloves daily when doing the housework, and protect them from aggressive chemicals that weaken them.

As well as these solutions, there may be other problems that you should identify: a poor diet, age, or dermatological problems.

Therefore, in this article, I will try to explain and show you the most effective treatments so that you can forget about weak and brittle nails.

Table of Contents

Why are my nails so weak and brittle?

Why are my nails so weak and brittle?

Most of the structure of the nail is composed of the protein known as keratin. To naturally produce this keratin, we must eat white and red meats, fish, and low-fat dairy products. For the nails to grow healthy and strong, you should also consume enough Vitamin A, B, C, amino acids, and minerals.

If the nails become weaker it can be due to several factors and habits harmful to them, such as:

Poor nutrition

Poor nutrition is the leading cause of the weakening of the nails. A poor diet causes a deficit of vitamins that negatively influences nail formation.

The nail is affected when there is a deficiency of iron. It is also affected by lacking some B vitamins and Vitamin A. Due to these deficiencies, the nail becomes weak, broken, and detached.


Aging is a factor that affects the nails and causes the nail plates to come off.


The weakening of the nails can occur by contact with chemicals such as:

  • Detergents.
  • Bleach.
  • Nail polish remover with acetone.
  • Some hardeners.
  • Aggressive manicures that damage the cuticle.


Some diseases of the hormonal system, such as hypothyroidism, are associated with weak and brittle nails. Also, dermatological illnesses affect them, such as nail psoriasis, lichen planus, or fungi in the nails.

Small traumas

Also, small traumas such as: using the computer keyboard, biting your nails frequently, continually putting your hand into tight gloves, manipulating objects, can be causes of nail weakness.

You may be interested in "How to grow your nails fast and strong naturally, 10 tips that actually work." 

How to strengthen weak and brittle nails naturally

Use hand and nail moisturizer

To maintain hydration of the nail, apply the right moisturizing hand and nail cream. There are also specific creams to help treat weak and brittle nails.

Use oils and bases to strengthen the nails

With these oils and nutritive bases, the nails are strengthened. They should be applied daily to clean nails without nail polish. I recommend using a product containing Vitamin B5, minerals, and calcium that strengthens and protects the nail.

Use non-acetone nail polish remover

The nail polish remover should be acetone-free as acetone is an aggressive chemical for the nail. You should also reduce the number of times you have a manicure or paint the nail with nail polish. These treatments leave them more sensitive and fragile.

Wash your hands frequently

Wash your hands with water and mild pH neutral, or low acid soap, that respects the skin's oily layer. Choose hand soap with a pH similar to that of your skin and apply a moisturizing cream every time you wash your hands. Apply the moisturizing cream to the cuticle and the areas around the nail.

Protect your hands and nails with gloves 

When carrying out everyday domestic tasks, protect your hands with gloves. Gloves are essential to prevent your nails from coming into contact with water and other cleaning products. These products are harmful because they are composed of chemicals that attack the nails.

Do not file the sides of your nails

To prevent the sides of the nails from breaking, don’t let them get too long, and do not file the sides. This point is essential so as not to weaken that area where they commonly tear and break.

Maintain a balanced diet

You should increase consumption of spinach, wheat germ, gelatin, milk, egg, dark leafy vegetables, avocado, liver, sweet potato.

These foods help strengthen the nails leaving them more robust and less brittle. This strengthening occurs because they are foods rich in Vitamin A, B2, C, D, pantothenic acid, or Vitamin B5, protein, calcium, or iron.

Beware of the polishing block

The polishing block is useful for smoothing the nail and giving it a shiny look. A mistake that we often make is to file the top layer of the nail too much. This process wears it down, refines its surface, and makes it break more easily.

Avoid semi-permanent nail polish

Another tip is to avoid painting your nails for an extended period with semi-permanent nail polish. These products are quite corrosive and tend to damage them a lot.

You may be interested in "How to strengthen the nails of your hands, 7 tricks."

Good foods to strengthen weak and brittle nails 

Red meat

Red meat is rich in protein and iron, and it is highly recommended to maintain the levels of these essential nutrients.

Red Fruits

Red fruits are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, which help strengthen and prevent nails from breaking. Perhaps one of the best red fruits is the blueberry.

Other excellent foods

  • Vitamin B and Vitamin E are ideal for nail care.
  • Beer vitamin. Rich in proteins and B vitamins, it also contains a good composition of amino acids.
  • Flax seeds and nuts.
  • Salmon.
  • Almonds.
  • Egg.
  • Avocado.
  • Green vegetables such as chard, spinach.
  • Mollusks like mussels and cockles.
  • Milk. It keeps nails healthy and strong due to the calcium and Vitamin D it contains.

Home treatments for weak and brittle nails

  • Use disposable plastic gloves or cotton-lined rubber gloves. The gloves will protect your hands from water and chemicals.
  • Apply a moisturizer before going to bed. Apply a moisturizing lotion directly to the nails. Then cover your hand with a white cotton glove or sock.
  • To stop water evaporating from the nail, apply nail polish, do not remove it, and reapply it more than once a week. The nail polish can avoid cracking and breaking of the nail if you use it frequently.
  • If you think your nail problem is caused by nail polish, nail varnish, or adhesives, try not to use them.

