The Common Sense Life Hack That Happens to Be the Secret to Healthy Nails

Healthy Nails Tips

This will probably go down in history as the most boring, common sense update I’ve ever posted to the blog. But I recently discovered the secret to strong and healthy nails.

Would you care to guess what that might be? An expensive lotion, perhaps? A complex daily regimen of health supplements and fancy juices? No.

The secret to healthy nails, it turns out, is a pair of rubber washing up gloves.

Yes, I know, this is groundbreaking stuff.

But let’s back up for a second. My nails have been weak, brittle and slightly ridged for about 18 months. And it’s been driving me crazy. Initially I thought it was an issue with my diet, so I started taking hair and nail supplements.

The supplements made no difference to my nails, but I did sprout a halo of tiny baby hairs, and now have a very sexy mini-fringe (#hairgoals). So, you know, all was not lost…

I also spoke to a nutritional therapist, in the hope that they would have a magical cure for my weak nails. But aside from adding a little bit more protein to my diet, there wasn’t much they could suggest.

It was only when I visited a nail salon, a few weeks ago, that I got the answer I’d desperately been searching for.

“You have very poor nails,” the technician said, as soon as she took hold of my hands.

“I know,” I responded, feebly, feeling waves of shame rippling across my body. Internally I berated myself for failing at something as simple as growing healthy nails.

“Do you wear washing up gloves?” the nail technician asked.

“Ummm, no. I probably should though. The water in my area is quite hard, it sometimes makes my skin dry. Would that make a difference?”

And, to that, she looked at me like I was supremely stupid (which, let’s face it, is a justifiable response). “Yes,” she assured me. “Washing up gloves will protect your nails.”

Later that day, I dug out my pair of Marigolds, which had been collecting dust under the sink for at least a year. And I now wear them every time I wash dishes by hand (which is at least twice a day – I don’t have a dishwasher in my apartment).

It’s now been about five weeks since I made this habit-change, and my nails are SO much stronger. They also feel smoother-to-the-touch, so I’m hopeful the unattractive ridging will eventually disappear, too.

So there you have it: the secret to healthy nails. It couldn’t be any easier…

Illustration by Jennifer Darr 


  1. Washing up gloves are very important for nails and skin.
    One more thing that might make nails weak and poor is some hand soaps: if they make the skin dry, chances are they will ruin nails as well!

  2. Noemi says:

    I don’t have a dishwasher and I always wash the dishes with gloves unless it’s just a few things, like the breakfast things.
    I suggest you to wash your gloves with a delicate soap before starting using them, to take away the remains of the making. There’s a kind of invisible dust inside that sometimes make my hands itchy.

    • Ella Gregory says:

      Oooh I’d never heard of that, but it makes sense. Sometimes the inside of my washing up gloves feel a bit… gritty? I also dislike the rubbery smell they leave behind on your hands. This is a great tip!

  3. Michelle says:

    I have such terribly weak nails that I’m ashamed every time I get my nails done! My nail technician advises I apply cuticle oil 3-4 times throughout the day and it’s made a world of difference – the ones with almond oil are apparently incredible for nails!

    • Ella Gregory says:

      Nail shame is real! Haha. I bought an oil from London Grace recently, and was using it daily but have now dropped out of the habit. Must start again asap!

  4. Shafira says:

    It’s probably the answer to my dry and rough hands too! Thanks for sharing! I really need to get washing glove now


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.