Whether your nails have been weakened from acetone or a weekly habit of gel manicures, keeping your natural nails in tip-top shape is important. When nails get weaker, not only are they more likely to break, but they can even peel, which makes simply painting them that much more difficult.

Not to mention the pain that can come along with breaking or cracking nails. For those reasons, we wanted to share a few insider tips on how to bring your nails back to their former glory. Say goodbye to brittle nails and say hello to long and strong ones.

1. This is probably the easiest one on our list: to avoid too much water. When will you ever hear that? When it comes to your nails, water, especially hot water, is a no-no. Washing your hands, doing the dishes, or scrubbing the tub are all ways to dry out your nails and your hands. Whether the shocking water temperature or constant contact with harsh soaps or cleaning products, try to cut down on your sudsing up. Of course, wash your hands when need be, but use rubber gloves to protect your nails from further damage when using detergents.

2. Another easy one that helps a lot more than just your nails is staying hydrated. Drinking enough water has endless benefits, and stronger nails is one of them. Water hydrates the skin on your face, but also your hands. And that means your cuticles will retain more moisture and effectively enhance the quality of your nails.

3. Use cuticle oil. Nearly every brand of nail polish has cuticle oil on the market. You can pick up your favorite or this bestseller, Sally Hansen Complete Care 7-in-1 (Shop here), as it is readily available, affordable, and offers tons of benefits to improve your nails. Not only does a cuticle treatment like this moisturize the entire nail bed, but it strengthens, fills ridges, enhances growth, and even works as a base and topcoat for polish.

4. Then, if you have the time a soak, it is not only relaxing but intensely beneficial for weak and brittle nails. You can find a ton of DIY options on Pinterest, but our favorite has three simple ingredients. Add ¼ cup fresh orange juice (for antioxidants and vitamins), 1 clove of chopped garlic (which has selenium and antifungal properties), and ¼ cup of olive oil (that offers intense moisture) to a dish and soak your nails for about 15 minutes. This works so well you should start to see a difference in your nails in only two weeks if you do this about three times a week.

5. Quit using your nails as a can opener. There are other tools like scissors or actual can openers that are made to open difficult packaging. Putting your nails through that trauma can lead to intense breakage that will set you back on your nail strengthening journey.

6. Take a manicure holiday. Yes, we know how addicting a trip to the salon can be, but the strong and dangerous chemicals in many of those products can be extremely damaging to your nails. And even more so than the polish, the nail polish remover works similarly to a paint thinner. So skip the acetone and harsh scrubbing, and go au naturale for at least a few months to help rebuild your brittle nails. And if you think peeling or picking off your polish is better than using a chemical remover, that will not do you any favors. When you scrape off nail polish, the top layer of your nails comes along with it, thinning them out even more.

7. Finally, some supplements and yummy foods have been known to improve nail strength. Biotin helps to maintain healthy hair, skin, and nails. If you have ever purchased a women’s vitamin, there is a good chance there was biotin included. But taking a supplement will only go so far. Naturally adding biotin into your diet by way of delicious foods is the best route to take. So biotin-rich foods to add to your grocery list are eggs, almonds, sweet potatoes, and spinach.

This might seem like a lot of changes for you to make, but if you want stronger and healthier nails, they are certainly worth the effort. The days of struggling with thinning, weak, and even painful nails are over.