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Remedies for Weak and Thin Fingernails

Category Nail Tips
Weak, thin nails can be very frustrating. This is a guide about remedies for weak and thin fingernails.
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By 2 found this helpful
June 25, 2015

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.

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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May 23, 20171 found this helpful

Applying garlic directly to your nails may help to strengthen them. This is a guide about use garlic for stronger nails.

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By 1 found this helpful
July 17, 2013

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.

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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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December 12, 20161 found this helpful

This is a guide about what causes thin fingernails?. If you have thin nails it can be frustrating to determine why.

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September 22, 20161 found this helpful

This is a guide about remedies for brittle fingernails. Nutrition and health can effect the condition of your fingernails.

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December 13, 20160 found this helpful

This is a guide about white iodine for weak fingernails. Strengthen your fingernails safely with colorless iodine to bind the protein.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
May 5, 2005

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.

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TC from Virginia

Answers

May 5, 20050 found this helpful

I use "Hard As Nails" on my fingernails. Its a clear fingernail polish but it makes your nails strong. You can find it just about anywhere.

My mother always said that eating Jell-O is good for your fingernails too. I don't know if its true or not but its worth a try.

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By Darrel (Guest Post)
May 6, 20050 found this helpful

try soaking your nails in salt water two to three times a week, take a bowl of water fill it just enough to cover your fingers use about two tablespoons of salt preferably sea salt not iodized salt plain salt is fine, do this weekly until you find your nails getting stronger and they will also grow long, do this just before going to bed. then after you get the desired results maintain this about once or twice weekly, I do this on my nails and have achieved rave results also use lotions on your hands so your cuticles don't dry out as salt can dry them.

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By Barbara (Guest Post)
May 23, 20050 found this helpful

I also have weak fingernails yjat have ridges and peal. I would love to know why this happens and how can I fix it?

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May 24, 20050 found this helpful

Take calcium supplements. Or add more calcium to your diet. There are several other vitamins that help in nail growth, but I cannot think of them offhand, but calcium is definately the main one.

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By lee by the sea (Guest Post)
June 24, 20060 found this helpful

I am 37 years old and have always had weak finger nails. When I was about 14 , I asked my mom why my nails wouldn't grow very long, she went out and bought me Gelatin vitamins (tablets), I swear I noticed a differance the VERY NEXT DAY !!! It was just ever so slight , but from there, they kept getting stronger. You really do have to take them religiously or if you skip 1 or 2 days, they go back to how they used to be. It didn't make them grow to the sky, but it kept them hard and at a length that I could actually choose. I quit taking them, mostly because I would keep forgetting to buy the vitamins and then I did acrillics, and then I just said "forget it, I'm done !! I asked my mom how she knew that and she said her mother told her the exact same thing !!

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By Susan (Guest Post)
February 11, 20071 found this helpful

According to Heloise, white iodine applied daily for a week, then once a week thereafter will do wonders for "abused" nails--acrylic, gel, etc.

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I am trying it right now. Hopefully, I will see results soon.
You can easily order white iodine online. Good luck.

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By Janet (Guest Post)
March 19, 20070 found this helpful

where did you find white iodine? I've been looking for it and can't locate it. Send me an email at janetly at gmail dot com

Thanks!

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March 20, 20070 found this helpful

Yup, gelatin works. I haven't taken it in awhile but when I did, it did the trick.

I take calcium supplements already so that's not a problem. I suggest you do the same - there can be a multitude of reasons while your nails are soft/weak.

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By 1 found this helpful
January 23, 2015

How to make fingernails thicker and stronger?

By Mary

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By 1 found this helpful
April 2, 2011

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.

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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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February 1, 20120 found this helpful

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.

Answers

February 4, 20121 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
Best Answer

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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By 0 found this helpful
July 4, 2011

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 Elena Kesh from Skopje, Macedonia

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By 0 found this helpful
August 21, 2015

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.

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By 0 found this helpful
February 18, 2007

Why are the fingernails on my ring fingers weaker than the others?

