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Is it possible to have strong nails naturally, without chemical strengtheners?

I have always had bad nails - weak, peeling, and tearing. All of those lovely hazards that seem to follow me around. For the last several years, I have been using polish-like strengtheners which have worked beautifully. I have to trim my nails back to fingertip length about once every seven to ten days.

One thing I have noticed is that while the strengtheners have helped my nails grow, it does make them very hard and more prone to actual chipping or cracking. I have been on the hunt for a product or a method (or a combination of both!) that will give me the strength I've gotten used to but with more flexibility and fewer chemicals. Besides the chemicals in the paint-on products, I also have to use nail polish remover to clean my nails and start over every week. The smell alone is going to do me in.

One quick note - I have stopped using emery boards in every situation except the most dire emergency. I use a crystal nail file to trim my nails and highly recommend this one from Sally's, the Danielle Ruby Stone Crystal Nail File - since it has its own little protective case. For smoothing them out post-trimming, I love my three-step buffer but I have no idea what brand it is.

So now that my nails are trimmed and buffed, I still need a little assistance with the strengthening aspect. Here are a couple ideas that I am eager to try out!

  1. Many natural oils can also be used such as olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil or jojoba oil or a mixture of the above list. This would by far be the easiest and cheapest solution if I have the discipline to make it happen. Making my own mixture and soaking my nails 20 minutes every day just doesn't seem realistic for my life.
  2. T.I.P.S.® - The Incredible Protection System I have seen this on one of the home shopping channels, and have been very curious. It is a mixture of oils that you apply to the nail and the surrounding cuticle area. It seems pretty straightforward and the before-and-after pictures look great! And you have to check out the system's contoured nail file!

Ultimately I think my goal is fingertip-length nails with a healthy shine that doesn't require constant painting and removing of said paint. Any suggestions are welcome!

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