Why Are My Nails Soft and Bendy? Ultimate Guide!

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If your nails are soft and bendy, you’re not alone. It’s possible you have a condition known as onychoschizia, which is quite common, especially among women. But it’s also possible you are just abusing your nails by using too many chemicals, nail treatments, and the like.

In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about soft and bendy nails: what causes them, how to fix them, and how to prevent them from happening in the future.

So if you’re wondering “why are my nails soft and bendy?“, read on!


Understanding the Anatomy of the Nail

Before diving into the reasons behind soft and bendy nails, it’s useful to have a basic understanding of the nail’s anatomy. A nail consists of several parts:

  • Nail plate: This is the part of the nail that you can see. It’s made up of a protein called keratin and is usually hard and translucent.
  • Nail bed: The nail bed lies beneath the nail plate and contains blood vessels and nerves. It’s what gives your nails their pink color.
  • Cuticle: This is the thin layer of skin that protects the base of the nail. Keeping your cuticles healthy is crucial for overall nail health.
  • Nail matrix: Located under the cuticle, the matrix is where new nail cells are produced. The health of your matrix significantly impacts your nail’s health.

If your nails are soft and bendy, it could be due to an issue with one or more of these components.

What Causes Soft and Bendy Nails?

Soft and bendy nails are often related to a phenomenon known as onychoschizia. This can be caused by a variety of factors. The most common causes include:

  • Frequent exposure to water: If you frequently have your hands in water, this can soften your nails and make them more prone to becoming soft and bendy.
  • Exposure to harsh chemicals: Cleaning products, nail polish removers, and other chemicals can damage your nails and make them softer.
  • Nutritional deficiencies: A lack of certain nutrients, like protein, biotin, and iron, can weaken your nails and make them more prone to becoming soft and bendy.
  • Underlying health conditions: Certain health conditions, like hypothyroidism and anemia, can lead to soft and bendy nails. If you suspect your soft nails are due to a health condition, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional.

More often than not, though, weak nails are the result of being overexposed to moisture or chemicals, such as acetone-based nail polish remover and other chemical nail treatments like acrylics left on too long, as well as cleaning fluids, and detergents.

How to Fix Soft and Bendy Nails

Dealing with soft and bendy nails can be frustrating, but there are ways to improve the health and strength of your nails. Here are some tips:

  • Use a nail strengthener: A good nail strengthener can improve the hardness and strength of your nails. Products like OPI Nail Envy are designed to provide maximum strengthening with hydrolyzed wheat protein and calcium for harder, longer, stronger, natural nails.
  • Keep your nails in good shape: Filing your nails regularly will help prevent snags, cracks, splits, and other nail issues.
  • Stay hydrated: Keeping your body hydrated can help keep your nails hydrated as well. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water per day.
  • Wear gloves when cleaning: To protect your nails from harsh chemicals, wear gloves when cleaning or washing dishes.
  • Improve your diet: Incorporate foods that are high in biotin and protein, like eggs, bananas, and salmon, into your diet. You can also consider taking a biotin supplement or folic acid to improve your nail health.
  • Avoid biting your nails: Biting your nails can damage them and make them softer. If you’re a nail biter, try to break the habit to improve the health of your nails.

And it goes without saying, but you should definitely steer clear of any product that contains acetone for the foreseeable future. Acetone is weird: it’s a natural substance made all the time in your body, but it can be very rough on the nails and skin.

The Best Products for Soft and Bendy Nails

Having the right products at your disposal can make all the difference when it comes to improving the health and strength of your nails. Here are some of the best products to help you deal with soft and bendy nails:

1. Pura D'or Organic Nail and Cuticle Oil 

PURA D'OR Organic Nail & Cuticle Oil (4oz) - Enriched with Biotin, Vitamin E, Natural Ingredients - Nourishing Treatment for Nail Growth & Healthy Beds
  • NOURISH and STRENGTHEN: Certified USDA...
  • SAFE FOR ACRYLIC NAILS: Our nail cuticle...
  • KEEPS MANICURES FRESH: As a great...

Pura D’or Organic Nail and Cuticle Oil is great, with its natural and nourishing blend of biotin, sunflower, and jojoba oils, honey, almond milk, and vitamin E.