Mary from Stockton, CA

Answers

February 18, 20070 found this helpful

It is possible that you may be taking care not to damage your rings, which in turn leaves those fingers less active and the nails are not getting the proper circulation needed to grow the nails stronger and longer.

I never had the problem. I've worn all sorts of rings, but never had the problem you are describing, however, I did read, today somewhere, that the nails on the less dominate hand are normally weaker than those on the dominate hand due to movement and circulation. To tell you how tough I've been on rings, I broke a diamond once. No idea how I managed it, but it had to be while helping my husband move metal, or while reaching into too tight of a place. I always thought diamonds were unbreakable, but that is untrue. I took the broken diamond to the jeweler and he tested it and it was real and broken. He couldn't believe it.

So use those fingers and create better circulation, hopefully that will help you.
Tina

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By Cole (Guest Post)
February 19, 20070 found this helpful

I asked my beautician this a long time ago and she said that if a nail is weak or breaks easily or splits, etc. that I had damaged it in the past. I find now that I am older, some of them are splitting and I just have to live with it. Did you know that to strengthen your nails and to keep them from splitting you use a crystal file (mine cost 2.98) and file one direction curling it up and over the nail, which protects it. My nails now grow out for the first time in over 30 years.

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By SheilaMay (Guest Post)
February 20, 20070 found this helpful

It may be that you are allergic to nickel, which is a component of the metal in some rings, or that you have left traces of jewelry cleaner on your jewelry. You can strenghthen your nails over time by lightly (and I stress lightly) tapping them on a hard surface for a short period of time daily. This helps improve circulation to your nail beds. When using a nailfile, look for one made with diamond dust called Diamond Deb, which is much finer, less harmful to your nails and much faster than ordinary files.

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June 2, 20120 found this helpful

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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November 7, 20130 found this helpful

I try and grow my nails out and they do, but at a point they just break. What can I do? Also as it grows it pushes towards my nail bud.

By Elaine

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

December 8, 20090 found this helpful

Does anyone know of any fingernail strengthening product that really works? All my life I've had pathetic weak, short nails and it seems like I've tried everything but nothing really works so I can grow nice nails of my own. If there's anything out there that works, I'd love to know about it. Thanks to all.

Bonnie from Tuckerton, NJ

Answers:

Remedies for Weak and Thin Fingernails

I buy the suave extreme strength for your hair. It's a leave in treatment (that's around 2.50 a bottle), and I rub it onto my fingernails every day. It's for strengthening weak hair, but hair and nails are made up of the same thing, and I find that it works tremendously. I can even use my fingernails to open soda cans now. It is definitely a product I will always keep on hand. (07/17/2007)

By Annabelle

Remedies for Weak and Thin Fingernails

You can dip your fingernails in Glycerin for 10 min everyday before going to bed. You can also dip your nails in extra virgin Olive Oil for 15 min everyday before going to bed. It'll really strengthen your nails. (07/18/2007)

By Lyon

Remedies for Weak and Thin Fingernails

I have found that cuticle massage cream does a great job at both strengthening nails AND getting them to grow with a consistent application of 2 times per day. Apply not only to your cuticles, but also your nails.

And it doesn't take much. This 4 oz. container has lasted me several months, at a cost of only $2. Look for the sales. (07/28/2007)

By Kiki

Remedies for Weak and Thin Fingernails

For my weak, peeling nails, I soak them in Extra Virgin Olive Oil for just a couple of minutes once or twice a week, and it really works to help strengthen them. No expensive cuticle creams required. And you'll probably find it in your kitchen cupboard! (09/01/2007)

By Trish

Remedies for Weak and Thin Fingernails

Try taking coral calcium (has to be coral). Takes about 3 mos., but taking 1-2 a day will give you long, strong fingers. (03/14/2008)

By Boo

Remedies for Weak and Thin Fingernails

WARNING: Please never use Nail Tek!

