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View Full Version : Cure for soft fingernails?



camperman
04-12-2013, 07:59 AM
My nails tend to be a little soft. If I wash my hands they don't harden back up for at least 1/2 hour and I find my strumming is cleanest and brightest as soon as I get up in the morning before getting any water on my hands and of course I can't go all day without washing my hands. My nail seems harder when my hands are cold too.
I asked a friend who is a nail technician and the only advice she could offer was to coat my nail in superglue.

So is there a trick or magic potion for hardening fingernails?

Sue991
04-12-2013, 08:28 AM
My nails tend to be a little soft. If I wash my hands they don't harden back up for at least 1/2 hour and I find my strumming is cleanest and brightest as soon as I get up in the morning before getting any water on my hands and of course I can't go all day without washing my hands. My nail seems harder when my hands are cold too.
I asked a friend who is a nail technician and the only advice she could offer was to coat my nail in superglue.

So is there a trick or magic potion for hardening fingernails?

My nails are brittle as opposed to soft so they break really easily. I might have to try the superglue for myself! Thanks for the tip. ;)

teruterubouzu
04-12-2013, 08:42 AM
You could try a traditional nail care product like OPI nail envy (http://www.amazon.com/OPI-Nail-Matte-0-5-Fluid-Ounce/dp/B001ARQWW2/ref=sr_1_1?rps=1&ie=UTF8&qid=1365792211&sr=8-1&keywords=Opi+nail+envy). A lot of people swear by it for weak or damaged nails. Or you could try this wacky stuff I found when I googled male nail (a matte hardener one of my old friends used for manicures): ALPHA NAIL (http://www.alphanail.com/)

SailQwest
04-12-2013, 08:51 AM
On the recommendation of another UUer, I tried Nailtiques (I got mine at Walgreen's.) It is a-m-a-z-i-n-g stuff. :love:

addicted2myuke
04-12-2013, 09:05 AM
Good old fashioned clear nail polish. Yes, it will put a gloss on your hands but so what? It will make you look like you just had an expensive manicure. It will definately make your nails hard and help them grow. Super glue will dry them out and make them brittle and they will break. There go your strumming nails. Hope this helps.

DaveVisi
04-12-2013, 09:22 AM
I would NOT go the superglue route. Yes, I know this from first hand experience.

I've found nothing yet that helps. Coatings like nail polish are never hard enough, and if something hard like acrylic is applied then it's up to the nail to adhere to it. If the nail loses adhesion and separates from the coating, then the coating will most likely shatter and break off, leaving you worse than before. There are "primers" that help adhesion at the cost of some loss of nail integrity, meaning if you use it too much you sacrifice your own nails. It's sort of a "catch 22" where you have to have some fairly strong and thick nails to support using artificial nails. Thin nails just get thinner the longer the product is used.

It took me several months of not playing and no coatings of any kind before my nails grew out enough to come back from the damage of acrylics. They were so think after removing the acrylics that I had to trim them all the way to the nail bed and even cover one with a "band-aid" until it was grown out enough to support itself without tearing like tissue paper.

For nail polish users, I've found you can use a buffer over a polish like Sally Hansen's "Tough as Nails" to "degloss" it a bit, or if you can find it, Orly's "Nails for Males" is a nice matte finish product that will help smooth out some of the natural ridges, but like any other polish it really doesn't do much to actually "strengthen" anything.

wayfarer75
04-12-2013, 09:38 AM
Good old fashioned clear nail polish. Yes, it will put a gloss on your hands but so what? It will make you look like you just had an expensive manicure. It will definately make your nails hard and help them grow. Super glue will dry them out and make them brittle and they will break. There go your strumming nails. Hope this helps.

There are matte clear nail polishes out there. It's been kind of a "thing" with us ladies lately. For example: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000YQHHE2/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000YQHHE2&linkCode=as2&tag=thecheesethie-20

anthonyg
04-12-2013, 11:39 AM
You don't have to resort to alternative remedies. Just go to a nail saloon and have them coat your picking nails in Acrylic. Its clear and strong.

Anthony

Loudster
04-12-2013, 11:45 AM
My nails tend to be a little soft. If I wash my hands they don't harden back up for at least 1/2 hour and I find my strumming is cleanest and brightest as soon as I get up in the morning before getting any water on my hands and of course I can't go all day without washing my hands. My nail seems harder when my hands are cold too.


