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Remedies for Weak and Thin Fingernails

Weak, thin nails can be very frustrating. This is a guide about remedies for weak and thin fingernails.

Weak and Thin Fingernails
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August 6, 2007 Flag
4 found this helpful

I have received so many great tips and information from this site that I thought I was over-due for a pay-back.

Ladies, for those of us who have weak, soft, splitting fingernails, listen up! Buy a bottle of White Iodine (at Wal-Mart or any pharmacy-it can be ordered). It is also very inexpensive - $1.49.


Coat nails every day for a week and then a couple of times a week afterwards. It binds the protein of the nail (or something) but it will make them harder. You will not believe it. It truly works! Try it--you will love it!

By Nolasandy from New Orleans, LA

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February 1, 2012 Flag
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I just took the false nails off my finger nails and my nails are tender and weak. What can I do to strengthen them?

By Audrey W.

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February 4, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

I take a biotin supplement, the stuff is fantastic for hair and nails! I used to get mine in WalMart, and I also found HoofMaker there.

It's officially a hoof treatment for horses but is perfectly safe for human use on finger nails. You'll find it in the pet section.

Use a Q-Tip to apply it to your nails just before bed and let it soak in overnight-very quick results to repair a damaged nail bed. Huge economical jar, too, and it smells great!

I got that tip, btw, from a nail tech years ago when acrylic nails were the big rage. I was so excited when I was having the things applied-until she warned me that I should save myself some money and get HoofMaker instead the salon's hideously expensive ointment to repair the inevitable nail bed damage when the nails came off. Nail bed damage?! Unfortunately all ten nails had already been applied.

Hoo boy, I did get the HoofMaker, wore the nails until they could safely be removed (about a week I think), and then I never had those UN-fabulous fakes applied again!

My fingertips hurt for several days after those things came off. The HoofMaker did help, easing the bed and healing my nails quickly. Plus I noticed the HoofMaker did really nice things for my nails and the nail bed after the healing was complete. Been using that or a similar product ever since, and I have lovely strong nails. Here in the UK I get Hoof-Treat from the tack shop, looks, smells, and works the same as the HoofMaker.

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February 4, 20120 found this helpful
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I've never really been into painting my nails or growing them long. Probably because I was always building something instead. However, two of my older sisters did and both were beauticians. They would buy Knox Gelatin made just for fingernails. They would mix it with water and drink it. They did have lovely nails. You can buy that in a grocery store in with the regular Jello.

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April 2, 2011 Flag
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I am trying to strengthen my weak and flimsy fingernails. I take vitamins daily (multivitamin, folic acid, biotin, and some prescription medications) and I can grow my nails, but they bend so easily.

I take a shower and they rip on the towel, or snag. I am tired of wearing bandages on my fingers due to the tearing. They bend so easily, that when I was in beauty school, I hated working on hair, since I knew that my nails would be torn to bits.

I have tried every strengthener known to man, I eat healthy, have recently lost 50+ pounds, and am not hard on my nails. I have polycystic ovary syndrome (a hormone and fertility problem) and weak nails don't run in the family, my sister has egg shell nails, they curl, and what not. I don't have a picture to go with this, I have overlays on my nails now, so they don't tear.

My nails don't need to breath, they are not alive, just like our hair, they both grow, but are not living things. So please refrain from telling me my nails need to breath, because they do not. I went to cosmetology school, and we learned all there is to know about nails.

Any tips thought would be great. I'm sick of spending $$ on no good products. I have OPI Nail Envy, and that does little good. Any ideas would be helpful, home remedies, or anything. I can't even soak my nails for a mani since they are so thin, they just tear off.

By Torrie from Vaughnsville, OH

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Anonymous Flag
November 13, 20150 found this helpful

You are very correct about everything you said but keep in mind you are talking in mg not mcg which is what biotin comes in. Even 5000 mcg is only equal to something like 5 mg. So a person would have to be taking a bottle or more a day to overdose.

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July 14, 20160 found this helpful

Have u checked your thyroid?...hypothyroid causes thin weak nails amongst other things

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January 23, 2015 Flag
1 found this helpful

How to make fingernails thicker and stronger?

By Mary

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January 26, 20150 found this helpful

After having strong nails for 60 years I now find that they tend to break and chip. I have been using a nail strengthening polish from the drug store. It is inexpensive and seems to help. Why don't you give that a try first, before you start ingesting vitamins, etc.

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February 20, 20150 found this helpful

You better eat dried fish and small fresh fish to add more calsium and protein to your food. Take supplements usually contain vitamins A, C, D, E, as well as many B vitamins, and folic acid, zinc, iron, calcium and biotin. Making sure you have a good intake of omega 3 oils can also reduce your risk of weak, brittle nails.

