Confession – I am one of those girls whose nails always look horrible. No, I’m not biting the nails, but I love to pick and peel my nail polish off – it is always in bits and pieces and I usually leave it like that for weeks.
And yes – I know how ugly it looks, and how messy it makes me look, and that it ruins my every outfit, and that I leave a really bad impression. I know it, and yet there is no help about it – I just keep peeling. So don’t waste your time on shaming me in the comments – I already have a bunch of friends who are busting my ass about it every day.
My only consolation is that at least for special occasions I can quickly and easily get my nails in shape. A little of nail polish remover, a fresh coat of a nail polish and voilà – I have perfect nails that I can leave alone at least for that one night.
But it got me thinking – what about all of you girls who are biting your nails? Though your habit is no uglier than mine, you can’t really get your nails in shape so quickly. I mean – have you seen those nails? They are usually oddly shaped, seriously damaged and bitten to the flesh, with literally nothing left to clip and get a nice shape.
On top of that, the act itself is kind of disturbing – frantic look in the eyes, nervous twitching of the fingers and chewing, chewing, chewing…
For you, sudden important dates, meetings, parties and celebrations must look like a nightmare. So, here are 7 tricks that will help you to stop biting your nails and forever change your life! (Or at least… you know – your nails.)
1. Set Your Mind on the Goal
Making the decision is the first and probably the most important step. You have to really mean it, or don’t bother at all.
No one says it’s going to be easy. Quitting biting your nails is not as hard as, for example, quitting smoking, but you will need some strength of will. There will always be a reason to nibble at your nails just once – you’ll have an important test, a job interview, a cute guy will walk past you.
But, guess what? You are not a nail biter anymore! You may need to remind yourself of that occasionally, but you are not.
Some doctors suggest it’s better if you do it gradually, in steps. For example, start with a decision to stop biting the nails on your right hand. It could alleviate some of the stress, inevitable when quitting any bad habit.
2. Biting the Nails Is Less Tempting If They Are Short
Many agree that it’s not near as satisfying to bite nails if there’s really not much to bite. So, keep your nails as trimmed as possible.
Carrying around a nail clipper in your pocket might also help, especially if you bite your cuticles as well. That way you can clip any tiny piece of a nail or cuticle that splits, without involving your teeth and going back to the habit.
3. Get a Manicure You Wouldn’t Want To Spoil
This really helped my friend to stop biting her nails. Just a look at how gorgeous they looked was enough to stop her from nibbling. You can find online a zillion gorgeous ideas on nail design. Just find the one you like the most and show it to your manicurist.
Choose something you like so much, you’d really feel sorry if you ruined it. Or create your own personalized design. Or think about the money you spent, that will be thrown away with the first bite. Whatever works for you.
4. Buy a Nail Polish That Tastes Really Bad
Most people don’t even notice when their fingers start moving towards their mouth. A bit of a reminder, say – in a form of awful, awful taste on your nails, might do the trick for you.
There are nail polishes specially created to help you stop biting the nails. These products are odorless, colorless and completely safe, but taste so bitter, they will actually make you think twice before putting your hand anywhere near your mouth.
Currently most popular bitter nail polish on Amazon is Mavala. It has over 6000 reviews, an average score of 4.3 and it is only $14.95. For a product that might help you get rid of an ugly habit, that sounds like a good deal to me.
5. Keep Your Mouth and Hands Busy
Biting the nails is mostly a manifestation of inner anxiety that makes you want to do something – anything – just to divert your attention from the situation that makes you feel anxious. So, it doesn’t necessarily need to be biting the nails, it’s just usually the only thing that is close, easily available and something you don’t have to put any effort into.
So, make sure you always have something to play with; something small that you can carry around and reach for anytime you catch your mouth going towards your fingers.
It can be a gum, a lollipop or sunflower seeds to occupy your mouth, or a stress ball, a worry stone or a spinner ring for your hands. Don’t overthink it – just grab the first thing that doesn’t require any of your attention (so you can use it while doing other things) and that can help you keep the anxiety under control.
6. Reward and Punishment
It is actually very simple – when something nice happens to you, you tend to repeat the actions that led to that happy feeling. And vice versa.
So, every time you’ve been good and kept your teeth away from your nails, reward yourself with something small, nice and simple. Maybe a gorgeous new nail polish. A candy. Or an hour away from your daily errands and responsibilities to do something just for yourself.
The reverse goes if you’ve caught yourself biting the nails, whether that means snapping your hand with a rubber band or putting a dollar into a nasty-little-nail-biter jar.
7. Apps Can Help You
Did you know there are apps specifically created to help you stop biting the nails? Yes, yes, we live in a world where even this issue has its app. So why not use it?
Most of these apps work by helping you to track your progress, keeping a diary of your success and fails, reminding you why you are doing this, suggesting other things you can replace your habit with or creating a relaxing atmosphere.
If you’ve already decided to stop biting the nails, why do it on your own? Use all the help you can get.