So, first off lets be clear that I'm not giving medical advice nor should anything I say be taken seriously as such.

Nails that soft, to the point where they soften with water while handwashing, makes me think there's something abnormal going on. How's your diet? Do you take any multivitamins or supplements? Did they always tend to be soft or is it something that began only recently?

camperman
04-12-2013, 12:42 PM
Wow loads of advice and idea here. Thanks everyone.

To answer the question about my nails going soft....

Everyone's nails go soft with heat or water applied so my nail technician friend tells me. She said that's why salons soak nails before cutting them to stop them cracking. Mine certainly grow quickly so I've got plenty of whatever makes nails in my diet.

I'm sure I've seen a potion sold on line specifically for string players nails though.

Loudster
04-12-2013, 12:49 PM
Yeah, I apologize if that was intrusive of me and I just threw it out there in case you were the type that's living solely off twinkies or something ;) If that were the case then it might be worth thinking about your diet more, but if you're generally healthy with a variety of foods, you're probably alright. Keep in mind though that growth and composition of nails are two different things, as is soaking your nails and washing your hands real quick. That said, nail polish doesn't sound like a bad option to me.

808boy
04-12-2013, 03:01 PM
Eating Jello helped my late wife with her soft nails. I know it's not a quick cure, but for the future, it's all good........

Katz-in-Boots
04-12-2013, 10:38 PM
Eating Jello helped my late wife with her soft nails. I know it's not a quick cure, but for the future, it's all good........

I've heard that it helps! I have very soft nails that bend a long way without breaking.

But my question would be; do we need fingernails to pluck? I thought it was meant to be the pad of the fingertip?

consitter
04-12-2013, 10:41 PM
Vitamin D and protein. Dairy products in other words. Milk and cheese make your nails grow fast, long, and strong...and like Bo said jello helps too.

-Emma-
04-12-2013, 11:41 PM
I have no idea if anything like this would work, but have you thought about trying a supplement specifically for nail health?

Because you're in the UK I had a look at the Boots Pharmacy website and there are several different options on there:

http://www.boots.com/en/Imedeen-Hair-and-Nails-tablets-60-tablets_1129337/

http://www.boots.com/en/Seven-Seas-ilumina-Skin-Nutrition-Hair-Skin-and-Nails-30-Capsules_1265885/

http://www.boots.com/en/Boots-Pharmaceuticals-Skin-Hair-and-Nails-30-capsules_1154698/

Saw this on Amazon.co.uk too:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Biotin-5mg-x-100-Caps/dp/B0026C77TM

mm stan
04-13-2013, 01:46 AM
I would not recommend putting or coating anything on your nail....it is unhealthy for the nail as it cannot breathe and to me becomes softens the nail underneath more
keep playing and some peoples nails actually get stronger from playing as your body builds up your nails defense...yes water is damaging and
softens your nails...as for suppliment route...I hate taking medicine and you never know what are in them or how they affect me in the long term..
but wh knows, try them...

camperman
04-13-2013, 08:10 AM
Thanks again for all the new replies.

I did some searching on line and yes indeed every knowledgeable source said too much water does soften fingernails. If you've not noticed before try flexing the tips of your nails just after washing your hands and you'll see what I mean.
My problem is made worse because my nail hooks over my fingertip as it grows which makes it more flexible.
I know advice about superglue and coatings has been mixed here but as I had to glue an ornament today I decided to put a tiny bit of superglue on the tip of my nail. I don't know what the long term outcome will be but the difference in clarity and volume of the sound my strumming produces is very noticeable.
That's the quick fix but long term I'm going to look at my diet and supplements and try not to get my hands wetter than necessary.
I've added a few links in case anyone else finds them useful. (If some of our male readers are feeling in a particularly manly mood you might want to skip the last one lol)

http://healthyliving.msn.com/health-wellness/skin/can-fingernails-indicate-a-health-problem-1

http://www.livestrong.com/article/179822-how-to-get-short-soft-brittle-fingernails-to-grow/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/536166-nutrition-for-soft-finger-nails/

http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-treat-soft-weak-nails

Thanks again everyone.

Loudster
04-13-2013, 09:07 AM
I had thought, if you're the type that washes your hands a lot you might want to consider carrying around something like Purell with you. I honestly haven't paid enough attention when I use it to say how it compares to normal handwashing, but I have a feeling that it would "seep" less into your nails. Give it a shot, might help.


