How to fix peeling and splitting nails

This is my article on how to fix peeling and splitting nails.

Peeling and splitting nails are a huge nuisance. Having peeling nails means that your polish will chip faster, the polish application won’t look smooth and even, the nails will break and you’ll be forced to file them into odd shapes…it’s just a thing that needs to get fixed as soon as possible.

When I first started getting into nail polish and nail care I had paper thin nails that would split, tear and peel and I threw SO much money into nail strengtheners only to have them do absolutely nothing.

I started getting involved in the nail polish community but pretty much the only recommendation I got there was “get healthy”. Meaning that as long as you took your prenatal vitamins and drank loads of water, your nails were healthy as well. Sadly, that did not work for me.

What did work for me (as well as my family and friends) are two things. There are two options for fixing peeling and splitting nails. One is a healthy one and the other is a nail hardener.

How to fix peeling and splitting nails – the natural way:

There’s this thing in the nail community that is called the “oil method”.  I’ve been doing this during all my pregnancies when I was off chemicals and it worked.

How to fix peeling and splitting nails

All you need is jojoba oil and time. Almond oil and argan oil work as well. There are tons of “cuticle” oils on the market but I’ve never gotten the right result with them while just plain bottles of jojoba oil at a fraction of the price actually did fix my nails.
Basically you take off the polish, wash your hands, put some oil onto the nails and massage the oil into the nail bed and the cuticles. The thing I’ve been getting wrong all these years is focusing on the cuticles alone, when I should have actually made sure that the oil got into the entire nail as well.
Then just take a soft cloth, wipe the nails off well (do not wash your hands!) and paint the polish on. Do this before every nail polish change.
When you nails are painted, massage the oil into the cuticles and under the free edge of your nail at least twice a day.
You’ll be able to see results in about 4-6 weeks.

While the oil method works, it takes a while to see the results and it’s also time consuming and it significantly prolongs the time it will take you to do a manicure. It will also make you leave unfortunately greasy fingerprints around your house. But it’s a healthy option that works.

How to fix peeling and splitting nails – with chemistry:

A store bought nail hardener with formaldehyde will fix your nail peeling issues within 3 weeks. Formaldehyde hardeners contain somewhere between 1-3% formaldehyde. Unless you are allergic to formaldehyde these are OK to use for about 2 months at a time.  Your nails will get better but they will also need a break from the hardener (use the oil method during the break) or they will get brittle. I didn’t want to mess with formaldehyde while I was pregnant but during my non-pregnant years, I slap that baby on.I've been using it regularly for 12 years now and other than healthy nails, I have seen zero side effects.

How to fix peeling nails

There’s a great blog post on various treatments and it’s totally worth a read but in my experience these two things will work on anyone.


I hope you enjoyed my article on how to fix peeling and splitting nails and I’ll talk to you soon!