It has been specially formulated to heal and nourish cuticles, which will help to promote healthier and much stronger nails and growth. Plus, by helping your nails to stay hydrated, its gentle ingredients will work to smooth out the surface of the nail bed, leaving your fingertips with more beautiful and healthy nails.

2. Barielle Garlic Nail Strengthener and Growth Dual Function Nail Lacquer 

Barielle Garlic Nail Strengthener and Growth Dual Function Nail Lacquer
  • Intensive innovative nail product which...
  • Our amazing new Garlic Nail Strengthener...
  • This Nail Strengthener is infused with...
  • From simple nail strengthening...
  • Made in USA

If you’re looking for a nail polish that will also help to strengthen your nails, we recommend Barielle Garlic Nail Strengthener and Growth Dual Function Nail Lacquer which is infused with garlic, a natural antioxidant, and acts both as a hardener and growth formula.

This 7-free formulated nail lacquer will help fortify weak and brittle nails for better growth, without the chemical nasties associated with most hardeners, such as formaldehyde, toluene, formaldehyde resin, and dibutyl phthalate. (If you’re wondering what X-Free means, click here.)

Garlic Nail Strengthener and Growth Dual Function Nail Lacquer can also be used as a base coat to help your natural nails grow stronger by building up layers of protection onto the nail bed.

3. Probelle's Nail Strengthener Base Coat 

Probelle Nail Strengthening Formula, Nail Growth & Conditioning, Stops Splits, Chips, Cracks & Strengthens Nails, Clear
  • IMPROVES: Proven formula that improves...
  • STRENGTHENS: Strengthens, Growths, and...
  • HIGH GLOSS: Clear formula that provides...
  • INGREDIENTS: Uses AHAs, Vitamin B5,...
  • HOW TO USE: This formula can be used as...

Another product we recommend here at Luxe Luminous is Probelle’s Nail Strengthener Base Coat, which is infused with AHAs, vitamins B5 and C, and hexanal to give your nails the nutrition and moisture they need for natural strengthening.

This strengthener has been specially formulated to help repair and condition nails that have been damaged from gel and acrylic manicures, which dehydrate the nail bed.

And its 9-free formula doesn’t include chemicals like formaldehyde and parabens that can further cause nail damage.

With these tools in your arsenal, you can effectively combat soft and bendy nails and enjoy stronger, healthier nails.

When to See a Doctor for Soft and Bendy Nails

While soft and bendy nails can often be improved with at-home remedies and lifestyle changes, sometimes it’s necessary to seek professional help. If you’ve tried the above tips and your nails remain soft and bendy, it might be time to consult with a healthcare professional or a dermatologist.

Furthermore, if your soft and bendy nails are accompanied by other symptoms such as yellowing, ridges, or pitting, these could be signs of a more serious underlying condition.

Conditions such as thyroid disease, anemia, and fungal nail infections can all cause changes in your nails.

Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

If you’re concerned about the health of your nails, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with a healthcare professional. They can help diagnose any potential conditions and provide treatment options tailored to your needs.


Can soft and bendy nails be a sign of a serious health condition?

In some cases, soft and bendy nails can be a sign of an underlying health condition, such as hypothyroidism or anemia. If you suspect your soft nails are due to a health condition, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional.

Can I use a nail hardener on soft and bendy nails?

Yes, a nail hardener can add a protective layer to your nails and help improve their strength and hardness.

Can improving my diet help with soft and bendy nails?

Absolutely. A diet rich in essential nutrients like protein, biotin, and iron can help improve your nail health

What should I avoid if I have soft and bendy nails?

If you have soft and bendy nails, try to avoid frequent water exposure, exposure to harsh chemicals, and biting your nails. These can all worsen the condition of your nails.

Having soft and bendy nails can be a nuisance, but with the right knowledge and tools, you can improve the health and strength of your nails. Here’s to healthy, strong nails!

In Conclusion

Having soft and bendy nails can be a frustrating issue, but it’s not something you can’t fix. With a better understanding of why your nails are soft and the right care and preventative measures, you can improve your nail health and keep them strong and healthy.

Remember, your nails are a reflection of your overall health, so it’s important to take good care of them.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).