Nail Health: Home Remedies for Strong Nails!

| Modified on Jun 15, 2020

How to Make Nails Stronger

Do you have weak fingernails that are constantly breaking and chipping? Are your nails never as long as you would like them? Follow these natural tips to lengthen and strengthen your fingernails, without an expensive trip to the salon or any unnatural solutions. Make your hands look their best, naturally!

Your nails (both fingernails and toenails) are made of a protein called keratin, which is the same tough substance that makes up many other animal horns, claws, and hooves; for example a rhinoceros's horn is made up of keratin! While animals and nature make good use of strong nails for survival, many factors can cause brittle nails or affect nail growth in human beings. On average, human nails grow about 3 mm a month, and can require 3 to 6 months to completely regrow a new nail depending on age, diet, what time of year, and even how much exercise you get; nail health can be a good indicator to general health.

Vitamin A, D, B12, and calcium are key vitamins for nails, but also play very important roles in immune function, eye health, cellular reproduction, blood clotting, and even the transmission of nerve pulses. Deficiency in these vitamins can cause brittle and dry nails, and those symptoms can be indicators of poor internal health.

On this page you can find a number of user-submitted home remedies to strengthen weak nails. Some of our popular cures are apple cider vinegar, blackstrap molasses, biotin, fish oil, and lemon juice. Let us know what you try from Earth Clinic to help treat your nails. Know of a remedy not yet listed here? Please don't hesitate to share it with us!

ACV and Coconut Oil

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Oweno1 (El Paso, Texas, Usa) on 05/11/2014

Apple Cider Vinegar and Coconut Oil : This combination works speedily. I have suffered from fungus on my fingernails for several years. I stumbled across this site and began treating myself with ACV, later as I began to learn more decided to cook with Coconut Oil, then even ingest it as a supplement. This remedy sped my healing. I had been taking meds for this disease for a couple years and it would be a temporary partial fix. (I gave up on the meds) The ACV and Coconut Oil work fast and beautifully! The itching stops within days, the cracking stops thereafter and within weeks your nails will grow smoothly. It took a while, if you skip a day or two don't fret, just keep at it. The ACV taste terrible, so on occasion I skipped. LOL My nails are becoming stronger by the week and the cuticles are now connecting with the nails beautifully. I am no longer embarrassed of my hands. Please try this! ACV works, faster with Coconut Oil and as bonus my adult acne has cleared! My case was so bad it took about six months plus. Never really kept records but noticeable by the week.

Replied by Adrian
(S. Florida)

How do you take the apple cider vinegar and coconut oil? Together - ingest or put ON nails. Please tell me~ thank you.

Replied by Mod
(Toronto On)

Hi, do u mix the 2? If so how much of each. Thanks

Replied by Karen

I am willing to try this. I'm assuming you take it by mouth. I put a teaspoon of coconut oil and 2 tsp. cider vinegar in a glass and I just drink it. I hope I see good results.

Apple Cider Vinegar

4 User Reviews
5 star (4) 

Posted by Joy (Il) on 01/11/2016

Apple Cider Vinegar is one amazing product to strengthen weak nails!! I've had soft, yet brittle nails that break easily all my life. To make matters worse, I also had copious amounts of painful hang nails. A few months ago, I began taking apple cider vinegar for an unrelated problem. Within three weeks my nails were strong and the hang nails disappeared. To prove to myself that it was the vinegar, I stopped taking it for a month, and sure enough, my nails again became soft and brittle. Another round of apple cider vinegar for a few weeks gave me beautiful nails. I'm convinced!

Daily apple cider vinegar will be a part of my health and beauty regimens forever. I take about one tablespoon of vinegar daily in tomato juice. If you'd like to make the concoction more palatable, you could try mixing in some natural horseradish and worstershire sauce (don't use Heinz because of the unhealthy ingredients) like a bloody Mary (minus the vodka, okay?). It is delicious prepared this way, but I don't always have the time.