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June 25, 2015 Flag
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As a recent avid nail biter, I have found a solution to help grow nails that is not only inexpensive but natural and healthy. My nails were really thin (I was able to bend them without pain) and would chip and peel.Pushing back cuticles

Here is my solution: I use NutriNail 5 to 7 day nail growth treatment twice a day (morning and evening). Once dry, I apply a Vitamin E nail and cuticle oil and massage into cuticles and nail surfaces. To help with strength, I use a nail hardener once a day.

These products can be found at your local Wal-Mart: NutriNail is around $4.50, Sally Hansen Nail and Cuticle Oil is around $5.00, and Sally Hansen Nail Hardener is also around $5.00.

Also, having a healthy diet does help nails grow faster and stronger. This includes drinking plenty of water! A vitamin regimen can also be beneficial as taking Biotin (Vitamin B6). Other supplements that have been shown to be successful are Keratin and prenatal vitamins for hair and nail growth since both hair and nails are made of Keratin.

It is also beneficial to gently file your nails (in the same direction) once a week. It does the same thing that a trim to your hair does; it stimulates the nail causing it to grow a little faster.

If you frequently place your hands in water, such as doing the dishes, it is advised to wear gloves because the water can strip nails of natural oils that are essential for growth and strength. The same can be said regarding nail polish removers and dark color polishes. I would recommend a 180 or 200 grit nail file (fine), which can be found at Wal-Mart, dollar stores, and beauty supply stores.

One last tip, if you have short nails or short nail beds, DO NOT TRIM CUTICLES! This can be detrimental to the nail and cause weakness. It is best to gently push cuticles back. This not only keeps the nails healthy and free of bacteria but also helps in the growth process. Do not worry if nails are translucent as they grow as Keratin is naturally translucent. If your nails are white, it could signify that are dry. In this instance, use a hand lotion to soften hands and hydrate nails.

To wrap this up:

  • Apply growth treatment (which contains green tea extract) 2x daily (not necessary)
  • Apply nail and cuticle oil once daily (preferably before bed)
  • Apply lotion
  • Avoid water, polish remover, and dark polishes
  • Gently file once a week (same direction)
  • Drink lots of water and maintain a healthy diet
  • Take vitamins (B6, Keratin, or prenatals, again this is not necessary)
  • DO NOT TRIM CUTICLES if you have short nails

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    August 21, 2015 Flag
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    My nails are super short and thin. If I grow them out, they don't stick to my actual finger which makes them super easy the bend. When I do grow them out, which for me is not even enough to reach the tips of my fingers, they are white and brittle.

    closeup of nails
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      August 25, 20150 found this helpful

      Try using Coconut oil, used for cooking. Coconut Oil is a very useful

      for many uses. Rub into your nails and cuticles every day, 2 or 3 times if you can. Keep in a cool place away from heat. Type in Coconut Oil then images.

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      August 26, 20150 found this helpful

      Louise B, no I have no serious health problems other than frequent migraines which I don't think would have anything to do with my nails. Thank you!!!:)

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      June 8, 2009 Flag
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      What causes thin fingernails?

      By ahandy45

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      June 22, 20090 found this helpful

      I had this problem for 2 to 3 years. I read on another forum about Nailtiques Formula is a protein formula. I started seeing results in 3 weeks. Put it on everyday. My nails are great. It is $17 for a large bottle or $10 for a small one. It is worth every penny. Especially since I spent a ton of money on so many other products. The only place I have seen it is Walgreen's and CVS Pharmacy.

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      October 6, 20090 found this helpful

      Try Nail Envy Nail Strengthener Original by OPI. Worked great for my thin nails

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      July 4, 2011 Flag
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      I used to bite my nails for years, and now that I finally stopped, whenever I try to grow them out, they keep on breaking. Also they chip very easily. The tips of my nails aren't white but see through.

      This is very annoying, and I can't leave them unpainted. I read that this may be caused due to lack of calcium, but I drink a lot of milk, and it doesn't seem to help. What do I have to do to improve my nails and make them stronger?

      I wasn't able to include a photo right now, but I'll try to if that'll help.

      By Ekikate123 from Skopje, Macedonia

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      July 10, 20110 found this helpful

      My nails were great when I was a teenager and into my twenties. We then moved from California to the East Coast and my nails slowly begin to get worse. They finallly got so bad that my nails were splitting and peeling off in layers like nail polish and seemed very thin. It finally dawned on me that I used hand lotions constantly when living in Southern California due to the very dry weather. My hands never seemed to need hand lotion after we moved to the East Coast which is very humid where we live. I now slather hand lotion on several times a day and especially after showering or doing dishes and my nails are looking better and getting stronger day by day.

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      July 14, 20110 found this helpful

      First, check with your doctor to see if there is an underlying medical condition. But otherwise . . .

