You may be too much of a domestic diva if you have brittle nails. Most of the time, fragile fingernails are caused by copious re-wetting and re-drying. Think housework -- mopping the floor, scrubbing the tub and watering the plants. The harsh chemicals in household cleansers weaken your nails even more. Slip on cotton-lined rubber gloves before tackling the dirty dishes and other household chores. Put a cap on the amount of time you spend in the bathtub.
Brittle nails thirst for moisturizer. You don't have to invest in a cream just for cuticles unless you really want to. Quench them with a moisturizer formulated for dry skin. Try moisturizers with alpha-hydroxy acids or lanolin for best results. Rub moisturizer into your nails frequently throughout the day and after your hands have been exposed to water. For even deeper treatment, moisturize your hands and nails well, put on cotton-lined gloves and keep them on overnight.
Bad news for women whose nail polish collection rivals Imelda Marcos' shoe closet: Brittle nails aren't great candidates for frequent manicures. A clear coat of protein-based nail strengthener is far kinder to your cuticles. But if you crave color, limit nail polishings to once a week. When your polish chips off, touch it up with the same color rather than going for a do-over. Use an acetone-free nail polish remover to avoid drying out your nails even more.
Brittle nails are rarely caused by a nutritional deficiency. If you eat a well-rounded diet, you're good to go. Rumor has it that eating gelatin can make nails stronger; put this old wives' remedy to rest. One dietary supplement that can work, though, is biotin. Take 2.5 mg for at least six months to get optimal results. Biotin seems to work in around 30 percent of cases, so it can't hurt to give it a shot.