Photo is from here
Ok so i used to have the worst nails, they chipped all the time and broken and it was just awful... until I started to incorporate this habits. Right now my nails are in good shape and so I can paint them and do anything I want!
First of all I ALWAYS use a base coat, this is really important because it protect your natural nails from the polishes you use, and also diminishes the stainig (and nobody wants yellow nails unless is a nail polish!). My base coat changes depending on what i'm trying at the moment and if you want to fill some ridges or make the color pop, etc! But the important thing is to always use one... I cannot stress this enough, seriously! Good options are Sally Hansen, China Glaze, OPI and Essie.
Second I use a non-acetone nail polish remover. I've heard that acetone weakens your nails and the skin around them (and of course your cuticles!), and I don't like oily nail polish removers... I just really hate the texture! I've been using the Sally Hansen Fast&Gentle Nail polish remover (the pink one!) for dry and brittle nails and I just LOOOOVE this product!!! It removes the polish fast enough but i doesn't leave your hand and nails feeling uncormfortable, the smell is no too strong and... is pink! I've tried the blue and the green ones also from Sally Hansen and still prefer the pink one, I just think it works better. It works even with really dense glitter polish... If you ever tried to remove glitter polish you know that is really anoying and i think this nail polish remover does a great job!
My third tip is always use a file to smooth the edges of the nail but put special care on smoothing the sides of your nail ONLY on the direction of grow... Someone once told me this helps growing your nails faster and stronger and since then I've been doing it and seems to be working for me! I like the Sally Hansen Handle me with care nail file, because i tend to prefer fine nail files and this one is perfect for me... is fine and it last a really long time without falling apart like other nail files do.
I also use a hand cream every night and when needed during the day. Right now i'm using the RoC ENYDRIAL hand cream for the night and the Vichy essentials hand creme for the day. The first one i use it only at night because is a really rich hand cream and I hate the smell. The Vichy one on the other hand is a really moisturizing cream that does not leave my hands feeling greasy and it has a subtle rose smell that i really like.
On days when i'm feeling like needing extra care i apply the Sally hansen cuticle cream with apricot oil on my cuticles before bed. I'm not crazy for this product, i still prefer the Lush Lemony Flutter cuticle treatment but i'm trying to finish the Sally Hansen one before buying other product.
I really hope this post was helpful for you ;)