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Why Are My Nails Soft and Bendy? The Surprising Reasons

So why are your nails so soft and bendy? Soft fingernails are a very frustrating problem that many of my clients struggled with before coming to me. Their nails were so soft that they broke the minute they started to grow. However, once I helped them understand the source of their bendy nails, they were able to pick the right methods to fix it. So today, I will break down 5 surprising reasons your nails are bendy so that you know how to address it.

This blog post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase. 

5 Reasons Your Nails are Soft

why are my nails soft and bendy

1.Rough Nail Salon Visit

A bad salon visit is the most common reason that my clients have soft weak nails. This problem usually happens when your nail bed is over-buffed during gel manicures or regular manicures. When you go to the salon, the 1st thing nail technicians do is prep your nails with a square block called a buffing block. Because they used this tool too harshly, they ended up removing too many layers of your natural nails which thinned them out. The rough prep process is what causes your nail plate to become thin and bendy. Additionally, you may feel soreness in your nails if too many layers of your natural nails are removed.

2.Too Much Water is Getting Into Your Nails

If your hands are in water a lot, this can cause your nails to become soft and weak. This is because when your nails get wet they become wide and when they are dry they become narrow. This constant change in shape causes your nails to be weak and bendy. If you work in healthcare where you wash your hands 10 times a day, this might be why you have weak bendy nails. Another sign that water is the cause of your bendy nails is if you have peeling nails in layers.

3.Health Conditions

Health issues like anemia can cause nail problems like spoon nails. This is because iron plays a key role in the strength and health of your nails. If you have low iron levels, this may be the thing causing your weak bendy nails.


Strong nails are not just about what you put on your body, but also about what you put in your body. If you are not getting key nutrients like iron or vitamin D in your diet, this can affect your nail health. Suppose you notice that you have thin brittle nails, and you experience other problems like low energy. In that case, I recommend talking to your doctor to test whether you have a potential iron deficiency or underlying condition. This may be the thing that is affecting the health of your nails.


Soft bendy nails are sometimes a genetic thing. A key factor that contributes to the strength of your nails is the length of your nail matrix. The nail matrix is not the nail bed. It is under the base of the nail and is where nail growth starts. If you have noticed that thin fragile nails run in your family, genetics could be the thing causing your nails to be bendy as well.

How to Avoid Soft Bendy Nails

The good news is soft bendy nails can be prevented.  Here are 2 ways how.

1.Have a well-balanced diet

Nail growth starts within. Having a well-balanced diet of leafy greens is a great way to prevent a vitamin deficiency. Additionally, if you can take multivitamins or iron supplements to ensure you consume what you need for your nails to thrive.

2.Protect Your Nails

Remember, too much water getting into your nails can weaken your nails. One easy way to prevent this is to wear rubber gloves when you wash dishes. This blocks excess water and harsh chemicals in detergent from getting into your nails and causing weakness and peeling.

How do You Fix Soft Bendy Nails?

If your nails have become soft and bendy after a trip to the salon, the key to fixing them is restoring the health of your nail bed. Oftentimes, when my clients come to me, they think using a nail strengthener is key to getting stronger nails. However, when they started using the strengthener, they noticed that their nails didn’t get stronger and were breaking more often. I tell them that using a strengthener is like painting over a cracked sidewalk. It does not address the issue of the nail bed that was weakened at the salon. The key is restoring the health of the nail bed which is like repaving the crack in the sidewalk.

What Diseases Causes Soft Nails?

Diseases that cause soft nails are conditions like anemia. Anemia is when your body has low levels of Iron. This can cause your nails to become soft and spoon like.

why are my nails soft and bendy


Do nail treatments like nail strengtheners fix thin soft nails?

I generally don’t recommend that my clients use strengtheners. They don’t actually make nails stronger. They just make the nails hard which causes them to break even more over time. I recommend staying away from these.

Do biotin supplements or b vitamins help with thin nails?

From my experience, biotin does make the nails stronger, however, you want to be very careful with the amount you are taking. Some of these supplements have a daily value of biotin of  10,000% which is crazy. Taking this much biotin or vitamin b can cause side effects like breaking out.

Does using a lot of hand sanitizer weaken nails?

Hand sanitizer is alcohol based which can dry the nails out if used frequently. Make sure you follow up with cuticle oil. This could be vitamin e, jojoba oil or olive oil. Feel free to check out the top 8 oils for nail growth in this blog here.

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