The best way to make sure your nails are healthy is to moisturize them daily, and care for your cuticles. The cuticle is the nail's protection between the exposed dead part of the nail and the matrix, where new cells are generated. Removing the cuticle destroys the nail matrix, which is essential to healthy nail growth. On the other hand, you do want to keep cuticles from becoming overgrown, which suffocates nail growth. The solution: Liberally apply a cuticle remover (not cuticle oil or cuticle cream), which will make the cuticle more pliable. Then, take an orangewood stick and anywhere the cuticle skin touches the nail plate, push it back using tiny circular movements. Hold the stick at an angle so that you do this gradually and gently, without going inside the cuticle. Use a moisturizer daily to prevent dryness.
Though you can't feed the nail directly, a good diet is essential to overall nail health. Biotin-rich foods like eggs, soy, whole grains and liver are said to be extremely helpful to nails, along with foods rich in sulfur minerals like apples, cucumbers, grapes, garlic, asparagus and onions. Also, be sure your diet includes essential fatty acids, or EFAs. Like vitamins and minerals, foods rich in EFA's, such as salmon, nuts, seeds and tuna, help keep nails shiny and pliable.
Do Not Use Your Fingernails as Tools
Using your fingernails as tools to perform tasks -- pushing back your cuticles or scratching a label off a CD is a no-no! Use proper tools for picking and scraping and not your nails.