The Real Reason Nails Break or Peel

Do you wonder why your nails always break or peel?

It’s a question we get asked most days, so we thought we’d help you understand why.

Firstly, if you’ve followed us for any length of time you will already know we don’t offer gimmicks at Be Beautiful and we certainly won’t tell you anything that isn’t true. We are science based, results driven and will never compromise your nails, body or skin in any shape or form – simple!

So let’s get to the real science to help you understand the needs of your nails and why they are breaking or peeling.

What your nails are made of

Natural nails are a composite of keratin cells and the perfect ratio of 18% moisture (water) and 5% oil.


  • Nails with too much water are spongy and too flexible (bendy as some clients describe it)
  • Nails with too little water break and crack like dried out Autumn leaves!

That 5% of oil we mentioned above is all that’s required to trap the perfect amount of moisture in the nails and No amount of nail harder’s can fix this problem.

Of course, the best oil is the one your body produces in the nourishing layer of pinkish tissue under your nail plate—the nail bed. 

But considering the average person has their hands in water 12 to 20 times per day with harsh antibacterial soaps, washing liquids here is what happens;

  • Your nails soak up the water
  • Soap/detergents washes away your nail’s oil (remember they are designed to strip oil of plates)
  • Water evaporates out of your nail even quicker … Rinse and repeat

Because the nail’s oil has been washed away, water evaporates even more. Now your perfect 18% water / 5% oil balance is down the drain (literally!)  You have nails that are dry and crispy, waiting to snap the next time you bump them.


The solution…

Wear Gloves

The first thing to do is wear gloves when in water as much as possible.  A pair of quality gloves will save you and your nails unnecessary trauma. For anyone that knows me, you will know I won’t wash as cup without them!  I love the Marigold Lite Gloves and have a pair at every sink I need them at- including work!

If you do wear gloves and still struggling with your nails then follow my top tips below.    

Use a Nail Oil

A top quality nail oil will be your best friend, that contains a similar oil to the one the body produces otherwise the molecules will be too large to absorb and you will be wasting both your time and your money.

Top Tip  Continue using this oil applications on top  of nail polish/acrylic or gel manicures.  Just as your nails are not solid, neither is lacquer, acrylic monomers or gel. A good nail oil is absorbed into all these products and keep them more flexible because they aren’t drying out. 

Treat your Hands

Regular hydrating hand treatments or manicures are a must and also a real treat, but again make sure they are ingredients that can actually penetrate and make a real difference.

Don’t over file 

It’s also crucial you don’t over file or buff your nails. Both are shown to weaken the nails over time and thin the nail plate even though it may appear to look better temporarily.

Finally… Does diet affect your nails?  

It sure does, a nutrient rich diet is the best way to achieve healthy nails however deficiencies in certain vitamins , minerals and nutrients may negatively affect your nail health. While we always encourage clients to reach to food for the best nutrition we find supplementation in nail specific vitamins makes a huge difference to improve the health of the nails.

During you nail consultation, we will access your nails and personally recommend any supplements or treatments we feel may improve the health and strength of your nails.  Having healthy nails is possible with a few small but meaningful changes. 


Salon Owner & Expert Beauty Therapist

To book a nail treatment or seek advice on how to improve the health of your nails get in touch on 02838318280 or email us 

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