A split nail qualifies as a beauty emergency, especially if you're on your way out the door and can't do much to fix it. You may think that only the elderly need to cope with dry, brittle nails -- but younger people can suffer from this frustrating problem as well. If you have dry skin or thin nails, it's not uncommon for them to split or crack. By moisturizing and protecting your nails, you'll strengthen them and they'll split much less.

Step 1

Wash your hands regularly, but avoid soaking your nails in water for long periods of time. Soaking softens your nails, making them more prone to splitting.

Step 2

Trim your fingernails while they're still soft after washing. Nails are more likely to crack if you cut them when they're dry. If your nails have jagged edges, file them down so they don't get caught on something and tear.

Step 3

Apply moisturizer to nails and hands several times a day. It's best to apply moisturizer when nails are wet, after hand washing or showering. Rub the moisturizer into your nails, cuticles and fingertips.

Step 4

Protect your nails by wearing gloves when working with chemicals. Wear rubber gloves when washing dishes by hand.

Step 5

Take a fingernail supplement that contains biotin. Biotin may help strengthen nails, according to Mayo Clinic.

Step 6

Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of protein, fresh produce, natural oils and whole grains. An unhealthy or nutrient-deficient diet might cause brittle, weak nails.

Step 7

Avoid using your nails as tools. Don't pry open a soda can tab with your fingernail, for example.

Warnings

  • Some diseases and conditions, such as anemia and thyroid problems, may cause nail splitting. See your doctor if your nails won't stop splitting, especially if you notice any other unusual health symptoms.

Tips

  • Use clear polish or nail glue to fix split nails before they get worse. Keep a bottle in your purse to repair nail damage when you're on the go.

  • If you paint your nails, use acetone-free polish remover to take the color off. Acetone has a drying effect that might make nails more prone to splitting.