7 Everyday Habits You Didn’t Know Were Ruining Your Nails

Updated: May 13, 2019

The source of your brittle nails could be your daily routine.


Leaving polish on for too long

While it might seem harmless to leave chipped polish on your nails, it’s definitely healthier to remove it. “The danger with keeping your nail polish on too long is that the pigment in the nail polish can soak into the top few layers of the nail and dry it out,” foot specialist Joy Rowland, DPM, told Cleveland Clinic. Keep this in mind especially for toenail polish, which many women slap on and forget about until their next pedicure. Dr. Rowland recommends avoiding back-to-back polish appointments. Instead, let nails breathe for a week or two between manis. These are the things your manicurist is secretly thinking about you.


Not washing hands thoroughly

While we know you’re washing your hands several times a day, are you using a technique that reaches your nails? Neglecting your nails in the hand-washing process could allow bacteria to accumulate underneath, leaving the tips of your fingers prime candidates for infection. Wash hands with a clean nail brush at least once a day. Here’s how to file nails so they never peel or break again


Using nails as tools

This list of no-nos is extensive. Never use your nails to open cans of soda or soup (use a spoon instead), pick at packing tape, unscrew a nail, scrape off price tags (try a penny), or complete any other task for which a tool has already been invented. This is how to go about chores without ruining your manicure.


Washing dishes without gloves

“Nails swell in water, which leads to chipped nails and weakened nail beds,” Butter London Global Colour Ambassador Katie Jane Hughes told TODAY. Additionally,  dish detergent could dry out skin and nails. Throw on a pair of cleaning gloves to protect your hands, especially if you want to protect these 14 easy nail art designs you can do yourself.


Cleaning without gloves

While you don’t want your housecleaning gloves to be the same as your dish-washing ones, you will want a pair for each. Exposure to cleaning products could dry out our nails. Hint: Alcohol-based cleaners are the worst offenders.


Leaving nails unprotected in winter

Guess what? More gloves! When the air is dry and the temperature drops, protect your nails with a cozy pair of gloves. To add moisture to the mix, apply hand cream just before slipping them on.


Skipping your veggies

Your nails reflect the foods you eat. So if you make a habit of choosing bad ones, don’t expect picture-perfect nails. Foods high in iron (eggs, spinach, red meat, etc.), can strengthen nails. For an extra boost, add two tablespoons of flaxseed oil to your breakfast each morning. These are the foods to eat for pretty nails.