Very dry hands

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by leecreighton, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. Hi all,

    I know I’m not the first person to have this problem, so I’m sure there’s wisdom out there.

    I’m returning to magic (mostly cards, since that’s what I used to do) after about 35 years away from it. I decided to switch to Poker-sized cards since, well, it’s the right thing to do. I thought my tiny Trump-sized hands needed bridge cards, but I’m in the right size now.

    I’m having very typical problems, like having much MUCH dryer hands now than when I was 18. Whether I use an old deck or a new one, I’m having trouble with even the simplest thing.

    I can barely do an overhand shuffle unless I really lather up with hand lotion. And it goes away quickly. Even after applying motion, I can’t run off cards singly, especially when the deck is thin, i.e., near the end of an overhand.

    I’m sure everyone knows that The Royal Road ti Card Magic starts with the overhand shuffle, and I’m getting quite frustrated that I can’t do the simple card controls associated with the overhand shuffle.

    It may not be related, but when I try to run off cards, they just won’t come off singly. I’ve tried adjusting the strength and shape of my grip. Royal Road doesn’t recommend the Mechanic’s grip, but using either their grip or he mechanic’s, same problem. I don’t remember having any trouble before, so I’d like to know if anyone has any advice. I know that these things come with practice, but usually with incormed practice. Since I’m not sure why the cards won’t come off singly, or when they do, leave several cards stairsteooed back to the right-hand deck.

    I even tried the color change that’s given away as a Free Trick in this site. It’s the one everyone knows, involving sliding a couple of cards.

    I couldn’t do it at all when I started, which was after moisterizing. So I gave extra to the palm of the hand doing the sliding, but after about five minutes, it had dried up to where I again couldn’t do the trick.

    I’d love your opinions.
  2. This might help :)

    The products most recommended:
    O'Keefe's Working Hands lotion
    Exfoliating Bar of Soap
    Octopalm: Anti-Gravity Gel
    A Moisturizing lotion (in the morning, so that all the residue is off by the time you start working with cards)
    Sortkwik (from Staples)
    Most forms of Lotion

    I'm sure one of these will probably work lol

    I think any form of lotion or moisturizer is the best place to start. A soap bar that moisturizes also works (when my mom bought moisturizing soap bars one day, I realized that my hands become less dry pretty quickly. Another problem with magicians is that we tend to always over-wash our hands before working with cards, and we end up drying them out super quickly by washing them 20 times before and after working with cards lol)
    Justin.Morris and DominusDolorum like this.
  3. I use the Golden Touch mist spray bottle and/or Sortkwik. The O'Keefe's has come highly recommended, though I have not tried it yet- will get some soon. Get a couple things and see what works. Sortkwik is magic, but as with any of these I still worry about it getting on my cards. But the difference can be night and day for certain sleights.
  4. I’ll start doing this regularly. Tu for example, I put some generic lotion on my hands, and rubbed it in well. I tried practicing the overhand shuffle routine in RRtCM and I was unable to do more than 4–5 minutes of practice.

    I’m still not sure how to solve the problem of pulling off multiple cards when I’m trying to oull them off singly. At one time I could pull one card off the deck from start to finish—that is, for 51 of the 52 cards of the deck. I can currently, with tacky fingers, do ten at a time, and absolutely can’t do any when I’m holding just a few cards.
  5. it might not be the strength or shape of your grip, but rather the angle you hold the packet at.
  6. What angle should the two decks make? Assume the cards in my left hand (the ones already pulled off) are vertical, which I know they aren’t really. But if they were, what angle would the right hand cards attack at?

    90° would be silly, since that would make the two halves perpendicular.

    Would you say they should attack at more or less than 45°? That is, a sharp angle (where the cards are bent as they are pulled off) or a shallow angle (where the right hand cards are almost at the same angle as those in the left hand)?

