Getting one’s nails done can be a relaxing way to pass the time. You get to be pampered and tended to as you talk lightly with the professional tending to your nails. If you’re a regular, then you may end up exchanging life updates that keep you up-to-date and engaged with one another as people. Regardless, the routine is relatively familiar for those who have had their nails done in the past. Nail soaking is almost always part of it. It has its place in manicures, but it isn’t as perfectly harmless as we’ve come to think of it. This isn’t about some hidden germ or product that has infiltrated the industry though. The problems are related to nails themselves. We’ll be going over the reasons while nail soaking can be good for your nails as well as how it can be bad so that you can make an informed decision yourself.
We’re starting with the downsides because these aren’t commonly discussed. You’ve likely had your nails soaked before having your cuticles tended to at least once. This is both a good idea and a bad idea at the same time. All the moisture makes your cuticles more pliable, but it also makes them more likely to break and tear. This damages your nails. Additionally, nails are actually capable of absorbing water when left to soak in them. They expand a little, like many materials, and this actually has an effect if you’re looking to get your nails painted during the manicure. Expansion from moisture only lasts so long, after all. Your nails will be fine for a day or two after the manicure, but eventually, the compressing nails will chip or otherwise hurt the appearance of the nails. So why are nails soaked anyway?
In truth, nails have been pampered while wet practically since manicures began. It has kept going because that is the way it has always been done. Humans are creatures of habit and until an industry is given a good alternative it will usually stick to what it knows. Soaking nails does make them easier to work with in most cases. The expansion makes them less brittle and therefore more easily shaped by the professional. Additionally, it does make it easier to work with cuticles at the same time that it makes them more susceptible to tearing. This is what makes advocating to stop soaking nails problematic. It actually is benefitting them, but the benefits aren’t as good as we’d like to think and can easily translate into problems after or during a manicure. Fortunately, there are ways around the problems.
A Modern Approach
You can actually get the same benefits of soaking nails through the use of nail treatments. Most of the time, these are oil-based products with various ingredients that help to promote healing and moisturizing of the area. They are much more targeted than a general soak though. As a result, they tend to fortify and soften the nails just enough to actually be as pliable as necessary without the lingering problem of disrupting any nail polish later. Additionally, they typically provide the same benefits for cuticles as well that ensure they can be properly tended to without actually rendering them easier to rip. Such products often include nourishing ingredients that boost nail growth and promote cuticle health as well. It makes them an overall better approach.
Nail soaking is a complicated topic when it comes to manicures. They have a place in the treatments for a reason, but at the same time, they are falling behind the times. This is making soaking nails an increasingly poor choice as part of a manicure. The industry is slowly catching on to nail oils and similar products though. You should expect to see those more often in the future and they keep most of the benefits of nails soaking without causing any of the negatives.