Whatever you decide for now, I don't think it would hurt if you just brought it up next time you see your doctor (I wouldn't make an appointment for it alone, unless it's really bugging you). Have him/her examine your nails and ask what they'd recommend. Supplementation can be tricky, and everyone has their opinion/beliefs/whatever on what exactly does what. Can't hurt to ask your gp.

OldePhart
04-13-2013, 01:44 PM
Hmmm, I just had a thought. It practically takes a chainsaw to cut my toe nails, I wonder if I started walking on my hands and keeping them in smelly leather gloves if the nails would toughen up... Just a thought.

On the serious side. I use a nail polish/hardener on the nails of my right hand. It's the only way I can keep them from splitting. "Hard as Nails" from Nail Aid works well, as does Nutra Nail "bullet proof strength formula." I like the latter best because it is a two-part with a hardener base coat and a gloss top coat. I just use the base coat and they aren't quite as shiny as with the Hard as Nails product.

There have been several times that I've noticed odd looks in business meetings and whatnot (all my friends know I play ukulele but not all of my business associates do). Every once in a while I'll catch somebody in one of those looking at my long, polished thumbnail and I just give them a soft grin as if to say, "c'mon, I dare you, say something about it!" LOL

Only one person has ever actually said anything about it - a young guy at church whom I know pretty well. I told him I was waiting for my CCL class and until then the sharpened thumbnail was my lethal weapon :) then I told him it's because I play ukulele.

John

MGM
04-14-2013, 12:12 PM
This is something I have great experience with as my nails when I started getting my serious illnesses became brittle and very ridged due to my health. My nails which always never needed help started to crack and split...At first I had my Nails done in clear Hardener which help but I found Acrylic Gel...new stuff the nail salons are using have a great bonding and lasting strength with no ridges and dries really smooth...doest chip off....Yes they are a little shiny but hold up well now with the gel

KentSantaBarbara
04-14-2013, 03:26 PM
SuperGlue! It works for me. I have the problem of the index fingernail wearing down. I put a very small bead of superglue at the of the nail, over the white part. Let dry five minutes, don't touch anything until it dries. And then trim away any excess dried glue, maybe a little filing. And you will be good for two weeks. It dries clear. Make sure your finger is clean and dry before you put superglue on it. It's easy and inexpensive. Just be conservative with the amount of glue you put on the end of the nail. File the end smooth, and start strumming.

SeattleSean
04-14-2013, 04:01 PM
When I grew up in the 70s, people would eat gelatin packets dissolved in water, daily, in order to get harder nails. But i am pretty sure that was just another one of those 70s things that didn't really work.

camperman
04-16-2013, 03:12 AM
Thanks for all the great advice and tips everyone.

I'd wondered about how people that don't know me might react to glossy nails. Maybe if I choose that remedy I should go the whole hog and have them in a bright colour lol. Just kidding. I'm way too shy to do that.

Ambient Doughnut
04-16-2013, 03:16 AM
Sure your need to wash your hands but that should only take a mo? Maybe try and keep the time your hands are in the water to a minimum and use rubber gloves for anything extended - washing up etc.

DaveVisi
04-16-2013, 06:07 AM
Thanks for all the great advice and tips everyone.

I'd wondered about how people that don't know me might react to glossy nails. Maybe if I choose that remedy I should go the whole hog and have them in a bright colour lol. Just kidding. I'm way too shy to do that.
It's easy with a nail buffer to knock down the gloss to a dull sheen.

camperman
04-21-2013, 06:37 AM
Problem solved! :) :) :)
It seems the softness of my nail was due to it being slightly hooked. The radius created by the hooking of the nail meant that it was soft and flexible when pressing on the tip and I guess the hooked shape was another reason why I felt clumsy with the strings.

I came across a remedy on a guitar site and it seemed to be a very common one.

To fix the hook on the nail it's held against a hot spoon which softens the nail and then you simply pinch the nail from the sides to remove the hook. Hold on tight with the pinch until the nail has cooled down and hey presto no more hooked nail leaving it much stronger when pressing on the tip. There was no advice about how hot to make the spoon but I figured it should be hot enough to soften the nail but not hot enough to be painful so I heated the spoon by leaving it standing in boiling water for a couple of minutes.

Net result is much brighter sounding strumming :)