I've always had brittle nails. They broke easily, peeled during the cold winters when I was living in New York, and always looked dull and dry. But not anymore!
Recently, my nails have looked great, and they feel super strong, too, but I was curious about the cause--the dry desert heat combined with our highly-chlorinated tap water aren't exactly great conditions for hair or nail growth. For me, I began taking a vitamin that ultimately strengthened my nails, but I did some research to find some other surprising ways to naturally get better, stronger, and faster growing nails. Check them out below!
Keep your nails hydrated
One of the biggest causes of weak nails is dryness. Nails need to be hydrated just like hands. Try putting coconut oil onto your nails in the evening-- though any type of oil works, too.
Go bare sometimes
If you get frequent manicures, it's important to give your nails a break once in a while. Constantly having polish on your nails dries and weakens nails, so it's important to let them breathe.
Try a protein powder
Nails that break, crack, or peel may signify a protein deficiency. A protein powder is a great way to increase your protein intake, which will in turn provide a boost to your immune system, and help you get strong nails that grow quickly.
Cut back on the hand sanitizer
Hand sanitizer is great-- especially during cold and flu season--but using too much may be more harmful than you think. Hand sanitizer has a high alcohol content, and overuse can be seriously dehydrating to both your hands and nails, which can lead to breakage. So while you don't have to skip this product all together, you might want to consider cutting back.
Take some prenatal vitamins
Okay, I know prenatal vitamins are meant for pregnant women or women who are trying to get pregnant, but after taking them daily for three weeks, my nails are stronger than ever. Prenatal vitamins are high in calcium and folic acid, both of which promote nail and hair strength.
Rub garlic on your nails
This isn't the best way to make your hands smell good, but rumor has it that rubbing raw garlic onto your nails and letting it sit on your fingers for a few minutes can quickly strengthen nails. Garlic is high in a mineral called selenium, which basically just helps with rapid growth, but it's also an antioxidant, so another possibility for the strange success of garlic as a beauty trick is that the garlic removes toxins from your nails, allowing them to grow quicker.