Nail Strengtheners and how they work.

Discussion in 'Nail' started by naturalnails, Jan 9, 2007.

  1. naturalnails
    I used to use a well known brand of natural nail care and they advised that the strengthening basecoats be painted on each day then removed after 7 days and started again.

    I had a client in yesterday who mentioned the same thing. A thread today about another strengthening product got me thinking - doesn't happen often I'll grant you LOL.

    The product I use now works with the keratin in your nails and needs therefore to be applied to bare nails - no need to apply a second coat as it will not do anything.

    Do all strengtheners work this way and being the cynic that I am, do companies advise the multiple coats in order for you to use more and hence buy more.

    Or are all strengtheners different. I know they have different ingredients before I get lists of ingredients, but fundamentally do they all work the same way.
  2. eSparkles
    oooo so i could just put the varnish over the top and not worry about putting another layer on every 2 days and then starting again after 14 days eh ?
    Thank you for thinking lolololol
    Erica xx

  3. Envy
    Hi Fiona

    Most nail 'hardners' traditionally use formaldehyde or formalin in the mix. These products cause keratin to create cross links within the fibrils. However the more you apply it, the more cross links you will get! Not only that the more you apply the deeper into the nail plate the cross linking will occur. So effectively you can have overly hard/ brittle nails from using a hardner, and also why most nail strengthing products are recommended for use for a short time ONLY!.

    Because they continue to work with repeated application they can easily be a problem when the client or tech has started applying it because the nail is flaking or chipping - these are dry brittle nails that are already overly hard. They need mositure, not hardness.

    CND Toughen up is different in that it uses DMU - Dimethyl Urea which does cause crosslinking, but only within the top most layers of the nail plate - hence you can use it as often as you want for as long as you like without every creating an overly dry or brittle nail
  4. izzidoll
    I haven't seen the earlier thread so I hope I am not repeating anything that has already been said.

    Most Nail strengtheners/hardeners work by adding crosslinks to the nailplate...making it stronger...Unfortunately some can add too many and actually cause nail brittleness!

    CND have a nail strengthener Toughen Up which also adds crosslinks...BUT it has DMU (Dimethyl Urea)which is a safer alternative to formaldehyde as it does not cause allergic reactions and does not excessively crosslink keratin....
    Therefore adding strength but retaining the flexibility of the nail which is required to prevent breakage through impact...........

    Sorry if I went on a bit....but is this the sort of info you were after Fiona?

    Dang too slow.....Envy beat me to it!!!
  5. Envy
    mwah mwah mwah ;)
  6. ValencianNails
    I used to use Zoom Nail Food a number of years ago (Nail Eat and Nail Drink), I don't know how it worked as I wasn't in the business then, however, I know it was formaldehyde and toulene free. It was advised to use the nail drink if your nails were dry and brittle, apply every 2-3 days, on top of existing coats, then when you got a build up remove and start over. The Nail Eat was for weak bendy nails, the same application applied... and if you had nails that needed both products you could apply each product over the top of the other every couple of days. As far as crosslinking is concerned, I've got no idea if it does that, but the products might have been tweaked since I used them.

    Strangely enough, I had a new client this morning who had been using Sally Hansen strengtheners for quite a while, her nails were dry and splitting from the free edge, in all honesty they were a mess, I told her about formaldehyde used in some strengtheners and the way it dried nails out over time, she was surprised and told me she felt stupid!
    The general public believe what they read where strengtheners are concerned, unfortunately.
  7. VHunter

    My question is this:
    If the nailplate is made up of old dead, squashed flat cells, how does it 'change' and how is it that nail strengthners would actually have any affect?

    Kind of like hair.
    If the hair is already dry, and the ends split... how on earth would a treatment or conditioner change these splits (which we know it can't, only scissors get rid of split ends). It can 'mask' them and hide them by plumping them up with moisture and causing them to lie flat against the hairshaft.. but they are still there. See where I'm going?