Replied by Camille
(Boston, Ma)

Sounds wonderful. Very interested to know how much ACV and coconut oil you take daily? Thanks.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Cindy (Newtown, Pa) on 09/07/2015

I have had weak nails all my life and started taking apple cider vinegar tablets for other health reasons and discovered that my nails are stronger than ever before! I am thrilled! Raw apple vinegar is pure torture and didn't even work when I tried to drink for a couple weeks. The tablets worked immediately and help regulate blood sugar levels, sugar cravings, acne, etc.....a lifesaver!!

Replied by Judi
(Seattle, Wa)

Hi, when you used apple cider vinegar tablets what was the dose?

Replied by Jim
(Dalton, Pa.)

I too am interested in dosage of apple vinegar tabs to combat soft fingernails. Any response would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.

Replied by Evelyn
(North Carolina)

Just try the amount suggested on the bottle each day. Increase if needed to get results.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Judi (Phoenix, AZ) on 03/21/2006

I take apple cider vinegar and honey daily. 1 tbs. of each helps weak, cracked, short fingernails to grow.

Replied by Emgee
(Broken Hill, Australia)

I started taking Apple Cider Vinegar for a number of different health issues. After only a couple of days I noticed my flaky weak nails were getting stronger. Two months later now and I have the longest strongest nails I have ever had. Even hard to type on my keyboard lol. I read somewhere that Apple Cider Vinegar helps with the uptake of magnesium and calcium but can't remember where I read that. It certainly is the answer for me.

Replied by Kayci
(North Berwick, Maine)

you eat it?

Replied by Jacqueline
(Perth, Australia)

Worked for me too - was a fantastic side effect when I started using apple cider vinegar for other health issues. I have have lovely long and strong finger nails for the first time in my life :-)

Replied by Danie

How do you prepare the ACV for long and strong fingernails?


2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Aginto (Toronto, Ontario) on 02/07/2010

I've been taking a 250mg supplement of Biotin once a day for about 3 weeks before I noticed the changes in my nails! They are harder, they don't break or chip as easily. I went on vacation for 2 weeks and forgot my Biotin. Lo and behold, near the end of the 2 week vacation I had broken one nail and chipped another!

I am back on the Biotin. I've also added the de-colorized Iodine to my repertoire and will report back after a week or two. Thanks for all the great advice Earth Clinic!!!

Replied by Pjb747
(Fenton, Mi)

I feed my horses biotin for their hooves. It takes almost a year to see real results. The hoof that forms with biotin is stronger. It can't improve existing hoof. Hooves grow out like nails do from a nail bed. I would assume that it is the same with nails but it doesn't take so long to grow a whole new nail. I think after 3-4 months on biotin, the old nail would be gone and biotin fortified nail would have grown in. I don't think being off biotin for a week or two would make a difference.

Posted by Karen (Chicago, IL) on 02/15/2009

My fingernails were soft and frequently broke. I starting taking 1000 mcg biotin twice a day, and within 2 months, they became rock solid. I stopped taking biotin for a while, and my nails returned to being soft. When I started taking the pills again, my nails toughened up. Karen

Blackstrap Molasses

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Michelle (London, UK)

Blackstrap Molasses works for me! After the first fortnight of drinking a cup each morning with the juice of half a lemon, my skin felt really soft and had lost its dryness and my nails are growing stronger and more uniform. This is in addition to having a lot more energy, I have also managed to stop smoking and not experience the side effect of constipation. This remedy is the cheapest but most effective way of taking varied supplementary vitamins.

Replied by Ann
(Calmar, Ia)

how much blackstrap molassess do you use? Is it mixed with water as well as the juice of half a lemon?

Replied by Donna Cecconi
(Crete, Il)

How much water and molasses do I mix with the lemon?

Replied by Brittany
(Grove City, Oh, Usa)

Just be careful with molasses, especially if you are diabetic.. Not a good remedy for diabetics or those who don't know they are diabetic. A whole cup seems excessive.

Replied by Kristi
(Covington, La)

I have been doing a lot of research recently on Blackstrap Molasses. All recommendations (I have found) for health issues for both humans and dogs say to use 1 tablespoon daily.