    You can’t tell that I got a PhD in math in my intervening years between my interest in magic, can you? ;)
  7. I have the exact opposite issue as you. My hands are so sweaty that they ruin a new deck in about an hour and it is much harder for me to palm coins and stuff. Maybe shake my hand and we can trade some moisture? Lol

    Honestly aside from lotion I would look into some kind of ointment for your hands. There has to be some kind of dry skin treatment. Maybe go to your local skincare center and see if they can recommend anything?
    Maaz Hasan and DominusDolorum like this.
  8. I have the exact same problem. O'Keefe's works really well for me, though for years I also had excellent success with Neutrogena's Norwegian Formula hand lotion. I have dozens of these tiny trial size tubes for when I travel (TSA won't take it away from me when it's in my carry-on luggage) and they sell larger sizes for keeping around the house.

    I apply either of these lotions about 5 minutes or so before I handle the cards. Works well for me.


    PS: I use Sortkwik too, but apply it AFTER I've put on the regular lotions mentioned above. I only use it for false dealing stuff.
  9. Try a little Purell on your hands. The alcohol in it dries you hands and takes away the sticky/sweatiness. I also used to leave a small rolled up paper towel in my suit coat pocket to dry my hands on it by putting my hand down in my pocket and just squeezing the paper towel ball.
    obrienmagic likes this.
  10. I get horribly dry skin, too. On top of previous suggestions, don't forget that you need to moisturize your hands when you're not handling cards as well. O'Keefe's has really helped me with cracking skin, but don't just put it on before you practice, occasionally use it throughout the day to sort of increase the base level of moisture in your skin.

    If it gets really bad, another thing you can do is, right before bed slather your hands in lotion then put on gloves or socks or something over your hands. Then go to bed. That lets the moisture absorb into your skin over night. It's a little odd, but it did help me during Fresno winters when my knuckles and fingertips would split to the point of bleeding.
    RealityOne likes this.
  11. I use O'Keefe's as well. My hands are always cracking from work and then giant callouses from the gym. This seems to be the best for me and it doesn't leave my hands feeling oily
  12. Technically it would be a 135° angle, but yes I think that angle is ideal. At least for me.
  13. I found this cream today at my supermarket and it's fantastic! I'm going to stock up. Thanks Jason!
  14. I don't have a problem either way but I can tell you one thing that drys my hands out beyond belief is the dirt/soil where I live. The soil has a very high clay content and when I am working with it (yard work, that sort of thing) my hands will be dried out to the point of cracking open after a short while. I don't know why but I've never seen anything to suck the moisture out of my hands like clay soil. You might want to experiment with some clay and see if you can get the same effect.
    obrienmagic likes this.
  15. My thanks to everyone. I've been using Neutrogena Nordic every day for a few weeks, and my hands are as good as when I was 18. Were that the rest of my 50-year-old body were as easy to salve.
    RealityOne and DominusDolorum like this.
  16. I may never contribute to the world of magic but, I can help with this.

    Octopalm? Sure if you want the room to smell like someone burned a hippie to death.

    I have acutely dry hands. Could be from years of loneliness, but I digress.

    Here's my fitty cents.

    Okeef's works as advertised, but causes my skin to peel. No more for me.

    My "system" now:

    Wash hands w mild soap before practice or performance. Towel dry.

    Apply light hand lotion. Like the kind you get from a hotel.

    Once that dries I dig my thumbnail into some Sortquick, get a bunch and rub it in to fingertips as if it was lotion. Can keep a pocket size sortq in my pocket with no lid when it's half full.

    If you have spectators and the "system" dries out, merely have a glass of ice water nearby (or some other source). After touching the moisture on the glass, the hands get reactivated for a while.

    With this, I've been able to at least try the stuff I'm learning whereas before I spent hours picking cards up off the floor.

    Sincerely hope this helps someone.

    P.S. I've never once seen a magic trick and thought, "Wow he was good. I just wish he had more tattoos on his hands."

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