Q: Why Are My Nails So Weak?

Find out the answer to this reader question, then ask TotalBeauty.com editors and experts to solve your biggest beauty problems

This question comes from a member who posted on our message boards: Q: "I've always had strong and long nails, until now. They keep breaking and have become very fragile. I would like to know if anybody has any advice about what products will REALLY strengthen my nails." -- TotalBeauty.com member annabella

A: Stop bad habits Your nails could be breaking for a variety of reasons. Let's start with the basics: Do you use your nails as tools (to pry open soda cans, etc.)? Do you wash dishes without wearing gloves? Do you like to grow your nails long? Do you bite your nails or pick at your cuticles? If you answered "yes" to any of the questions above, you're putting your nails at risk. All of these activities can cause nails to wear thin and split as well as damage the nail bed, so if you do them, stop immediately and follow celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann's advice: "Think of hand care the same way you think of skin care." Next: Baby your nails Deborah Lippmann, creator of the Lippmann Collection A: Baby your nails Every time you put on hand cream, use it to moisturize your nails too. Use a cuticle oil to moisturize the cuticle, which is the tissue that overlaps your nail plate at the base of your nail. It protects the new keratin cells that slowly emerge from the nail bed, according to Mayo Clinic experts. For intense night treatment, slather on a moisturizer before bed and cover hands with cotton spa gloves (try Sephora Moisturizing Gloves, $8 ) Next: Always use a top coat. Sephora Moisturizing Gloves A: Always use a top coat Extend the life of your polish and protect unpolished nails with a good top coat. Celebrity nail artist Jenna Hipp recommends Orly Magnifique, $5.99 : "Definitely a must-have for consistently beautiful and luminous nails. Not only does this refresh your nails, its formula works to make nails stronger." Avoid products that contain sulfonamide or formaldehyde and keep nail polish remover use down to twice a month max. (Removers strip natural oil and moisture from your nails, which can cause them to separate, split and peel over time.) Next: More top-rated nail care products to try Orly Magnifique A: More top nail care products to try Try using the following products -- all highly rated by our users -- to nurse your nails back to good health: Sally Hansen Nail Growth Miracle, $7.99 Orly Nail Defense, $8.25 Sally Hansen Triple Strong Advanced Gel Nail Fortifier, $5.99 PHYTO Phytophanere Dietary Supplements For Hair, Nails, Skin and Lashes, $50 According to Mayo Clinic experts, nails grow about 0.1 millimeter a day, which means that it takes a fingernail about four to six months to fully regenerate. Keep this in mind while trying new products. Next: A: See a doctor if... Sally Hansen Nail Growth Miracle A: See a doctor if... You've tried the solutions you just read about and your nails still seem unhealthy. Healthy nails are smooth, uniform in color and consistency and free of spots or discoloration. If you see vertical ridges, which can grow more prominent with age, or occasional white spots or lines, which are caused by damage, don't pick up the phone just yet. These are generally harmless and will grow out. (Pro tip: You can smooth vertical ridges gently and bring out a healthy-looking shine with a nail buffer such as CND Glossing Block, $3.50 , but do this no more than once a week.) If you have nail discoloration, horizontal indentations or if weak nails persist despite your best efforts, see your doctor as there may be a medical explanation such as protein deficiency. Next: Ask your own question CND Glossing Block Ask TotalBeauty.com Want more expert advice? Post your beauty questions on our Ask a Beauty Question message board or e-mail them to us at asktotalbeauty@totalbeauty.com, then stay tuned for more answers like these. Q: How Can I Improve Crepey Skin? Funky Nail Emergencies Solved Top Do-It-Yourself Pedicure Tips Subject Subject Subject Message Message Message http://www.google.com /content/package/c_weak_nails/

Products Mentioned in This Story

Sally Hansen Nail Growth Miracle Serum

Average Member Rating: 7.8

Sephora Moisturizing Gloves

Average Member Rating: 9.0

Orly Nail Defense

Average Member Rating: 9.3

Orly Magnifique

Average Member Rating: 0.0

CND Creative Nail Design Glossing Block

Average Member Rating: 0.0

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older comments

lots of water...that will help a lot

by LittleBunny Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 09:46PM Report as inappropriate


by EricaF123 Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 11:52AM Report as inappropriate

my nails are soft and weak.... i peel them off but now ima buy me some sally hansen nail strengthener and file them instead of peel them lol

by peaches095 Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 12:32PM Report as inappropriate

thank you

by Nicole2814 Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 06:32PM Report as inappropriate

I had great natural nails when I was in my 20's and 30's and did alot of typing. I did my nails once a week with Charles of the Ritz polish and it lasted the entire week. Every Thursday night was nail night. Now, they're hopeless and I feel nail polish makes them worse. I guess age, hormonal changes and meds ruined them. I'm also on disability, but, I use a computer.

by diamondsmiles Saturday, December 17, 2011 at 12:01AM Report as inappropriate

Will be trying the triple strong nail polish.

by MzWayne Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 11:23AM Report as inappropriate

my nails our so weak but finally stop biting them

by lisa_ratz Sunday, October 30, 2011 at 07:03AM Report as inappropriate

Lately my nails have been chipping off and they are very weak. Im going to try some of these tips and see if there is a difference.

by andyv1217 Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 09:31PM Report as inappropriate

i have no big toe nail, how can i get a nail to stay on more than 1 day?

by stanbon Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 06:41AM Report as inappropriate

nice tips now im taking vitamin b and is helping

by kiofairy Friday, April 29, 2011 at 10:30AM Report as inappropriate

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