This Not That: Natural Nail Strengtheners

Stronger Nails

What if strong beautiful nails were only a kitchen ingredient or two away?

My mother possesses nails that other women drool over. They are perfectly shaped and hardly ever break. Unfortunately, these lovely nail genes were not passed down to me. My nails are weak, and I have to keep them fairly short. However, intrigued by DIY nail strengthening ideas, I decided to compare two common recipes side by side. I applied one remedy to the nails on one hand, and the other remedy to the nails on the other hand. Our nails grow faster in the summer, so now is the perfect time to give our nails a little extra attention!

Olive Oil and Lemon Juice For Stronger Nails

Olive Oil and Lemon Juice

For the first remedy, you’ll need 3 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. For best results, apply the olive oil and lemon mixture to nails every night before bed, and let the treatment remain on your nails while you sleep. The best part is that the ingredients are already in your kitchen!


  1. Measure the olive oil and lemon juice into a microwaveable bowl.
  2. Microwave for 10 seconds.
  3. Dip nails in the bowl, and wipe off excess oil.


  • Not only does olive oil strengthen nails, it also moisturizes the skin. Instead of simply discarding the remedy, you can rub the rest into your hands.
  • My nails felt extra smooth to the touch after soaking in the olive oil and lemon mixture as compared to the gelatin mixture.
  • Lemon juice works to whiten nails as well as strengthen them.


  • The olive oil mixture cannot be saved and reused, because bacteria from your fingers can grow in the leftover oil.
  • Not everyone has the persistence to apply olive oil every night. For some, a once a week remedy might be more effective.
  • Be careful not to heat up the oil too much or you might burn your fingers!

Gelatin and Water, A Simple Treatment for Stronger Nails

Gelatin for Nails

For the second remedy, mix together one packet of Knox gelatin and water.


  1. Boil the water and mix with the gelatin, and then let the mixture cool down so you don’t burn your fingers.
  2. Soak nails in the gelatin mixture for two minutes.
  3. Rinse hands.


  • At just 99 cents, gelatin is an inexpensive DIY ingredient.
  • The leftover mixture can be saved in the refrigerator for up to 2 months; when you want to reuse it, just heat it up in the microwave.
  • The ridges on my nails looked less defined after the gelatin treatment as compared to the olive oil treatment.


  • It turns out that there is no scientific proof that gelatin strengthens your nails. The myth that gelatins strengthens nails actually comes from Knox advertisements from the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, aimed at American housewives. The makers of gelatin believed that if they could attribute a health benefit to their new product, they could convince more women to buy it!
  • Many claim that gelatin strengthens nails because it contains protein. However, gelatin lacks tryptophan and lysine, two amino acids that are essential to growth.
  • Gelatin is usually made of collagen, while fingernails are composed of keratin. They are two distinct substances, and collagen does not aid keratin growth.

Verdict: Now that we’ve debunked the gelatin myth, enjoy the multiple uses and moisturizing properties of olive oil – especially as nail strengtheners!

How do you keep your nails strong and healthy?


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