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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Dry Hands! Help! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of Elmsley4
Sometimes my hands get very dry when doing elmsleys, 2nds, or even cards spins (one handed on the middle finger). This causes me not to get the necessary "friction" I need in my effects. Usually, I like my finger tips. Initially, this works but then I have to do the same thing again and again. Needless to say, if the cards get dirty, people touch them, etc... I don't want to be licking my fingers! Any ideas? Am I alone here? Smile

Jeff J.
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787 Posts

Profile of Jeff J.
You can purchase hand lotion for card users at most magic sites. They also sell similar lotions at drug stores, but I forget the product name.
Shane Wiker
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Las Vegas
1199 Posts

Profile of Shane Wiker
You're not alone. I have the same problem. My hands are Extremely (With a capital "E") dry. Not many lotions work, but I prefer either "Skin Repair," from Australia, or you can just get Zims Crack Cream from your local Walgreens. Hope this helps.

Shane Wiker
T. Joseph O'Malley
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Inner circle
1937 Posts

Profile of T. Joseph O'Malley
Last year, my hands were super sweaty. This year, bone dry. I use a few things ot help, for false deals I use SortKwik. I also use a Rose Oil/Glycerin preparation described in Oulete's (sic) "Close Up Illusions" and have also toyed with something Wes James recommended in his enoromous "Enchantments".

SortKwik works wonders for false deals.
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195 Posts

Profile of Nikodini
Heh, I just answered a similar post in flourishing subforum... I'vve had exact same problem as you. When I would practice for a long time, my hands would get very dry and when my hands are dry, my tactility would diminish considerably. I tried all kinds of stuff but stuff that was good would be bad for the cards. I was delighted when I found the Elite Magician's Hand Lotion. It's cheap and it lasts:
T. Joseph O'Malley
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Profile of T. Joseph O'Malley
I believe that the "secret" to that lotion is given away in "Close up Illusions".
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Bay area
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Profile of LeConte
The secret is the Glycerin, which is a humectant, meaning it attracts moisture to your skin. Glycerin is a natural by-product of the soapmaking process. It is made from fats!

I read this about Glycerin:

"Glycerin is also highly "hygroscopic" which means that it absorbs water from the air. Example: if you left a bottle of pure glycerin exposed to air in your kitchen, it would take moisture from the air and eventually, it would become 80 per glycerin and 20 percent water."

"Because of this hygroscopic quality, pure, 100 percent glycerin placed on the tongue may raise a blister, since it is dehydrating. Diluted with water, however, it will soften your skin. (Note: While people say this softening is the result of the glycerin attracting moisture to your skin, there is heated debate as to whether or not the glycerin has some other properties all its own which are helpful to the skin. Summed up, the current thinking is "We know glycerin softens the skin. Some people think its because it attracts moisture, but there could be other reasons."

As you can see the Rosewater is just used to cut it a bit as 100% Glycerin should not be applied directly to the skin. Any lotion that has Glycerin listed in the ingredients will help your card handling as long as you like that kinda wet feel.

You can also mix pure Glycerin in (just a dab, it's real tacky thick stuff, and you can find it at Walgreens in 4 oz bottles, very cheap) with your hand lotion before rubbing it into your hands(I use Cetaphil also from Walgreens). When you apply lotion with humecants, it will feel like there is a residue remaining on the hands. Some people won't like this type of feel, but man do the cards ever behave!

I've almost had my hands too sticky! The treatment seems to last for a good while.
Drive Carefully
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Gibsons, BC, Canada
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Profile of ddyment
Some comments on the "dry hands" problem:

1) As we age, the natural oils in our hands tend to dry up, increasing the chances that we will need some sort of augmentation to get the "grip" we once had.

2) There is no "ideal" solution. People's skin chemistries are different, and what works for one will not be the optimal approach for another.

3) In general, glycerine is the "magic" ingredient. Products featuring glycerine tend to be the most successful.

