Rehab Your Nails: Brittle Nails

12:44 PM


Today we're going to talk about brittle nails. First I want to talk a little bit about how to recognize that you have brittle nails. A lot of times people with this nail type will think,

 "My nails are so strong, why do they keep breaking?"

That's because brittle nails do usually appear to be hard and strong. They are typically thick and by all accounts seem to be the picture of a healthy nail...until they break. People with brittle nails will usually find that the corners or edges of their nails are always snapping off. It's best for them to be kept shorter and rounded to prevent this. But what's going to set brittle nails apart from stressed nails and other types is HOW they break. They should snap off cleanly, possibly even making a sound when they do so. 

Try this: choose a nail on your hand which is at least 1/4" past the free edge. Slowly -- SLOWLY push the corner up against a hard surface at an angle. If your nail has give --even a little--then you don't have brittle nails. If, however, your nail does not start to flex a little, then you'll be in this category. So what can you do?

That's going to depend on some factors. Brittle nails are topically caused by diet, outside additions of product, or medications. They can be genetic and people often see this happen as they get older but for the most part brittle nails have a definite cause. You don't have to know the cause to improve their health but know that if you're on a medication or you are genetically blessed with them that you won't be able to fully change them to normal nails. 

The first thing you should do is STOP ALL NAIL TREATMENTS. Seriously. Stop. Your biggest enemy is nail strengthener. These work to make nails stronger and what you want to do is make them more flexible. So if you're using a nail strengthener discontinue use immediately.  If your nails are square, adopt a more rounded shape for awhile to prevent corner breaks. You're in the lucky category of people who don't NEED to avoid water manicures (although I typically recommended that everyone avoid them as much as is possible) but do make sure to use a really great oil after your manicure followed by a thick, nutrient rich lotion. Since brittle nails are usually dry you'll want to avoid harsh soaps and detergents as much as is possible (so wear gloves when doing cleaning!) and a daily oil massage is imperative. I love to use CND Solar Oil and I find that it's great for keeping my nails strong and healthy but don't feel like you need to invest in a fancy or expensive oil. Jojoba, avocado and olive oil are cheap and wonderful for nails. You can do a paraffin dip once a week in the beginning OR if you'd rather you can do a hot oil treatment. All you need to do is remove all your polish, generously apply oil on your cuticles (optionally cover this with a moisture mask) and then put your hands in a bag or in cling wrap and cover with a heating pad or warm towels for about five minutes. Once the treatment is done you can cover hands with your lotion (I love this set from Zoya and also the CND almond lotion) and do a little massage. 

Remember to give any treatments 4-6 weeks to see results. Healthy nails start at the BASE of your nail not the tip and it can take a bit to grow out. ;) A great way to remember to oil nails daily is to make it a part of your routine. Keep it beside your bed and use it as you read at night, or pop a bottle near the shower and do a quick massage as you get out. It's a few minutes a day that will make a HUGE difference! :)

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