Having healthy nails isn’t just about feeling pretty, nor is it something from which only women can benefit. (One of the most successful businessmen I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting got regular manicures, and for a good reason!)
The truth is, nail appearance can have a major impact on making a good first impression. Consider this: Would you rather shake hands with someone who has clean, healthy-looking nails or someone with broken, discolored, or otherwise ratty-looking fingernails?
Of course, even if you don’t have to worry about impressing higher-ups as part of your daily routine, taking care of your nails can simply be about feeling and looking your best purely for your own enjoyment!
Peruse the following list of 15 home remedies including six all-natural consumables plus nine topical treatments to learn how you can achieve better nail health using simple ingredients, many of which you probably already have in your home!
Foods that strengthen nail growth
Nails are composed almost entirely of the fibrous protein keratin. Therefore, in order to grow strong, healthy nails, you’ll need to ensure that your diet includes high quality protein-rich foods such as lean meats, eggs, dark leafy greens, fish, legumes, nuts and seeds. Dairy products or dairy alternatives like almond milk and soy-based foods are also excellent sources of protein.
Tomatoes are one of the best sources of nail-strengthening vitamins A and C, as well as the natural form of B7 (also known as Biotin) which is essential for healthy hair, skin, and nails.
Have a glass of organic tomato juice in the morning to start your day off with more energy, add a few slices of fresh tomato to salads and sandwiches, and include more foods with tomato paste or sauce in your diet. Your nails will thank you!
3. Blackstrap molasses
Blackstrap molasses is a bittersweet syrup that was a popular natural sweetener until the late 19th century when table sugar stole the spotlight. Unlike most popular sweeteners, blackstrap molasses is actually good for you as it still contains the vitamins and minerals naturally found in the cane sugar plant – nutrients which are stripped away during the refining process used to create white sugar.
For healthier nails, add a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses to warm water, tea, or another beverage of your choice. Drink 1 – 2 times daily for best results.
Diabetics beware: Despite its health benefits, blackstrap molasses will still have an effect on blood sugar!
4. Nettle tea
Nettle leaf – an ancient natural remedy with a wide variety of uses including for the growth of longer, stronger, healthier hair and nails – is rich with minerals which your body needs to form new nail tissue.
Steep 2 – 3 teaspoons of dried organic nettle leaf in a cup of hot water for about 10 minutes to make this tea. Add your natural sweetener of choice and enjoy once per day for stronger nails.
Another herb known for its ability to promote stronger, healthier nail growth is horsetail (also known as shavegrass.) Like nettle leaf, horsetail contains high concentrations of nail-strengthening vitamins and minerals.
To make this tea, steep ½ – 1 teaspoon of dried organic horsetail in a cup of boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Sweeten to taste and enjoy once daily for best results.
Also known as vitamin H, biotin is a vital nutrient necessary for the body’s production of keratin – the fibrous protein which is the primary component in hair, skin, and nails. Biotin is naturally contained in foods such as fish, eggs, legumes, whole grains and nuts, as well as some fruits and vegetables. (Click here for a more comprehensive list.)
While biotin supplements are also an option, all vitamins are better absorbed when obtained from the foods we eat!
Topical solutions for healthy nails
7. Coconut oil
When it comes to all-natural ingredients which can benefit every part of your body, coconut oilis king! To improve the strength and appearance of your nails, simply massage them daily with organic cold-pressed coconut oil. As an added benefit, your cuticles and skin will look and feel healthier from a daily treatment with coconut oil, too.
8. Flaxseed oil
Flaxseed is another wonderfully nourishing oil that benefits nails when used daily. Flaxseed oil is full of essential fatty acids, as well as antioxidants and minerals which promote faster, stronger growth. To get the best results from this natural remedy, simply massage pure organic flaxseed oil into your nails for a few minutes 1 – 2 times per day.
9. Olive oil & lemon
Olive oil is one of the best moisturizers for nails (plus skin and hair, too!) Lemon juice contains antioxidant vitamin C which protects nails, removes stains, and encourages stronger growth. To create a nourishing nail soak, simply mix 3 parts olive oil with 1 part lemon juice, heat to just above body temperature, then submerge your fingertips in the solution for 10 minutes. Repeat this daily for best results.
10. Vitamin E oil
Another highly effective natural moisturizer for healthy nails, vitamin E oil may be used topically as well as taken orally in capsule form. Massage vitamin E oil into your nails and cuticles for about five minutes each night before bed. After about two weeks, you should notice a big improvement in the strength, appearance, and growth rate of your nails!
11. Orange juice
Soak your nails in fresh orange juice for 10 minutes per day to give your nails a boost of antioxidants that will improve their strength and appearance, as well as help them grow faster. When you’re done, remember to rinse thoroughly to remove the citric acid from your skin and nails, then apply a natural moisturizer like olive, flaxseed, or coconut oil to reverse any dehydration that may have occurred during the soak.
While it may seem like strange advice, try soaking your nails in beer to strengthen them up. Beer contains several minerals which are known to nourish and strengthen nails. Simply mix 2 parts beer with 1 part warm olive oil and 1 part apple cider vinegar, then soak nails for 10 – 15 minutes. The should be repeated 1 – 2 times per week to achieve maximum results.
13. Dead sea salt
Dead Sea salt naturally contains over 20 beneficial minerals, most of which are effective for improving nail health. Try dissolving a tablespoon or two of fine grain dead sea salt in a small bowl of warm water. Add a couple of drops of a moisturizing oil such as olive, vitamin E, or flaxseed. Optionally, you may also want to add a drop or two of lemon, lavender, or rosemary essential oils. Soak nails for 10 – 15 minutes, rinse with lukewarm water, pat dry, then finish with a natural moisturizer. Repeat up to three times per week for stronger, healthier nails.
14. Apple cider vinegar
If you have brittle or discolored nails, soaking them in apple cider vinegar once per day may help to fix these problems. The nutrients and acids naturally found in ACV are not only great for strengthening nails, they are also known to heal and prevent microbial infections that sometimes cause excessive breakage and yellowing.
15. Tea tree oil
Like ACV, tea tree oil is an incredibly effective natural remedy for healing brittle and discolored nails by fighting off infectious microbes. Mix a few drops of tea tree oil in about half a teaspoon of carrier oil (vitamin E, olive, flaxseed, etc) and massage into nails for a few minutes. Leave the oil on for at least 30 minutes, then rinse off with warm water, and remember to moisturize afterward. Repeat daily for best results.
If you’ve been using tea tree oil or apple cider vinegar daily for a about a week and have no noticeable improvement, your nails may be trying to tell you something important.