From Lemon To Lavender: Explore The Power Of Natural Remedies For Healthy Nails

Many people struggle with dry, brittle nails that are prone to cracking and peeling. While there are many nail strengtheners and moisturizers on the market, natural ingredients from your kitchen can also be powerful remedies. Certain oils, fruits, vinegars, and other items contain vitamins, minerals, and moisturizing properties that can transform the health of your nails.

This article will explore some of the top natural remedies for dry, brittle nails. From lemon juice to lavender oil, natural ingredients provide an easy and affordable way to get strong, healthy nails without harsh chemicals. Read on to discover homemade treatments that can fix split nails, add shine, and promote growth.

Causes of Brittle Nails

There are several factors that can cause nails to become brittle and dry including:

Nutrient deficiencies, especially iron, zinc, and biotin, can lead to brittle nails. Not getting enough of these key nutrients impacts nail growth and strength (

Dehydration is another cause, as lack of fluids causes nails to dry out. Drinking plenty of water is key to keeping nails hydrated and flexible.

Frequent exposure to water, such as washing dishes or swimming, can also dehydrate nails over time. The constant wetting and drying weakens nails.

Harsh chemicals found in nail polish, polish removers, detergents, and cleaning solutions can strip nails of moisture. Limiting exposure to these products helps prevent brittle nails.

Moisturizing Oils

Moisturizing oils can help soften and hydrate brittle nails when used regularly. Some of the best oils for nails are jojoba, olive, and coconut oil. These oils are packed with nutrients that nourish nails and cuticles.

Jojoba oil is similar in structure to the natural oils produced by our skin, so it is easily absorbed. It contains vitamin E and B vitamins that promote healthy nail growth. Massaging jojoba oil into the nails and cuticles softens the cuticles and improves nail flexibility and strength (Source).

woman applying oil to fingernails

Olive oil is a deeply nourishing oil that contains vitamin E, antioxidants, and fatty acids to condition brittle nails. Gently massaging olive oil into the nails and cuticles every day can significantly improve nail health and help grow stronger nails (Source).

Coconut oil also provides intense hydration with its fatty acids and nutrients. Applying coconut oil to nails helps reduce brittle peeling and cracking. The lauric acid in coconut oil has anti-fungal properties to prevent nail infections when used regularly (Source).

The Antifungal Powers of Citrus Oils

Citrus essential oils like lemon, orange, and grapefruit contain compounds that give them natural antifungal properties. This makes them great ingredients for nourishing nail care products. According to Luxi Nail Spa, the Citrus Sugar Cuticle Oil helps leave nails healthy and cuticles soft thanks to its fresh citrus scent. The oil is infused with citrus extracts that penetrate nails to keep them strong.

Pretty Woman NYC also sells a Citrus Cuticle Oil containing Vitamin E, jojoba, shea butter, and argan oil for intense hydration. The citrus oils provide antifungal properties while moisturizing dry cuticles. Massaging citrus oils into the nails and cuticles helps prevent fungus and brittle peeling nails.

Limonene, a compound in citrus peel oils, gives them natural antifungal abilities. This helps stop nail fungus in its tracks while also softening and conditioning nails and skin. Using citrus based oils can be an easy and invigorating way to incorporate natural antifungal care into your nail care routine.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is known for its antifungal properties and can be an effective natural treatment for nail fungus. According to a 2013 study, tea tree oil is effective against the fungus Trichophyton rubrum, one of the most common causes of nail fungus. The antifungal properties come from terpinen-4-ol, the main active ingredient in tea tree oil.

To use tea tree oil for nail fungus, simply dip a cotton swab into pure tea tree oil and apply it directly to the affected nails twice daily. Be sure to also apply a moisturizing oil after to avoid skin dryness. Tea tree oil can help clear up nail fungus when used consistently over several months. Always do a patch test before applying tea tree oil to avoid potential skin irritation. While an effective natural antifungal, tea tree oil may not work as quickly as prescription antifungal medications.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has antifungal properties that may help treat brittle nails and nail fungus. The acidic nature of apple cider vinegar creates an unfavorable environment for fungus to grow.

