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I’ve had this problem ever since I can remember. The moment my nails got a bit longer, poof, there it was, the side split. Since I didn’t have a photo of what I mean, here, have this… drawing:

The red marks the split.
So needless to say I was pretty unhappy with having to cut my nails short the moment I got a bit hopeful. But I found a solution that works on my nails and possibly will work on yours as well. What you’ll need is first and foremost a high quality crystal file. I use the OPI one. Glass files are much better then regular files, they cause much less snagging and give you a smooth finish with no damage to the nail. However they too come in different qualities so make sure you invest in a really good one. The prices are a bit uh hum but it will last you forever since it doesn’t go dull (unless you drop it and it breaks, then it’ll be gone). You’ll also be needing a nail strengthener. If you don’t like to paint your nails, no biggie, you can use the treatment alone. There are matte ones as well if you don’t like it glossy. I use OPI Nail Envy, the original one.
So once you have your crystal file, this is what you’ll do:

See, the left side is filed round, the right side is unfiled. The point being that if you have nails that love to split on the sides, you’ll need to give the sides a slight curve. When the nails start to grow, the sides grow straight and that shape is much weaker then rounded. You don’t have to file your nails to an unnatural round, just get rid of the slight corner and smooth the sides out, creating a very slight angle. And always, ALWAYS file in one direction only! Don’t go back and forth, that will wreak havoc on your nails.
Once you’ve filed your nails to a nice rounded shape, add the strengthener. If you’re not using colored nail polish on top, go with the directions. Strengtheners usually say to apply one layer every day and remove after 5-7 days and start over. If you’re using colored nail polish, just use the strengthener as a base coat.
If your nails are prone to splitting, I wouldn’t really suggest buffing them too much, that makes the nails thinner and thus weaker. So unless you have really ridged nails, I’d say just don’t. And with ridges, there are ridge fillers as well.
The key to the whole thing is the filing. And yes, that means you’ll have to give up your dreams of square nails. Square nails don’t work for split-prone nails.
After a lifetime of short nails, with this simple trick I finally have long nails that I’ve been able to keep. Though I must admit to me they’ve grown so long that it’s a whole new territory and frankly a bit uncomfortable 😀 Here are mine, nicely stained and dry from polish removal (before I’ve dealt with my cuticles and buttering it all up) but at least you’ll see the length and shape:

I always got splits when I reached about half this length. So yes. If you’re suffering with the same annoyance, do try this out. And if you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment below or e-mail me: kirikadawn@gmail.com
Hope this helps! 🙂