Home remedies to strengthen nails

How can you treat weak and brittle nails?

Rosehip oil

Rosehip oil is one of the best moisturizing and repair oils.

  1. Apply it before going to sleep.
  2. Place this oil on the cuticle and the rest of the hands like a moisturizing cream.
  3. If you see that the cuticle is dehydrated, cover the hands with cotton gloves or transparent kitchen film. By doing this, you will provide extra hydration.

Homemade strengthening enamel

If you don't have nail polish, you can do it at home with a normal one. Put crushed garlic inside the clear nail polish. You can use it as a base.

Olive oil

Olive oil is extremely beneficial for maintaining healthy skin and nails. That is due to its content of essential fatty acids and vitamins that nourish them.


1/2 cup of olive oil


  •  Place the olive oil in a container and soak the nails for 15 minutes. Then rinse your hands with plenty of water and dry them thoroughly.
  • Another alternative is to soak the nails in heated olive oil to keep them hydrated and prevent them from weakening or breaking.

Olive oil and aloe vera


  • 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel
  • 3 drops of virgin olive oil


  1. In a bowl, mix the aloe vera gel with the drops of virgin olive oil.
  2. Then dip the nails, allowing the mixture to be absorbed by them.

Olive oil, egg, and honey


  • 1 big spoonful of olive oil.
  • 1 big spoonful of honey.
  • Egg yolk (only one).


  1. In a bowl, mix well all the ingredients until obtaining a homogeneous paste.
  2. Apply to the nails and let it work for 30 minutes.
  3. You should apply this mixture 2 or 3 times a week.

Almond and egg oil

With this remedy, you repair and strengthen the nails which contribute to antioxidants, vitamins, and proteins.


  • 1 spoonful of raw egg yolk.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of almond oil.


Mix the ingredients in a bowl and soak the nails for 30 minutes.

Raw onion

  1. Cut a large onion in half and make a hole.
  2. Put the nail in there for 15 minutes.
  3. Then wash your hands.
  4. I advise doing this at night because the smell can get into the nails.

Onion paste

  1. Choose a small onion and chop it into small squares, and then mash it until you get a puree.
  2. Apply it to the nails and let it work for at least 10 minutes until the paste is dry.
  3. Repeat this treatment a couple of times a week.

Castor oil

Castor oil is an ideal source of vitamins for the nails. With its daily use, it fights dryness and weakness so that they grow healthy.


  • 1/4 cup of castor oil.
  • 1 piece of cotton.

Procedure: soak a cotton disk in the castor oil and apply it to the nails with a light massage.

Lemon and bicarbonate

Bicarbonate is a product that helps nails grow naturally. Make a mixture of lemon juice and bicarbonate, soak the nails at least twice a day. If you want to moisturize your fingers and nails, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. The bicarbonate will also help you whiten nails that are yellow and weak.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a home remedy that has many benefits for brittle and weak nails. Apple cider vinegar contains many nutrients, iron, and vitamins, which prevent nail infections. Soak your nails for 5 or 10 minutes in the cider vinegar, and you will have great results.

Homemade nail hardener

With this homemade hardener, you will bring several benefits to your nails. Vitamin E offers health and strength, protects the body from free radicals that cause tissue degeneration. Garlic is a natural ingredient to strengthen the nail, fighting fragility, bacteria, and mycosis. The lemon restores the nail little by little.


  • 3 peeled garlic cloves.
  • Vitamin E.
  • Nail polish (natural shine).


  1. Prick the Vitamin E capsule with a needle.
  2. Put the liquid in the nail polish bottle.
  3. Then soak the garlic cloves for 15 minutes in hot water.
  4. When it cools down, grind it into a homogeneous paste.
  5. Then introduce the nail polish bottle and add the drops of lemon juice to the mixture.
  6. Every time you use it, do it for three days and then let the nail breathe for one day.

You may be interested in "How can I make my natural nails look nice? 10 Tips"

Natural oils to strengthen the nails

Avocado oil

This oil balances the nails' pH and improves their texture while providing many vitamins and minerals. To apply it, soak a cotton disk with this oil on your nails when you go to bed. Using it before bedtime will promote nighttime cellular respiration. It is best to apply this daily.

Wheat germ oil

This oil contains a great source of vitamins that strengthen the nails. When combined with castor oil, it will be greatly beneficial for treating broken and split nails.

Mix both oils in a jar with cotton and rub it on the nails before going to sleep.

Rosemary Oil

Rosemary oil is beneficial for hardening the nail, giving it shine, and removing yellow color. Also, thanks to its properties, it fights bacteria and fungi. Combine this oil with a little olive oil and place it on your nails daily.

Almond oil

Almond oil is ideal for removing fragile nails and making them grow. Thanks to its nutritional capacity, it helps to strengthen the nail and make it softer. What you should do is moisten a cotton ball with this oil and apply it around the nail.

Jojoba oil

Jojoba oil conditions the nail due to its high content of linoleic acid, vitamins, and ceramides. Apply every day to sensitive and dry cuticles.

You may be interested in "What are the different manicure types?"


To change your nails' structure, closely follow the care and advice that I presented in this article. As a result, you will achieve strong and healthy nails.

Finally, you have to be consistent in every care to achieve the best results.

Informative note. For the realization and research for this article, only trusted sources were used.