Paper Thin Nails: 8 Solutions to Try Now

paper thin nails
Written by Allison

Paper thin nails, solved.

Being a fan of nail art (see my most recent galaxy nails) it’s a major bummer to have damaged, paper thin nails. Although genetics has a lot to do with it, you can take steps to keep your paper thin nails as strong and long as possible. Take it from me, growing out your damaged nails is frustrating, but so worth it in the end.

paper thin nails

Ugh. These poor babies. I had gel nails on twice in a row and picked off both sets. This tore my paper thin nails to shreds and left them cut up and damaged. I had to chop them down just to be able to deal with every day life.

paper thin nails
1. Jojoba Oil
paper thin nails

My number one tip is adding jojoba oil into your life. It’s super hydrating, similar to human sebum (which is a good thing) and nails love it. This one is cheap, great, and easy to use.

This is normally what I use to keep my cuticles hydrated, but when I have damaged nails like these, it helps the actual nail too. I apply at least once a day and massage in. Keep in mind, for truly damaged nails you can’t repair them (it is dead cells after all) but you can help keep your nails in good shape as they grow out.

2. Avoid Nail Picking

Nail picking is my Everest. I always pick at my nails when I’m nervous. This is especially worse when I wear gel nails more often than not. Your nails are made of dead cells. So, if you damage the nail right in the middle, it can’t repair itself like your skin. Avoid picking your nails to avoid damage.

3. Avoid Gel Nails

Okay, so this is kind of just for nail pickers (or biters!). Gel polish turns into more or less plastic when it is cured (this is why it’s dry instantly). When that polish bonds to your nails it’s hard to get off. This is why it lasts so long without chipping. If you’re a nail picker, you’re much more likely to gouge into your nails when picking off gels. So not worth the two week polish.

If you’re still obsessed with gels, here’s how you can hide grown out gel nails.

4. Avoid Acrylic Nails

The same can be said for acrylic nails. Although they work in a far different way to gels. I guess, if you think about it, acrylics aren’t doing anything wrong while they’re on your nails. It’s when you get them off that’s the problem. Soaking your nails in acetone for a solid half hour? That’s extremely dehydrating to the nail. This can lead to damage and peeling for paper thin nails. Although we get it — acrylics can help prevent nail chipping, a whole other issue in itself.

5. Your Genetics May Be At Play

Thanks mom and dad! Your base level of nail quality is down to genetics. If your parents have paper thin nails, better chance than not you do too. This means that even with the best ever nail care routine, you may just have okay nails.

6. Is Acetone The Problem?

Not necessarily. Although prolonged exposure is super drying, that doesn’t mean you can’t use it. If you use regular (ie not gel) polish acetone may actually be preferable. An acetone soaked cotton ball can get the polish off your nail in seconds without having to scrub. This leaves your nails polish free and does less damage than a “moisturizing” nail polish remover that needs a lot of rubbing to work.

7. Polish Isn’t The Problem

Oh pinky nail, it was nice knowing you.

Removing the polish is the problem. So long as you aren’t picking, scrubbing, or otherwise scratching at your natural nails, polish can actually help! Polish can work as a layer of protection for your nails. It’s all about being careful, not about going polish free.

8. Peel Off Base Coat

And if, at the end of the day, you know you’ll never stop picking your nails, get a good peel off base coat. This way you’re removing your polish with as little damage as possible. And you still get that nail peel satisfaction.

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About the author


Bio: She's a New Orleans based beauty writer, nail polish hoarder, and doughnut enthusiast. When she isn't camping out in her local coffee shop for hours on end, you'll probably find her taking selfies in front of every colorful wall she's ever seen. Follow along on Instagram @allisonmarieschmidt.

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