Products for Softening the Nails?

Nail care, nail problems, and the use of nails in playing the classical guitar.
PeteJ
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Products for Softening the Nails?

Post by PeteJ » Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:49 pm

My nails are too stiff and my tone is best after softening them in warm water. Is there a product that will soften them without doing any harm? Most oils etc. seem to be for making them stronger but this is not my problem.

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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Products for Softening the Nails?

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:24 pm

PeteJ wrote:My nails are too stiff
Wow - more stiff than a piece of ping-pong ball?

No consolation to you I'm sure, but I wish I had your problem.

Soaking in a strong solution of detergent (try washing-up liquid) should do the trick.

JohnB
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Re: Products for Softening the Nails?

Post by JohnB » Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:44 pm

Sorry to ask a silly question but have you experimented with your nail shapes and with polishing (i.e. burnishing) the nails?
Last edited by JohnB on Tue Jun 26, 2018 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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celestemcc
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Re: Products for Softening the Nails?

Post by celestemcc » Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:53 pm

Sorry to ask a silly question but have you experimented with your nail shapes an with polishing (i.e. burnishing) the nails?
I concur. You may need more aggressive files and polishing mesh than those of us with softer nails, but burnishing is essential for good tone. Gotta eliminate any trace of edge or roughness. FWIW, I use the white and grey sides of an Oasis nail shaper for that, others use very fine micromesh; experiment a little.

I hope you can find a solution that works for you; I too would LOVE to have your nails!
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PeteJ
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Re: Products for Softening the Nails?

Post by PeteJ » Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:37 am

Yeah, stiffer than a ping pong ball, although it might depend how many stars it has, My nails are at least four star. I can't remember when I last broke a nail. They sound much better when softened a little but it can be a nuisance doing this. i thought there might be some sort of cream or other agent available that would have the same effect but a search hasn't found one. I use a crystal file, polish with leather etc, but this is not the problem. It's the rigidity.

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lagartija
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Re: Products for Softening the Nails?

Post by lagartija » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:08 pm

PeteJ wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:37 am
Yeah, stiffer than a ping pong ball, although it might depend how many stars it has, My nails are at least four star. I can't remember when I last broke a nail. They sound much better when softened a little but it can be a nuisance doing this. i thought there might be some sort of cream or other agent available that would have the same effect but a search hasn't found one. I use a crystal file, polish with leather etc, but this is not the problem. It's the rigidity.
My nails are very strong as well. If they have been in water, they are softer....but that is a temporary hydration. Then when they dry, they are stiff and hard and the sound is not as nice. This is especially true in the winter when the humidity is very low. What I do is use hand lotion after every time my hands have been in water. I especially massage the lotion into my fingertips. This treatment leaves my nails strong and flexible not dry and stiff. My favorite lotion is Kuumba made vanilla body lotion. It sinks right in, is not greasy feeling and smells nice, too!
I first came across it at Whole Foods, then they stopped carrying it. I found it at a local spa, but sometimes they didn’t have the vanilla. So now I just order it online.
It is a vegetable glycerin type formula and that works better for my skin than mineral or petroleum oil formulations.

If your nails lack flexibility, to me that indicates they are too dry and need better hydration. Do you use gloves when washing dishes or using cleaning compounds? If not, then I recommend that you try that. All of those cleaners are drying and will leave your nails stiff. Then use the lotion therapy. I have a small bottle of lotion in my music bag. If I am going to perform, I always use the lotion before playing. It also improves the sound of my flesh on both left and right fingertips.
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JohnB
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Re: Products for Softening the Nails?

Post by JohnB » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:26 pm

There is a Youtube video by Antigoni Goni n nail care which is well worth watching.

One of the things she recommends for dry nails is to soak them in luke warm olive oil for 10 minutes, last thing at night. Then, I think, use moisturiser or nail cream afterward soaking.

Anyway, better to listen to what she says in the video.

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PeteJ
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Re: Products for Softening the Nails?

Post by PeteJ » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:54 pm

Thanks folks. Some good ideas. I'll follow them up.

PeteJ
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Re: Products for Softening the Nails?

Post by PeteJ » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:15 pm

Ouch. Just looked at Kuumba Made Body Lotion, (Patchouli, 6 fl oz) on amazon. It's £40!

