How to Naturally Strengthen Nails

Amanda Bellantoni
by Amanda Bellantoni
5 Minutes

If you’re frustrated by the appearance of your nails and wonder why your nails peel often, this tutorial is for you!

I’ll share with you how to naturally strengthen your nails by tackling the causes of those peeling, weak nails.

Peeling nails

Our genetic makeup contributes to the type of nails that we have. But there are still a lot of ways to make them healthier and stronger.

Why are my nails peeling?

There are 5 culprits that might be contributing to your peeling nails.

Culprit 1: Poor filing

One of the common reasons we see peeling nails is from incorrect filing.

If you’ve been filing your nail in a back and forth motion, this encourages splitting and peeling, especially if you use a gritty, abrasive nail file.

Filing nails

Instead, work with a crystal or glass nail file. It might take a bit longer to file your nails, but it is much gentler and safer, even with the back and forth motion.

Be sure to find a quality nail file that will last you a long time. Unlike traditional nail files, crystal and glass files are easy to sterilize and keep clean. 

Filing nails

Culprit 2: Fingertip wear

We do so many tasks daily that involve our fingers, so naturally, this wears down the nails.

Say this with me: “Nails are jewels, not tools!”

If you are using your nails to pick, scrape, peel (not your fingertips, but your nails), then this could contribute to nail peeling.

If you typically have a manicure and you notice the polish peeling at the tip, this is your first sign that your nails could begin peeling as well.

Typing on laptop

How can we prevent nail peeling from fingertip wear? First, make sure your manicures don’t chip!

If you see that your polish is starting to peel, remove it immediately. Or if you don’t have time to remove it, add a top coat on the chipped area to seal it.

Removing nail polish

Second, get used to relying less on your nails to do the job of tools. Get yourself some real tools instead for these everyday tasks.


Culprit 3: Water

Believe it or not, water can be detrimental to nail health.

Nails absorb water more easily than the skin, and repeated exposure can cause the nails to split and peel. This is something that nurses, housekeepers and hairdressers certainly understand!

When nails are submerged in water for an extended period, the nail cells expand and contract, changing the shape of the nails.

Nails in water

How can we prevent nail damage from exposure to water? The answer is to better protect our nails.

For starters, try to keep them polished. The polish provides a barrier that prevents the water from absorbing. Even just a base coat will work, if you don’t like having colored nails.

And don’t forget to cap the edges of your nails when applying polish. This is the first point of entry where peeling begins, so you need to seal it. 

Manicured nails

Another way to protect your nails from water is to wear gloves when washing and cleaning. Keep a quality pair of rubber gloves by the sink and your nails (and skin) will reap the benefits.

Culprit 4: Too little moisture

I know this sounds contradictory to the previous culprit, but there is a fine line between too much and too little moisture in your nails. Dry nails are prone to breaking, splitting and peeling.

My favorite way to tend to dry nails is with cuticle oil. Apply some to your cuticle beds to hydrate, repair and renew your nails.

Applying cuticle oil

Culprit 5: Trauma

The final reason for peeling nails is injury to the area.

Let's say you broke a nail opening a package or jammed your finger in the car door. If you experienced any kind of trauma to the nail that caused it to break or chip, you may see some peeling following that experience. 

Chipped nail

There is a way to treat the breakage before it worsens. Start by trimming or filing it down so that it’s even, using your crystal file. Then make sure the nail is polished and oiled.

How to naturally strengthen nails

We can’t prevent all damage to our fingernails - we use our hands constantly! The key is to train yourself to use your nails more carefully.

Remember the tips that I shared to naturally strengthen your nails as preventative measures.

In time, you will notice your nails becoming longer and stronger. The weak, peeling nails will be a thing of the past! 

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