      Two inexpensive and highly effective treatments; 1) vitamin B6, (biotin) 2.5 mg once daily and, 2) nail/cuticle oil, this will keep the oils in the nails and the water out, water actually splits the nails.

      The nail oil needs to be brushed on (it takes about 15 seconds) and around the cuticle, nail bed, tip, under nail and skin surrounding the nail at least twice a day, let sit for one minute then lightly rub into surrounding fingertips/fingers/hands, 1 hour after hands are not in water, and 1/2 hour after, keep hands/nails out of water. (While first treating your nails wear gloves as much as possible. Try to bathe or do dishes 30 minutes AFTER the oil application.)

      "Oil" nails minimally twice a day; many find the most convenient times first thing in morning and then late afternoon an hour before preparing food (to keep nails out of water). I make my own nail oil, in old empty nail oil bottles, adding a little vitamin E & a little antibacterial/antifungal (like teatree oil) shake and you've saved yourself 8 dollars a bottle! While first applying the nail oil, you need to grow out the old damaged nail, the nails grow in fibers that once ripped or split keep moving into the quick (like a run in your hose), so keep them trimmed very, very short, and file with a nail tek crystal file (or better) until the damage is grown out; then you can grow some length and you should be much better than you're at now.

      For upkeep use nail oil (or with nail polish on the cuticle and under nail) about twice a week, you'll soon know what your particular nails require. I also do hot manicures once or twice a week, I just zap a little oil in a tiny bowl for 30 seconds and soak fingertips for a minimum of 5 minutes, it is very relaxing. (PS buy the oil less expensively in a food store, you can use almond, olive (I do not like this smell), grapeseed, or soybean oil, whatever vegetable oil you prefer.) I also save my manicure oil (storing it in a small bottle) and give my hair a hot oil treatment once or twice a month, it's a great hair conditioner. So I actually use every drop.

      These both will work for most people, but both also will take time. Vitamin B6 treatment can take 6 months to a year (you already know how fast or slow your nails grow) to see an increase in nail thickness. Oil treatment, you may see improvement within weeks, but dramatic within months.

      Good luck!

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      May 5, 2005 Flag
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      I was wondering if anyone has any ideas for something that is good to use for soft, weak fingernails. Mine are so soft that I can bend them forward. Any ideas will be appreciated.

      TC from Virginia

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      February 26, 20090 found this helpful

      I'm wondering how long Darrel soaked his/her nails in salt water each time?

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      July 13, 20130 found this helpful

      I found something at Walmart that does wonders for my nails - 5 to 7 day growth formula. It actually works, but I haven't found anything that works for Harding my nails. Please help.

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      July 17, 2013 Flag
      1 found this helpful

      I had really badly bitten nails, they were horrible! If you want really strong long gorgeous nails, here's my secret. First, stop all nail bitting, nail polish removers and dark colored nail polish. Try more nude colors, they won't stain nails or have harsh ingredients.

      Now that's done, you are ready. This is what I do for my nails; Biotin and a nail treatment top coat with a garlic base. I take 5000 mcg of biotin daily. My brand is cheap Rexall, $5.00 at Dollar General and my garlic base top coat (G1Nail treatment) is only $1.25 at a beauty supply store. I also soak my nails in water with salt and any vegetable oil I have on hand. I soak them at least twice a day, soaking for 15 minutes day and night. That's only 30 minutes out of your day. It's worth it, your nails need to refresh daily. However, I recommend olive oil for a more better result.

      I massage my nails with a vibrating tool, anything that vibrates. I do this at any time of the day. I bought one from Walgreens. It's use is for stress but I just hold it when my hands are free. I find that it also makes my hair grow. True Story LBVS! The vibrations helps circulate the blood in your nails and hands. Although you must continue to massage a oil base into the cuticles and use a moisturizer to keep nails nourished.

      Drink plenty of water as well. The biotin intake will need more water intake daily, around 64 oz. Water is also a good source for growing anything! I hope this helps. My nails have been growing for two weeks now with my own system and it really works. Try and enjoy the beautiful nails God wants you to have. God Bless everyone (:

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        June 2, 2012 Flag
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        My finger nails just all of the sudden are really thin. They have always been hard as a rock and healthy. What happened to them? or what is the cause of them to getting so thin, weak, and transparent?

        By Victoria

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        June 3, 20120 found this helpful

        I have always worn clear nail polish on my finger nails and that helps a lot. If your body is going through a lot of changes that could be the reason. I go through stages when my nails are weak and I have to cut them too. Just hang in there, they will get better.

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        June 4, 20120 found this helpful

        My nails used to be hard too and I've found now that I've gotten older they have become more brittle. Not certain but I think it may come with age in my case.

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