Moisturizers Help Maintain Nail Length: TRUE
Keeping your nails moist won't help them grow quicker, but it can keep them from breaking sooner.
"As we get into fall and winter when the air is much drier, nails crack and split more easily and therefore stay short," Kleinsmith says. "Our nails need lubrication, just like our hands and skin, during the winter months. Every time you wash your hands, put a little hand cream on; it's much richer and thicker than just a body lotion."
Wear gloves or mittens outdoors in cold weather, and use rubber gloves when you're doing chores around the house.
"Once nails come out from under the cuticle, they're dead tissue, so there's no way to repair it," Robinson says. "Detergents and dish soap can make the nails dry and split. Wear cotton-lined rubber gloves around any soaps or cleansers, even if you're only washing one dish or one window."
A High-Protein Diet Can Speed Nail Growth: FALSE
A protein deficiency can lead to weakened, slow-growing nails, so some web sites suggest that eating or drinking more protein (even specialized protein shakes) can help the nails grow more quickly.
Don't believe it, and don't drink protein shakes for this reason alone.
"Increasing protein intake is a myth as far as strengthening your nails," Robinson says. "Provided that you're not protein-deficient -- which is unheard of in the U.S. -- you are going to have the same nails."
Garlic Speeds Nail Growth: FALSE
Some women with long, attractive nails swear by garlic. They say that they rub halved raw garlic on their nails regularly, or they mince garlic, stuff it into a bottle of clear nail polish, then paint their nails weekly with it. They claim to grow longer, stronger nails quicker than their friends who don't know their secret.
Why have people targeted garlic? Possibly because the bulb is high in selenium, and some studies have linked low selenium levels to weaker nails. But no research has found a connection between garlic ingestion or application and longer, stronger, or quicker-growing nails.
"These claims are a bit ridiculous," Robinson says. "There's no validity to this."