4) Chamberlain's Golden Touch Lotion is the product favoured by many luminaries (Vernon, Garcia, and Marlo among them). It is often relabeled and sold for greatly inflated prices by magic shops. The inexpensive original is still available, but you may have to search drugstores to find one that carries it. The manufacturer is Weeks & Leo; see it under "Toiletries" on their Web site. The biggest drawback with Golden Touch is that it is inconvenient to carry around with you, and apply. And some dislike the smell.

5) Other things to try: Working Hands Creme (my personal choice, and available in a very convenient tube), Corn Huskers Lotion (also very good), Bag Balm, Sortkwik, Vagisil (or so I have been told)...

... Doug
"Calculated Thoughts" now at The Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
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Profile of Close.Up.Dave
Go to a place like Office Max and ask for the stuff that bank tellers use to make their hands stickier so they can count money easier. It's only a couple of bucks. Steve Draun sells something like it at his lectures but he says it's better than the teller's liquid. It really isn't so there's no need to pay more for something that is exactly the same.
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Profile of doowopper
Curel, purchased in my local CVS Pharmacy, works well, has glycerin and is fragrance free. I bet if you went to any pharmacy and looked at their hand lotions, you would find some in tubes (for travel) that have glycerin.
Curel works great on my 61 year old hands.
Glenn Godsey
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Profile of Glenn Godsey
You are lucky if you have dry hands. The lotions that have been mentioned are easy to apply and you can get a very small container of Sort-Kwik to carry in your pocket (Mike Skinner carried one in his sock).

On the other hand, if you are so unfortunate as to have very moist hands when performing, solutions are not so easy to come by. I actually gave up sleight-of-hand in frustration several times because my hands would get too moist at unpredictable times. I finally found a super anti-perspirant called "Maxim" that I use on my hands once or twice a week and it solves the problem. You can find "Maxim" by googling.

Best regards,
Glenn Godsey
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Profile of ncognito
About Skinner’s Edged Card Crème

I am one of two old friends of Michael’s who are responsible for bringing Skinner’s Edge Card Crème to market. I’ve read numerous posts about the product over time and thought it might be time to clear a few things up.

First of all, this product in not Sort-Kwik. It is made by the same company that makes Sort-Kwik, Lee Products in the Twin Cities. It is a different formulation that contains other ingredients that are better suited for skin care that Sort-Kwik. It was called Paper Crème and I don’t think the company markets it any longer as such.

Michael was religious about this stuff, always carrying a container in his sock so that, when called upon to perform, he would excuse himself to “wash-up” and then be ready to blow us all away.

He feared that the stuff might become unavailable, and since I live the Twin Cities, I would purchase cases of the stuff to send to him to allay his fears.

After his passing, John Deems and I decided to explore approaching the Lee Products company with the idea of repackaging the product under Michael’s name. This was an effort on our part to keep Mike’s name alive and as a tribute.

It turned out that the company had no problem with this idea, in that it was a regular practice of theirs. The same product was already repackaged and sold as both an aid for folks in the commercial lighting industry for a sure grip on light bulbs and, of all things imaginable, a solution for dog show people as a means to reduce paw slippage on indoor floors for their pets in the show.

We chose a slightly smaller container (the same package they use for Sort-Kwik) in an effort to make the item easier to carry and conceal. I think Michael would have really appreciated the lighter load.

The project was never intended to make much money, with no advertising budget beyond a simple web site ( This has proved to be true with the sales thus far, doing little more than covering production and distribution costs. The product sells the best in England but all told it has only done well enough to keep out of pocket expenses for the project to a minimum. This is exactly what it was designed to do. Nobody’s making any money here, but Michael’s name (and photograph) is kept alive and circulating.

