I’ve had a lot of questions about how to strengthen your nails and I typically always say to try a collagen supplement. It’s certainly helped my nails (and hair and skin) but lately I have a few nails that are peeling so I started doing more research find the best oils for strengthening nails. I found some promising information so of course, I made a DIY cuticle oil that will renew healthy cuticles as well as strengthen and moisturize dry and brittle nails!!
Why Oils Can Help with Nail Health
You might be wondering how oils can help strengthen your nails. Well, on the simplest level, brittle nails are most likely dry. Oils can rejuvenate your nails and the skin around them which in turn strengthens nails and encourages growth!
The nail is a unique barrier, constituted by many strands of keratin held together by disulfide bonds, which behaves like a hydrogel and has a compact nature with a particular thickness.
In the International Journal of Molecular Science, plant oils can have a positive effect on the overall health of the nail.
Plant oils such as jojoba, avocado, coconut, argan, safflower, sesame seed etc. promote skin barrier homeostasis. They promote antioxidative activity, they have anti-inflammatory properties and anti-microbial properties, they promote wound healing and have anti-carcinogenic properties.
The Best Oils for Nails
- Jojoba oil is highly nourishing and is easily absorbed into the deepest levels of the nail bed. I have heard it can also help repair damaged collagen in the nail. Jojoba is actually a liquid wax which can create a protective barrier.
- Fractionated Coconut Oil is high in oleic acid and vitamin E. It is rich in saturated fatty acids and lauric acid which is anti fungal.
- Avocado Oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, carotenoids and vitamin E and has been known to promote wound healing.
- Olive oil is rich in oleic acid and helps to create a protective seal over the nails and skin around that nail bed.
- Vitamin E is extremely helpful with moisturizing and is antioxidant rich. Plus it will help prolong the shelf life of your cuticle oil.
Best Essential Oils for Nails
- Frankincense essential oil is anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties which can encourage nail growth. It will also intensify the duties of the other oils while helping them penetrate deeper for more evident results.
- Rosemary essential oil is for promoting hair growth and therefore may have some effect on nail growth.Plus, it revs up blood circulation which is vital for health and healing.
- Tea tree oil has strong antibacterial and antiseptic properties which can be helpful in certain types of nail fungus.
- Lavender essential oil isboth anti-fungal and antibacterial activity.
- Peppermint essential oil increases circulation, which can have beneficial effects on nail growth and cuticle health.
- Myrrh Essential Oil is known to help strengthen and grow nails! I have used Myrrh with great success HERE when I experience severely dry skin so it makes sense that it could be helpful to nails and cuticles and the perfect ingredients in a DIY cuticle oil.
- Lemon essential oil may help with yellow nails and is a powerful antibacterial oil.
I chose a combination of Myrrh, Lemon, Lavender and Frankincense essential oils work well because they all work to strengthen, nourish and even encourage growth in the nails.
What Causes Brittle Nails?
According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD), brittle nails fall into two categories: dry and brittle or soft and brittle.
Dry and brittle nails are the result of too little moisture. This is common these days with all the hand sanitizer usage and hand washing.
Soft and brittle nails are caused by too much moisture, often a result of overexposure to detergents, household cleaners, and nail polish remover.
- Nails commonly change as people age, often becoming dull and brittle. While toenails commonly get thicker and harder, fingernails often become thinner and more brittle.
- An iron deficiency occurs when the body doesn’t get enough iron, which leads to low red blood cell levels which leads to brittle nails
- Symptoms of low thyroid levels may include hair loss, fatigue, weight gain, constipation, and depression and you guessed it-brittle nails.
- Raynaud’s syndrome is characterized by circulation problems in the extremities, this condition can affect nail health.
The AOCD gives a diagnostic tip to help determine if your brittle nails are caused by an internal condition or external environment factors: “If the fingernails split, but the toenails are strong, then an external factor is the cause.”
Manicures are a BIG Issue!
Artificial nails such as acrylics and gel nails are a must-have for many women. However, these manicures wreak havoc on the health of your nails. Even gel polishes that can be bought at the grocery store are said to cause damage.
Using acetone nail polish remover can also weaken nails.
I’ve even tried the nail stickers-Wow do they last, I will say that. After 2 weeks of wearing them only a few were beginning to lift but I was ready to be rid of them. When I removed them, my nails were slightly damaged. I believe I pulled off a layer of nail by not removing them with an acetone remover which would have also done damage.
Why Use a DIY Cuticle Oil:
The purpose of cuticles is to protect the nails from bacteria. If you’re cuticles are cracked and dry, bacteria can enter the nail bed. In order for cuticles to do their job efficiently, they need to be soft and moisturized.
Using a cuticle oil can help with the appearance of your nails as well. Dry, cracked cuticles are ugly and a sign up unhealthiness.
Using plant based oils can actually strengthen and rejuvenate brittle nails.
Store bought cuticle oil can seem like a frivolous expense and I agree. Making your own homemade cuticle oil is simple, cost effective and a higher quality then most cuticle oils on the market.
DIY Cuticle Oil:
*This is what I call an eyeball recipe. Instead of measuring ingredients out, it’s just easier to eyeball it.*
- Combine all ingredients in roll on bottle and shake! Super simple-super effective!
Feel free to substitute oils and essential oils as you see fit. Above I have listed the best oils for healthy nails. I chose jojoba because I love using it in many DIYs and I had plenty of it on hand. However, you can use whatever plant oil you have because what I have listed will all be effective in improving the health of your nails.
How to Use DIY Cuticle Oil:
- Remove nail polish.
- Wash hands.
- Roll on a thin layer of serum before bed.
- Massage into the nail and cuticles.
- Allow to penetrate into the skin.
I’ve been using this DIY cuticle oil for a while and have been happy to have my strong nails back. I have much less splitting. However, it’s hard for me to commit to not wearing nail polish so if your nails are really brittle and bothersome, I would stay clear of any polishes and use this serum daily for at least 3 weeks.