How To Grow Strong Nails

strong nails

Without correct care and the right products, I have very thin and fragile nails. Whilst growing my problems include, peeling, cracks at the sides of the nails and breaks.

Over the years I have been doing nails I have tried a lot of products, vitamins, treatments and any home remedy that I happened across. Some of these worked incredibly well and still do today; others made my nails worse, made very little difference, or was a waste of time and money by doing nothing at all.

I’m sharing my knowledge of what causes the problem of weak nails and what actually works to strengthen the nails, so you do not make the same mistakes I have made or waste your hard earned money.

What causes weak, peeling, splitting or breaking nails?

There are a huge amount of causes that can make your nails weak, in my experience of doing nails the most common are water, harsh chemicals, detergents, acetone in nail polish remover, peeling chipped nail polish off the nail bed, nail biting and glue on/ stick on false nails. Some nail problems can be due to a medical condition, so it is always worth asking your doctor on your next visit.

What can I do to improve the health of my nails?

There are many things you can do to improve the condition of your nails and to help strengthen them. To make it easy to follow I have broken it up into steps that are simple, address each issue and give recommendations on products that work to help that problem.

  1. Treat from inside out. Try a biotin supplement and vitamins to aid the overall health, strength and thickness of the nails. Drink plenty of water daily, this helps hydrate the nails – removing the issue of dryness and brittleness. perfectil originalI personally use ‘Perfectil Original’ from Vitabiotics. The ingredients include a range of vitamins as well as biotin. Over three months I noticed a difference in the thickness of my nails, the longer I used them the thicker and stronger my nails became.
  2. Patience. If your nails are very thin and fragile, perhaps due to the removal of extensions or gel polish. It will take time to grow out the damaged nail. Healthy nails do not grow over night. Don’t give up, be patient. You will see the results of the steps you have done to improve the condition of your nails.
  3. Protection is the best defense. When dealing with water, harsh chemicals, detergents etc – wear rubber gloves. If you are decorating or gardening, make sure to wear a pair of thick gardening gloves. Avoid press on false nails or glue on false nails. Try to minimise the use of nail polish remover if possible.
  4. Nails are not tools. Scrapping, peeling labels, opening and unfastening items are all things that can easily damage or break a nail. You may not realise you do this, but for strong nails you must stop using your nails as tools. Have something like a key ring tool. When you have the correct tools at hand, you tend to reach for them first; rather than your nails being the first option. ictorinox managerI use a ‘Victorinox manager’, which I have on my key ring, it does everything! It has a pair of tweezers, a pair of scissors, a pen, a knife, a file, a bottle/ can opener, screwdrivers and much more.
  5. Begin with a strong base. Filing the nail in a sawing motion with a rough emery board will lead to small tears being made along the edge of the nails, this causes splitting, tearing and eventually breaks. Try using a glass – ideally a crystal nail file and going slowly and gently in one direction across the nail, leaving you with a smooth, sealed edge. A basic round shape is easier to grow out as there is no corners to snag on anything. ldenny fileopi fileI use a couple of files; I use a ‘OPI’ crystal file and ‘Leighton Denny’ crystal file. I pop them everywhere, so if I get a snag I can deal with it immediately – that way I am not tempted to pick at it and make it worse.
  6. Care for all parts of the nail. This includes cuticles, push back cuticles with a hoof stick or orange stick while they are soft – do not cut them. Apply a cuticle cream, oil or lotion everyday and massage into the nail and cuticle for a few minutes; this helps the circulation which helps growth, cares for dry, brittle, flaky nails and give an overall healthy looking appearance to the nails. opi avoplexlush lemony flutterI personally use ‘OPI Avoplex’ several times a day, at night before bed I like to give the nails and cuticles a good massage with ‘Lush Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter’.
  7. Hydrated nails = Healthy nails. Dehydrated nails cause dryness and brittleness, not the best for healthy strong nails. Moisture needs to be put back into the nail to hydrate and bond nail layers together. Hydrating as much as possible throughout the day combats this issue, apply rich hand lotions – the best are usually thick and often greasy. opi avojuicela sourceWhat I use personally depends on what is closest to me at the time but they will usually be one of two favourites. I love ‘OPI Avojuice’ and ‘Crabtree and Evelyn La Source Hand Therapy’.
  8. Help Strengthen. Several treatments are on the market today. A lot of these products are the work of snake oil salesman, claiming to do miracles for the nails but delivering nothing. Healthy nails are all down to a lot of the steps above, helping the nail from the inside out and care. What is a fantastic way to help you nails is applying a top coat. This will give the surface an armour that will protect the nail from chips, water etc. Most are inexpensive and readily available. opi top coatI use ‘OPI Top Coat’, it dries fast, it’s strong, it’s self leveling and a bottle lasts for a long time so value for money.

