Weak nails that chip, break and peel require strengthening to grow long and healthy. In some cases, weak nails may even show signs of yellowing and discoloration. Exposure to chemicals, outdoor elements and excessive amounts of water can weaken your nails by robbing them of moisture. The key to strengthening is to put the moisture back. But before you run out and purchase an expensive nail strengthener, consider using a few items that you may already have in your kitchen pantry.
Pour 3 tbsp. of olive oil into a small bowl. Stir in 1 tbsp. of lemon juice. The use of olive oil is an age-old remedy for strengthening nails, according to the University of California, Davis. The addition of lemon juice will help brighten weak nails and make them look whiter.
Place the nail strengthener in your microwave for 10 to 15 seconds, just enough to make the olive oil mixture feel warm to the touch. Remove the nail strengthener after heating and stir with a spoon.
Apply the homemade nail strengthener to your nails using a clean cotton swab. Cover the entire nail bed of each fingernail and the surrounding cuticles. Apply the nail strengthener to the underside of each of your nails as well.
Repeat the process every evening before bedtime. Wear a pair of soft cotton gloves to prevent the nail strengthener from rubbing off on your bed linens.
Olive oil is also an excellent remedy for dry skin. Rub the remaining nail strengthener mixture into the skin of your hands to help soften them before slipping on the gloves.
Do not leave the homemade nail strengthener in the bowl and reuse the contents later. Bacteria on your hands and fingers can enter the olive oil and lemon juice via the cotton swab and cause contamination. Make a fresh batch of nail strengthener for each use.
See your doctor if your fingernails are not getting any stronger. Fingernail problems can denote an underlying health condition.
Jonae Fredericks started writing in 2007. She also has a background as a licensed cosmetologist and certified skin-care specialist. Jonae Fredericks is a certified paraeducator, presently working in the public education system.