Frustrated by fragile fingernails? Try this.
Many women are plagued by fingernails that split and crack. What's causing this? Like body shape, skin tone, and hair texture, our nails' ability to grow is largely hereditary -- so if your mom had weak nails, you're likely to have them, too. That said, there are things you can do to avoid much of the splitting:
Protect your nails from water. Keep your hands out of H2O, since water can actually dry out nails, causing them to split. Be sure to wear gloves when doing dishes or cleaning.
Apply hand cream religiously. Look for a rich formula, which will seal moisture into nails, making them stronger and more flexible. And be sure to slather on cream every time you wash your hands. Dermatologists often recommend Elon Lanolin-Rich Nail Conditioner.
Limit use of nail polish remover. It contains alcohol and other chemicals which make nails brittle. Use remover no more than once a week.
Buff instead of polish. Nail polish can have a drying effect on weak nails. To get a shiny, polished effect, try a buffer. The friction it creates actually stimulates nail growth.
Keep nail length manageable. Go for no more than a quarter-inch beyond the tip of your finger, and keep nails filed into resilient soft ovals.
If you try the above with no success, consult a dermatologist.