@lagartija - Before I blow money on the wrong product can I just check that this is what you meant?

@JohnB - The video is very good (thanks) but she doesn't cover my situation. I'd say my nails are healthy, not brittle or dry but too inflexible.

Rasputin
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Re: Products for Softening the Nails?

Post by Rasputin » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:22 pm

PeteJ wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:15 pm
@JohnB - The video is very good (thanks) but she doesn't cover my situation. I'd say my nails are healthy, not brittle or dry but too inflexible.
Could that be a thickness issue? What about thinning them down with something midway between a buffer and a file? Ironically, an electric contraption like the one discussed in the other thread might help.

PeteJ
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Re: Products for Softening the Nails?

Post by PeteJ » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:52 pm

Hmm. That's a thought. I've never tried thinning them. I'll give it a try.

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lagartija
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Re: Products for Softening the Nails?

Post by lagartija » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:58 pm

PeteJ wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:15 pm
Ouch. Just looked at Kuumba Made Body Lotion, (Patchouli, 6 fl oz) on amazon. It's £40!

@lagartija - Before I blow money on the wrong product can I just check that this is what you meant?

@JohnB - The video is very good (thanks) but she doesn't cover my situation. I'd say my nails are healthy, not brittle or dry but too inflexible.
On their website it has the patchouli for $3.74 for the small size and $8.78 for the large (6.75 oz). I read that the shipping charge to the UK is $34!!! :shock:
So the problem is the transport, I’m afraid. I’m sure you can get something made in the EU or UK that will work just as well.
Ingredient list:
Water, lavender flower water, vegetable glycerin, stearic acid, myristyl myristate, cetearyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate, ceteareth-20, shea butter, sunflower seed oil, jojoba seed oil, cetyl alcohol, calendula oil, passion fruit seed oil, rice bran oil,açaí palm fruit oil, phenoxyethanol, fragrance oil, ethylhexylglycerin.

Mostly water and a variety of oils with additive that keep it stable in suspension.

People have different skin types, and some formulations work better than others for a particular skin type. I have an olive Mediterranean complexion and find that the glycerin-based formulations sink in, but mineral oil formulations just sit on the surface and make me greasy. My husband is of Swedish descent and those mineral oil based formulations are just what he needs. So go to the moisturizer section of the store and find a small bottle of each type. Once you find which one sinks in better, try a different brand until you find one you really like.
When the sun shines, bask.
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Classical Guitar forever!

JohnB
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Re: Products for Softening the Nails?

Post by JohnB » Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:31 pm

PeteJ wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:15 pm
@JohnB - The video is very good (thanks) but she doesn't cover my situation. I'd say my nails are healthy, not brittle or dry but too inflexible.
I suggest that it is worth trying Ms Goni's method: it is likely to make your nails more flexible.
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lagartija
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Re: Products for Softening the Nails?

Post by lagartija » Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:10 pm

JohnB wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:31 pm
PeteJ wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:15 pm
@JohnB - The video is very good (thanks) but she doesn't cover my situation. I'd say my nails are healthy, not brittle or dry but too inflexible.
I suggest that it is worth trying Ms Goni's method: it is likely to make your nails more flexible.
Yes, I just watched the video. She is saying the same thing I said; if your nails are not flexible, it may be due to excessive dryness. Try wearing gloves anytime you are using anything that dries your skin, and use a moisturizer on your hands anytime they have been in water.
When the sun shines, bask.
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Classical Guitar forever!

Karen
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Re: Products for Softening the Nails?

Post by Karen » Thu Jun 28, 2018 2:44 am

I didn’t like the idea of sitting around with my hands dipped in olive oil, so when I started playing cg I came up with the idea of putting a drop of olive oil on a cotton pad and wiping the oily pad on my nails after washing my hands - every time I wash them. I think it is the soap more than the water that dries them out. I have been doing this for close to 2 years now and I am very happy with how it is working for my nails. After over 60 years of not worrying about my nails they were rather a mess to start. A side benefit is I also don’t seem to have a problem with dry callouses on my left hand - they get oiled naturally when using that oily pad. That drop of oil goes a long way so it is a cheap thing to try, but the effects are not instantaneous.

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