    Do nail strengtheners really and truly CHANGE THE NAILPLATE and it's natural conditions
    Is it an illusion like with hair conditioner or similar treatments?
    Is the illusion that of the 'nail hardner' lying on top of the nail, creating a barrier and adding to the thickness, protecting the nail...
    OR is it something in the 'hardner' sticking to the nail plate, like L&P and UV Gel do.... and staying there?

    If something's dead so to speak, then how can it be changed....

    I'm a little baffled by this one.
    Been looking through Dough Schoons book, but can't find my answer. Maybe looking in the wrong place.

    Can someone answer this for me please?
  8. Envy
    When it comes to nail treatments the problem is not the products often - they do exactly what they say! The problem is what we think we need.

    As Doug Schoon talks about in his book, materials scientists study the properties of many substances. Strength, flexability, toughness, hardness and wear resistance are all often mixed together to mean the same thing. But really each term means a completely different thing.

    For example the public want 'hard nails' which really is the measure of a surfaces resistance to being scratched or dented. (such as diamond) When really what they are after is a nail that is less likely to split or tear when it should flex and hold without breaking. What they really want is it be 'Tough' a combination of strength and flexability.!!
  9. Envy
    Hi Victoria - think of perming solution - it's not a disimilar thing. It breaks the crosslink bonds in hair, you set and shape the hair how you want it to become then reset the crosslinks to permanantly hold it in shape!
    Even though the keratin is dead we can chemically alter it's structure.
  10. VHunter

    Ok, off to finish reading.

    I'll probably end up back here though, with another question ROFL
  11. Snugglepuss
    I may have got all this wrong - but if I remember rightly someone explained that if you magnified a nail it would resemble a piece of chain mail - you know the ones the old knights in armour used to wear? When the nail strengthener is applied it fills the area in the chain by attaching a link(s) to the side of the exsisting link - therefore, adding more cross links - eventually tho, the chains get so filled up there isn't any more room for any more links and the pressure of so many links causes the chains to break under the strain- hope that makes sense :eek:
  12. ~Emmsybabes~
    oh my god this info is bloomin brill ...thankyou xx
    i have just ordered toughen up today nails are practically not even there ,i can hardly even feel them ,
    and clients are always asking about nail strengthners ,now i can fill them in properly
    i have wrote all this down in my little nail info book
    but can i ask ..what are fibrils ????
  13. Snugglepuss
    they are like fibres - really really thin ones - nano thin lol - erm a bit of string or cable that sort of thing :green:
  14. Envy
    Fibrils are stacks of crystaline keratin... combined with gel like non crystaline keratin (amorphous) form nail cells

    Grab a copy of Doug Schoons Nail Structure and product chemistry, it will answer questions you've never even thought to ask. ;)
  15. ~Emmsybabes~
    hahaha wish id never asked ,
    i have dougs book on my wish list ,and nail class and miladys too ..ill never ever clean up or eat or anything ...but ill be a damn good nail tech lol :green:
  16. naturalnails
    Thanks for the answers here. Not quite what I wanted to get though LOL.

    I know about the formaldehyde based strengtheners and the difference in Toughen Up.

    I understood that formaldehyde was a dehydrator and really made the nails "harder" because it removed moisture.

    So going by this information, formaldehyde strengtheners benefit from being applied in multiple coats, but then there is also a downside over time, so a moisturising oil will help to give the best of both worlds, yes? Whereas say Toughen Up only needs to be applied in a single coat to give the benefit.

    I hope I am explaining this LOL.

    So I am not being cynical then and thinking companies just want you to buy more product.
  17. Envy
    Most often all natural nails is a good exfoliator (say cuticle eraser) and a great moisturising conditioner aka Solar oil. These combined will over time provide the benefits most people need.

    Strengtheners are pushed as a 'miracle cure' far to often IMO - when in fact they should only be needed when a nail is so soft it just tears without effort.

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