I have very thin and weak nails, too. And after years of silk wraps and nail treatments, the lady that does my nails put Nail Tek on them. Everyone agreed that it was the best thing they had ever tried. I should have looked at their nails first (they all had pretty normal nails to begin with). After about 3-4 minutes, my nails felt really hot. Then came the throbbing pain. It truly felt like someone was continuously taking a hammer to my fingers. This pain lasted a little more than an hour (even though they took off the product when I complained it felt hot). The only relief I got was when I literally passed out from the pain!

Please, if you truly have thin nails that can flex easily, never use Nail Tek! (07/28/2008)

By Lindsay

Remedies for Weak and Thin Fingernails

I have weak damaged nails from long time acrylic and a nail biting habit. Recently I came across a book called, "Uncommon Cures for Everyday Ailments" from the Editors of Bottom Line/Health. It says, "For stronger, longer nails spread Castor oil into nails and cuticles every night before bed to reduce cracking and breaking. For flexible nails use Vaseline or Crisco before bed rubbing into nails and cuticles.

Also, it says to rub Retin A or Renova a little bit on nails for cell regeneration. Or if nails grow slowly, try rubbing them with Comfrey oil (a cell re-generator, it can help speed up the growth process giving you longer, stronger nails).

I like someone's quote above to try Suave extreme strength leave in treatment because that's right. Hair and nails are made from the same stuff. This article in the book also recommends to use latex gloves while washing dishes and working with chemicals, because water and chemicals damage the fingernails. I've tried the Castor oil as moisturizer, it has been healing the nail bed damage from years of acrylic use. Thank you for all your suggestions. I will try them too. Lots of luck to all of you. (09/29/2008)

By Michelle

Remedies for Weak and Thin Fingernails

I bought the White Iodine yesterday. It has a strong smell, but I decided to put it on before I go to bed so I won't have to concentrate on the smell. I was wondering if I can use this on top of nail polish? This is the first time in 31 years that I see my natural nails long. I'm so excited to keep the length, but I want them to be strong at the same time. (12/28/2008)

By alex.

Remedies for Thin Fingernails

I have been biting my nails for the longest time and finally I stopped, but my nails always seemed flimsy and broke very easy. My grandma always had strong nails and I asked her how to get my nails that strong, and her answer was simple and really inexpensive; garlic! She told me to stab my nails in the garlic and rub them on the top of my nails, and to be honest, it really works! No lie. Only one set back, the smell! (02/04/2009)

By Former Nail Bitter

Remedies for Weak and Thin Fingernails

My wife and I started drinking green tea and dramatically reducing the carbohydrates in our diets (no potatoes, rice, less bread, less sugar) a couple of months ago. We both experienced a totally unexpected result; that our fingernails became substantially thicker and stronger. Was it the tea or the diet change? We don't know. Also, rubbing oil (olive, Vaseline, etc.) into the nails (at bedtime is best) will moisturize your nails, resulting in making them look terrific and also making them more flexible. (02/16/2009)

By Robert

Remedies for Weak and Thin Fingernails

I had the same problem. I apply finger nail polish to them. The "Hard as Nails" kind by Sally Hansen, clear or colored. It helps protect the nails so they want break. It's worth the money. (06/08/2009)

By kathleen williams

Remedies for Weak and Thin Fingernails

Regarding the post that says "Please never use Nail Tek!":

This is one of the best nail products even better than OPI. I think the problem was years of silk wraps. I highly recommend the Nail Tek line, as it's well worth it. You should use the oil they sell and the ridge filler next, followed by whatever clear coat meets your nail's needs. You can get them at the Christmas Tree stores now. The product has helped my nails, and I have turned the product on to many girls at work. None of them reported any problems. (11/20/2009)

By annette

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July 17, 20070 found this helpful
Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
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April 2, 20110 found this helpful

My nails are so soft that they bend. I've never been able to grow them long because they just wear away.

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January 21, 20100 found this helpful

I have a really bad habit of biting my nails. They are really thin and don't grow at all. Does anyone know some home remedies to get my nails to grow and be the healthy, beautiful nails that I have never had?

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