I've heard that it takes 21 days to break a habit. I don't know if that's true, but after a full month of not biting my nails, I'd say I'm successfully "cured". I've been a nail-biter my entire life - a bad one. I would bite to the point of pain, and honestly never understood why I kept doing it. Having perfect nails was never a huge priority for me, but one day last month I decided to paint them... and then I decided why not try to stop biting? It wasn't a huge decision for me, but it just happened to fall at the right time. Once I got through a week, I was like, "I can do this!". So I did! It's not to say I haven't struggled with it, but it was relatively easy to stop. Now, I'm so in love with my new nails and how much they add to my outfits. Plus, they are pain-free now!
I tried to think of when and why I'd bite my nails crazily. Usually it was in a stressed frenzy when I was in over my head, or when I was scared or nervous like during a "nail-biter" movie or bored while waiting for someone or something. I realized those situations weren't going to go away, so I needed to try new things. The biggest thing that helped me was painting them almost every day. I don't like the taste of nail-polish, and just having them painted all the time was a constant reminder to not bite. I really enjoyed the process of watching my nails grow and cuticles heal, so that inspired me in itself!
For my nail painting process, here are a few essentials I use. I remove my nail polish with vitamin E polish remover. Add any nutrients you can, right? After the polish is off, I clean up my cuticles with a cuticle trimmer. This thing was so crazy to use at first. It straight up peels your cuticles off. I'd be tempted to bite if I had a hangnail, so trimming was essential. Afterwards, I'd file them down to an even shape on both hands. During the "growing out" process, I'd apply Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails before applying polish. After letting that fully dry, I'd apply a polish color. I have many favorite polishes but my staples have been Essie's Navigate her (the green pictured below), Lady Like and Sally Hansen's Complete Salon Manicure polishes in Kook-A-Mango and Commander in Chic.
An overview list of tips and tricks to help stop biting your nails:
- Keep them painted and repaint often. This was my number one help in cracking the habit. Not only were they too pretty to bite, I hated the taste of polish. Plus, it was a constant reminder of my goal.
- Treat yourself. Every week I was successful in not biting, I bought myself a new polish. After a month, reward yourself with a professional manicure. Give yourself fun rewards and incentives.
- Moisturize daily. I was constantly lotioning up. Hangnails and rough skin have more appeal to bite and tear. Be sure to clean up and push back your cuticles too.
- Mom's advice. She stopped biting her nails after someone told her a long time ago that worms grow under them. Haha! She also took gelatin and pre-natal vitamins to help with strength. I personally didn't do this, but it's a great tip if your nails are thinner or break easily!
- Power through stressful situations. One of my biggest issues was biting when I was nervous or scared. When a situation arose, instead of biting, I would sit with my hands folded. It helped!
- Will power. Stick with it, if you really want it! Set mini goals... like getting through a week. If you can make it a week, you'll be inspired by how pretty they look and most likely, you'll keep going. You can do it!