Soaking nails in a diluted apple cider vinegar solution can lower the pH of the nail bed and skin underneath the nail. This helps kill off fungus and prevent further growth (Foot and Ankle Podiatrists).

To use, mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and water. Soak nails for 10-15 minutes daily. Make sure to dry thoroughly after. Using a cotton ball soaked in undiluted apple cider vinegar to swab nails can also help treat fungal infections (

While evidence is limited, some people find success using apple cider vinegar for nail fungus. It’s an affordable, accessible option to try at home before considering prescription antifungal medications (The Independent Pharmacy).


Honey has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties that can help keep nails and cuticles healthy. Its enzymes help inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi that can lead to nail infections or brittle nails. Studies show honey exhibits antimicrobial activity against various pathogens due to its low pH, hydrogen peroxide content, and phytochemical components.[1] Using raw, organic honey is best to get the full benefits.

Honey also contains humectant properties that help soften cuticles. It draws moisture into the nail bed and cuticles, keeping them from drying out and peeling. Massaging a small amount of honey into the cuticles can help hydrate and nourish them. Adding a teaspoon of honey to a bowl of warm water, letting fingers soak for 10 minutes, then massaging more honey into cuticles is an easy at-home treatment. The hydrating benefits combined with its antimicrobial effects make honey an ideal ingredient for nail care.


Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is an effective natural moisturizer for healthy nails due to its anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties. According to Byrdie, coconut oil can be applied 2-4 times per week to soften cuticles and strengthen nails1. The lauric acid in coconut oil helps prevent fungal and bacterial growth under and around nails. Coconut oil is easily absorbed and moisturizes nails, leaving them less prone to cracking and peeling. Simply apply a small amount of coconut oil directly onto nails and cuticles before bedtime and allow it to soak in overnight for best results.

SELF magazine recommends using coconut oil on cuticles overnight as a beauty hack for healthy nails2. The moisturizing effects keep cuticles soft and prevent hangnails. With its antimicrobial and hydrating properties, coconut oil is an ideal natural remedy to strengthen nails and stimulate growth.

Biotin Supplementation for Brittle Nails

Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, has been shown to help strengthen brittle nails when taken as a dietary supplement ( Biotin plays an important role in the production of keratin, which is a key protein that makes up the nail plate. Several studies have demonstrated that taking biotin supplements can increase nail plate thickness by around 25% in people with brittle, splitting nails.

The recommended dosage of biotin for brittle nails is 2.5 mg per day, taken continuously for at least 3-6 months. Higher doses up to 10 mg per day have been used in studies, but there is no evidence that more than 2.5 mg provides additional benefit. It’s important to take biotin consistently over several months to see improvement. Biotin is generally very safe, even at high doses, though it may interfere with some lab tests.

Some of the best biotin supplement brands for brittle nails include Nature’s Bounty, Sports Research, Natrol, Zhou Nutrition, and Pure Encapsulations. When purchasing a biotin supplement, look for high quality products that are third-party tested for purity and potency.


This article has explored several natural remedies that can help strengthen nails and reverse brittleness. Lemon, orange, lavender and other citrus essential oils contain vitamins and antioxidants that can nourish nails when applied topically. Tea tree oil has antifungal properties to fight nail infections. Apple cider vinegar creates an acidic environment to prevent bacterial and fungal growth. Honey is a natural humectant that locks in moisture. Coconut oil conditions cuticles and nails with healthy fats. Biotin supplements support keratin production for harder nails.

To maintain healthy nails, aim to incorporate some of these remedies into your regular nail care routine. Rub a few drops of lemon or lavender oil over nails and cuticles daily. Soak nails in an apple cider vinegar bath once a week. Massage in coconut oil after removing nail polish. Take a biotin supplement with meals. Buff nails gently with a file to encourage new growth. Use a strengthening clear polish as basecoat under colored polish. Avoid excessive water exposure and wear gloves for cleaning. Check for nail fungal infections and treat them promptly. With some consistency, these natural approaches can restore strength and luster to even the most brittle nails.

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