What Causes Glossy Fingernails?

By Crystal Vogt

Many women strive for glossy fingernails that are smooth and free of staining, ridges and cracks. Nails are made up of a protein called keratin that can be damaged over time by injuries, malnutrition and regular exposure to such products as dish washing soap, bleach or other harsh chemicals. If you want glossy fingernails, there are key steps you could take to cause your nails to be shiny and smooth.

A clear top coat of nail polish can make your fingernails glossy.


Fingernails can be representative of what a person consumes. A balanced diet especially rich in fruits and vegetables that contain valuable vitamins and minerals can cause fingernails to be glossy. On the other hand, a poor diet that lacks in essential vitamins can lead to dry, brittle and cracked fingernails. Even if you're eating healthy, you may have a vitamin deficiency that prevents your body from absorbing the nutrients properly, translating to dry fingernails. If this is the case, contact your doctor to get tested and learn what vitamin supplements you can take.

Nail Chemicals

Certain chemicals used during manicures can cause your fingernails to be glossy. These chemicals may include clear glossy top coats that can be directly applied to fingernails, polymer and monomer gels, and silk wrap fingernail overlays. These types of solutions can chip off over time, so it's important to protect fingernails during chores such as washing dishes, and to reapply solutions when necessary.


Special buffing pads can be used to make your fingernails glossy. These buffers can usually be purchased at drug stores or beauty supply shops, and may include electric nail buffers that consist of high-powered spinning buff pads or manual nail pads, which can come in either flat strips attached to a handle or as small multi-sided blocks. To buff, hold the buffer lightly against each fingernail and buff quickly back and forth until you reach a desired glossiness.


Moisturizing your nails can make them glossy, especially if you have very dry nails and apply a moisturizer regularly. Moisturizers you could use include special nail lotions, hand lotions or oils such as Vitamin E oil. Thoroughly clean your hands and fingernails before applying moisturizer, taking care to remove dirt around cuticles and under nails.