Sort-Kwik, a great product for fingertip moistening, is not the same product as Skinner’s Edge Card Crème and does not have all of the benefits and nor does it perform as well as this product. I am hoping to stop these rumors, not necessarily to stop folks from using it or to drive them to by our Card Crème, but rather to stem the tide of misinformation so the integrity of Mike’s preferred formula can be maintained. There is actually a Magic vendor in Canada who is re-labeling Sort-Kwik as a counterfeit product.

We are not asking you to buy or use Skinner’s Edge Card Crème, but please, don’t mistake it for other similar products. We know, because of the way we are having it produced, coupled with the normal margins in the Magic distribution and dealer community, that it sells for more than the office products discussed. It lasts a long time and we believe it is well worth the price charged. This is America and as a free market society you can buy it or not.

The main point is that there are no scams here; no one is trying to rip you off. We offer the product as a tribute to Michael Skinner’s memory. I am writing this all out in an effort to straighten out the misconceptions about the product. The whole project makes very little sense if it causes feelings of being bilked by the Magic Community.

It is what it is. If you use it you will see in it what Mike saw, a remarkably helpful tool for card and coin manipulation. I am aware that many magicians feel this sort of thing is unnecessary and I can also attest to the fact that one (including Mike Skinner himself) could become dependant on the product, lacking the confidence to perform without it. I use it and benefit from it whenever I perform, but there are no implied requirements here.

I welcome any questions or comments although I do hope this explanation puts this small controversy to sleep.

Have a great day,
card cheat
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Profile of card cheat

Your post is interesting and I will make it a point to try this "creme". I would like to know if, considering very frequent use, it would actually dry out your skin after time. At any rate I will try it so don't fear that your answer will sway my decision to purchase it.

I have found that any cream will penetrate the skin much more efficiently if your hands are exfoliated on a regular basis. As all hands, skin types, and imposing weather conditions vary I cannot possibly say how often anyone should do this. I am sure that, like most things, this could be "over done" and believe that a balance should be sought out. I find that it's most convenient to use a pumice stone with a little soap and water; preferably warm to hot water and while you are washing your hands. This will actually lead to more hand washing... which IS a good thing.

As for a supplement to rememdy dry hands, I employ NaPCa. This additive is available in health food stores; well, most that is. It can be purchased as straight NaPCa, or with Aloe Vera. I personally prefer the regular because I care very little for Aloe. I find that the spray is fantastic and easy to use and carry and literally gives an instant and very gratifying feeling of relief to dry skin and it only gets better with time and continued use. Very reasonably priced to boot.

One more hint that I can give is to go to your local drugstore and buy a pair of cotton gloves. Forget about latex or vinyl, as prolonged exposure can be hindering to proper skin condition. Before bed, or any other manually restful moments, coat your hands well in Vaseline and don the gloves. Be sure to coat your fingertips thoroughly, as this is the largest problem area for we manipulators of cards. I personally pay special attention to every part of my hands, as they are all equally important overall. When you wake, remove the gloves, wash your hands thoroughly, exfoliate, wash again, and apply the NaPCa liberally. You will find that it is only a little thicker than water, and will need to give it a little time to soak in well. It should be noted that you will not get an oily feeling from this product, and that it is all natural. It's intention is to remove moisture from the air and transplant it in your skin, or wherever you put it (we don't wanna know!)

Finally, pony up with the cash and get a manicure. Not only is it incredibly rewarding and theraputic, but it will actually improve your manual dexterity. It may take some time to find a decent manicurist, but the result is well worth the time,money, and overall trouble of the search. Keep the nails short and make them remove the callouses from your hands. Something as minute as clipping the sides of your nails will relieve pressure and increase sensitivity markedly so. I usually do this at least once a week but, again, cannot tell you what is right for you.

I would be interested to hear anyone elses "routine." Why? I dunno....

Kenn Capman
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Southwestern Michigan
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Profile of Kenn Capman
I've always had good luck with 'Corn Husker's' lotion.

It has a pretty strong fragrance though, but it's full of glycerin.
"The thermometer of success is merely the jealousy of the malcontents."
- Salvador Dali -
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