Fingernails! Looking for product recommendations.

Will be starting chemo fairly shortly, and have read that it can often have a nasty affect on nails. I refuse to give up on my beloved coloured nail varnish, but I know it can be quite drying, so not good on chemo frazzled nails. I’m after any recommendations for a good, thick, heavily moisturising base coat I can get before it all kicks off, so I can stop them drying out too much, keep them as strong as I can, and still wear my regular brand of colour on top. Not bothered about price. 
I know it seems trivial, but I’m sure plenty here know how important looking and feeling reasonably decent is while going through this sort of thing. Thanks in advance! ?

Hi Azura


It’s not trivial to you. For me, my vulnerable point was eyelashes :slight_smile: I just wanted to say I didn’t experience anything except a strengthening of my nails (making them very hard to file) and I didn’t see anyone with obviously damaged nails. Several women had hand massages and manicures from volunteers during treatment. How long they left it on, I don’t know.


I consulted a medical herbalist at The Haven who made me a massage oil of St John’s Wort and comfrey to ward off the effects of possible peripheral neuropathy. She suggested I not only massage my hands and feet but also all nail beds twice a day. It definitely made a difference. If Paclitaxel is part of your treatment, loss of feeling in your fingers and toes/hands and feet is a possible side effect. There’s no way of knowing if you’ll be affected but it’s worth checking because my honest opinion is that, no matter how good varnished nails can make you feel, protecting your fingertips and toes from possible permanent damage might outweigh it. You can still buff them beautifully for the French manicure effect? And it’s only for a couple of months.


I used to use Opi Nail Envy to prevent dried nails but I didn’t use it during chemo so I can’t say how additionally effective it might be. 

Hope the chemo goes well for you x

Hi Azura, you don’t say which chemo you are having, and they all have different SEs. I was on FEC-T and although I never lost my nails I have friends who did. I got myself a good beautician who kept me going through treatment and still does three years on. She sourced some great products for me, very gentle to the body. Gels are a no no as they dry the nail too much, as does the uvf(the blue light thingy) drier. She was ultra careful with cuticles, trimming etc as even a little cut can be a problem. The skin doesn’t heal, and if you get infection in the blood the worst case scenario is sepsis. I always had dark nail varnish as recommended  by my bc nurse. Protection against sunlight she said. Also a good cuticle oil. I bought Defiant cuticle oil from the web and used it a couple of times a day. When my skin was very dry I used coconut oil as an all over moisturiser, including bald head. Rubber gloves are a must during and after treatment. I use single use ones as I find the thick yellow ones a nightmare on my skin. Your skin definitely takes a battering. I also changed household cleaning products to eco friendly ones as I found during chemo my skin reacted quite severely to my normal ones. You will need hand gel in the battle against germs, again , go for the ‘free from’ brands otherwise the alcohol will sting your hands. X

Hi Azura, yes, I think it depends on what chemo you are having. I was FEC T like Annie and my nails had ridges, funny colour and bits flaking off. They are growing out ok now. The chemo nurses recommended dark nail polish to protect from sunlight. I actually don’t like wearing it, so I wore gloves a lot! I got some brush on “Strength and Growth” from Boots No 7 and the Macmillan booklet called Feel More Like You gives tips and says water based polishes are less harsh and to avoid remover with acetone or other harsh chemicals. Good luck with your treatment, I got through it and we are all different, so your nails may be fine. Mo xx