So, You Want to Quit Biting Your Nails? Sarah Kane

Today, we’re going to talk about nail-biting.

I know, I know, you biters don’t want to hear it. You’ve probably thought about quitting before. Maybe you have already tried some techniques, like dipping your fingers in nail polish remover or investing in that clear polish that makes your nails taste bad. I understand that nail-biting is a widespread habit that is notoriously difficult to quit. Even Kate Middleton has been caught nibbling her nails. But as a nail technician, I must confess that nail-biting is the bane of my existence.

Since it’s the new year, let’s kick this habit for good with some of these tips and tricks.

Woman biting nails

1. Quick scare tactic: it’s bad for you.

Think about everything you do with your hands on a daily basis. Even if you’re washing your hands frequently, germs and bacteria still grow underneath your nails. When you bite your nails, you’re transferring all that gross-ness from your nail beds into your mouth. Biting hangnails can cause infection within the nail bed. Ragged, nubby and sometimes bloody nails make my heart ache. Plus, you can permanently damage your teeth, your gums and your nails!

 

vintage biters

2. Decide to quit. Continue not doing it.

This may sound silly, but if you want to quit biting, you have to really want it. If you feel the urge to bite, think about the positive aspects of changing this habit: attractive, healthy looking nails, a sense of accomplishment, perhaps even a major boost in self-confidence or a newfound nail polish addiction!

 

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3. Build yourself a nail care kit.

If you’re serious about kicking your habit, then you’re going to need the proper tools. I would suggest the following: a pair of nail clippers, a nail file, cuticle pusher, cuticle nippers, hand cream, and cuticle oil/balm. Carry the kit in your purse, so you can take care of broken nails or hang nails on the go without biting them off.

Keeping your hands moisturized is one of the best and easiest things you can do for the health of your nails. Keep cuticle oil next to your bed and apply it at night, so it will have time to absorb into your nail matrix. I love CND Solar Oil and Lush Lemon Cuticle Butter.

 

manicure

4. Give yourself weekly manicures!

In order to officially kick this nasty habit, you should adopt some type of nail routine to keep your nails maintained and in good health! Giving yourself weekly manicures will help A LOT. Nail polish actually acts as a protective shield, so your nails will have the chance to grow, but it’s also important that you’re invested in the care of your nails. Think of it as making up for all those hours of gnawing your nails down to nubs.

 

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5. Treat yo’self!

Take a page from the book of Donna and Tom and treat yo’ self for working so hard! Buy yourself a new nail polish after you’ve made it over the three-day hump. Maybe start experimenting with nail art, and splurge on some stripers and dotting tools. Hit up your local nail salon once a month for a fresh manicure. It’s harder to bite your finger nails when you’re spending money to make them look pretty.

Parks & Rec image via | manicure photo via | manicure kit image via | woman biting nails photo via | vintage biters photo via | featured kate middleton image via

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  4. I managed to stop biting my nails by using artificial ones. Those cheap ones too, made out of plastic and that you can buy in every drugstore. I would glue them to my own nails (protected by a base cote) and clip them to a normal length. You can use nail polish on top to make them look really natural. They last a whole week, than you have to glue them back on. I did that for a whole year. Because they are made of hard plastic, you just cannot bite into them. That was 15 years ago, never bit them since.

  5. I guess I’m not a “normal nail biter”. My nailbeds are healthy, my nails are strong (when I let them grow), the thought of someone else touching my nails though horrifies me. Why would I get a manicure, when I don’t have anything? I don’t feel like being ridiculed in multiple languages, thanks. This article doesn’t help. =//

  6. I used to obsess about my nail biting. My father told me when I was a child, “it was a sign of insecurity.” I was never able to successfully stop entirely though my nail biting increased under stress. I quit worrying about it finally and now it has been found that there are genes that trigger this behavior. So I will make sure I encourage my son not to bite his nails, but I won’t try to make him feel bad like my father did. It is a little more than just a habit for some of us.

  7. ok, 1. if you can do this…..OMG YOUR AMZING!! 2. “but if you want to quit biting, you have to really want it. If you feel the urge to bite.” i just wanted to start yelling. there isnt even an urge to bite, its a HABIT so it natural to do it, not even thinking about it, like breathing.

  8. Eating and drinking better really helped me. I used to have a terrible diet with little or no calcium or healthy fats. I now eat lots of yoghurts and drink milk and like to snack on almonds. Now my nails are so much stronger and shinier! Unlike my brittle nails that I used to snag and nibble on all the time, my nails are now so strong that if I do get nervous and try to bite them they’re impossible to break.

    P.S. Nail files FTW!

  9. What made me bite my nails was not the snags, but the fact that when I stopped biting them and they started to grow out and look pretty, I would stare at them and play with them and admire them more, so I would think about them and get the urge to bite them.

  10. I made myself stop biting without buying anything! (: I love having my nails painted, so every week I went without biting my nails I rewarded myself by painting my nails. It took me like a year to be able to stop biting them for good, and during finals week last quarter I reverted to my old habit, and kicked myself for it, but haven’t done it since. I’m sure it was just out of stress.

  11. Might be helpful for some but I found that trying to not think about your nails is not a good tactic because as a habit it is so automatic you may not even realize you’re doing it when you’re doing it. What worked for me was consciously thinking about my nails and deciding not to bite them.

    • why has this obvious solution never occurred to me before?! i’ve definitely been of the mind at times that if i just don’t acknowledge my nails i’ll forget about them and won’t bite them. but what good is that going to do for a habit that is mostly unconscious? it needs to be admitted to and faced head-on. i’m going to try that. and maybe try and create some kind of reward system for myself…. hmmm…

  12. As a lifelong nail biter, the only thing that has worked for me has been getting acrylics at a salon. I know it’s not good for your nails, but it’s the only thing that helps me grow mine out.

    • I also have to get acrylics! I’ve bitten my nails my entire life and when I bite I don’t even realize I’m doing it until the damage is done.

  13. I have bitten my nails all of my life, That is until I went for a routine check with my doctors. Ill spare you the gory details, but I wound up in emergency surgery I ended up on a ventilator and awoke five days later. For some strange reason I had lost the compulsion to bite my nails. that was over three years ago and I have not bitten my nails, or had the desire to do so.

  14. I stopped biting my nails a few years ago, and never went back. A friend had told me what worked for her, and when I tried it it worked for me, too. It is similar to the nail kit. Basically you buy a bunch of nail files and keep them with you everywhere you go. Always have one in your purse, in your desk at work, in your drawers at home, etc. When the urge strikes to bite you nails, take out a nail file and file them instead. After a few weeks of that, you will never go back. Ppl bite their nails when they see snags in them, etc., if you file them you remove what it is that is bothering you in a better way. I was surprised that this worked so well when I tried it, and never went back to biting them. It is pretty rare that I get the urge to anymore, and a quick file does the trick anyway. Now I just have to keep them from getting too long. :)

  15. I took a nail technology class in high school. Prior to that, I was a nail biter. It took the will to want to stop, plus knowing how much harm i was doing to my health and appearance, to get me to kick the habit. I might still give a little nibble when stressed, but not nearly what i used to do.

  16. I stopped biting my nails recently and am loving having normal looking hands rather than little bloody stumps.

  17. seriously, getting regular manicures (which is something i never really did before) got me to stop biting mine. The gel manicures are life savers

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