Fish Oil

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by DeAnna (Clarksville, TN) on 07/13/2009

Fish oil was recommended to me as a supplement from a personal trainer....happened to notice after a couple of weeks that my nails were actually growing and not breaking nearly as much!!! Didn't realize it had a benefit to nails also! Will definitely keep taking for my nails!

Fish Oil
Posted by Anna (Brooklyn, NY) on 04/03/2009

Fish oil made my nails stronger in a matter of days. Take the prescribed daily dose.

Folic Acid

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Joanna (California) on 03/31/2006

I see a Thyroid Specialist for hypothyroidism. I was complaining about my weak, brittle nails when he suggested that although my thyroid was functioning properly (too much or too little thyroid function can cause weak nails), that I may be deficient in folic acid. I'm not as faithful about taking my vitamins and supplements as I should be, but I do notice that when I take a folic acid supplement that my nails become stronger and break less often. You can buy folic acid as an individual supplement, but you can buy multivitamins with folic acid in them.

Replied by Mandy
(Houston, Texas)

I am thinking to try this, because I too have hypothyroidism and really, REALLY want my fingernails to grow out nice and long. I do take vitamins every day!


2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Zarah22 (Scranton, PA) on 12/30/2014

Used raw garlic on my little girl's nails and it does make her nails stronger. I rubbed it on her nails after bath in the morning and before bedtime. I saw improvement after 2 weeks of continuous use. Highly recommend it!

Posted by Jackdblack (Madison, Wisconsin, USA) on 12/23/2014

I have checked the posts here but I have not seen garlic. You see, my mom used to rub our nails with peeled, raw garlic everyday. She said that her mother used to do the same to her and it made her nails stronger.

When I was a young kid I had thin, weak toenails that bend on their own when they grew longer. My mom's garlic remedy paid off as my nails became thick and stronger. I want to share this home remedy as it might work for you too!


2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Jane (Houston, Texas) on 04/19/2007

I painted decolorized iodine on my thin and brittle fingernails. One week later they look healthy and are growing, and even the formerly dry and ragged cuticles are smooth, even without manicuring them! I saw the remedy in a newspaper column and found this wonderful website trying to check it out. The remedy is painting the nails every day for a week, then once a week thereafter. I found the iodine in the Latino cosmetics area of HEB supermarket. Next I'll work on the skin tags! Thanks so much!

Replied by Smdoulos
(Syracuse, Ny)

Does iodine work for skin tags also? How much and how often? Thanks.

Replied by Andy

I've had skin tags in the past and my doctor told me not to worry as they soon outgrow their blood supply and eventually just drop off.

And they did! :)

Replied by Stella
(New York)

I had two friends that were covered with skin tags neck and upper shoulder back.

They did not drop off. I have one and had it most all my life. I am now 80. They said it was nothing to have them burnt off. Do not take the doctors word for it.

Posted by Stephanie (Loganholme, Qld. Australia) on 09/24/2006

Iodine cures brittle and easily broken finger nails. It makes the fingernails hard, chip proof and unbreakable. Dip your fingernails in colorless iodine once a day for 1 week; then once a week for 3 to 4 weeks; then once a month. It dries almost instantly. It begins hardening the nails under the cuticle and as the nail grows out it stays hard and unbreakable. Once the new hard nail reaches the length you want, you will never again have chipped and broken nails. No need for all those expensive formulas sold in beauty parlors and chemist shops.

Replied by Mon
(Sunshine Coast, Queensland Australia)

Interesting! Where in Australia do I get colourless iodine?

(Melbourne, Australia)

You can't unfortunately get it in Australia.. Try ebay from overseas.

Lemon Juice

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Rekha (Bangalore, India) on 06/04/2008

Apply a little juice from a lemon to your finger nails every day. It makes them strong and they grow doubly fast! I was a compulsive nail biter since childhood and had very brittle nails. I kicked the habit and tried this remedy and now my nails are long and strong.

Replied by Leah
(New York, Ny)

Hi, I started putting apple cider vinegar on my nails and it has really kept them strong! I was very surprised.

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