Conclusion: Everyone wants beautiful, strong, healthy nails. To achieve this we do have to do a little work and upkeep to maintain them. With the steps given hopefully you will now know how to do this easily without even thinking about it, it will become a nail routine as it did for me.

  • Biotin/ Vitamin supplements help strengthen and thicken the nails.
  • Be patient. Nails need time to grow healthy.
  • Wear rubber/ gardening gloves when doing manual or heavy jobs and when dealing with water or chemicals.
  • Do not use your nails as tools. Use the correct tool for that job and save your nails.
  • File gently in one direction, using a crystal file.
  • Use cuticle oil or butter daily to nourish.
  • Hydrate the nails several time a day using a good, thick hand lotion.
  • Apply a clear top coat to protect and strengthen the natural nail.

I hope that these will help you and your nails be the best they can be.



Cuticle Care

Cuticle Care heartprettynailsblog

When I first started doing nails I did all the rookie mistakes and wondered why my nails and cuticles looked terrible. I tried everything I heard about but they still looked awful.

I wondered what I was doing wrong, over the years I have learned so much. I thought it would be a good idea to condense everything from those years of experience to create a quick guide about the often looked over area of cuticles. Our cuticles are a massive part of the nail care routine and should have as much attention as the nail itself. Hopefully you gleam some useful information about the subject from this post.

What is the cuticle?

The cuticle is the skin at the base of the finger or the toe nail, it sits on top of the part of the nail that grows.

Why do we have cuticles?

The cuticles purpose is to act like a barrier to protect the nail.

Do I cut my cuticles?

No! The cuticle has a reason for being there, removing this area of your skin can cause you health risks. Cutting them leaves you with open cuts on your hand, which can lead to infection and irritation.When the cuticle regrows it will look uneven and flaky, cutting them can also cause problems such as ridges, white spots or white lines on the nails.

What can cause damage to the cuticle?

The cuticles can become chapped, dry and/or damaged from many factors; salty or soapy water, chlorination, excessive environmental conditions, exposure to hot sun or cold, as well as drying agents such as fast drying top coats, acetone from nail polish remover, and detergents. Cutting and biting the cuticle can also damage the cuticle.

How do I make my cuticles look neater?

Use a cuticle remover or a cuticle softener. Apply with a nail brush, a cotton bud, or if it came with its own applicator apply via this method. Leave on for 1-2 minutes or as instructed to on the product itself, with an orange stick gently and carefully push back the cuticle. Wash hands and apply a cuticle oil.

Why use a cuticle oil?

Cuticle oil can help repair damage, nourishes the nail and cuticle. It also aids circulation in the nail bed creating growth and maximises the overall health and appearance of the nail and cuticle.

What is cuticle oil?

Cuticle oil is applied to the cuticle and the nail area. When applied it softens and moisturises the area. Look for the ingredient Vitamin E, this will help repair damage that has been done to the nail.


For some when looked at all these seem pretty simple and common knowledge, for others who are first starting out on their nail journey they may not know these and that was my aim. To create a simple post on what they are, how to care for them, and how to maintain the health of them via products. I will also post a blog to follow this about the cuticle care products that I personally recommend and why I think they are the bees knees!