Does Baking Soda Soften Nails?


A question from Amanda

I have a question. I have used a baking soda scrub on my scalp (scrub a handful of dry baking soda into wet hair, rinse thoroughly, then follow with an ACV/water rinse. I tried the more typical 2 tablespoons baking soda to 2 cups water ration, but after trial and error I found that I need the abrasive action of the dry stuff to get rid of scalp issues) for about a year. My scalp and hair are happy, but my fingernails have never been softer or more likely to break off. I have plenty of protein and good fats in my diet, and use oils on my hands and nails, but my nails are very unhappy. Could it be related to the baking soda? Not much else has changed!


Hello Amanda,

I am very sorry but I have just found this e-mail at the bottom of my inbox.  It came in at a time when I was especially hectic and must have missed it.

Yes baking soda is very likely to soften your fingernails.  Baking soda is an alkali and it will react with fats and oils it comes into contact to slowly turn them into soaps.  This is will very likely make your nails softer.  It will incidentally the same to your skin and scalp.  It doesn’t sound like it is doing you any harm, but it might well cause dry skin in some people.  Do bear  this in mind if you share your recipe with anyone  else!   If I were you I’d protect your nails in some way when you are using your scrub.  Gloves. vaseline or even nail varnish should do the trick.

In fact, do you even need to use baking soda?  If you are just after an abrasive effect salt might work just as well.

Photo credit: incanus via photopin cc


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