Since I can remember, I have always been one to bite my nails. I never found it to actually relieve any anxiety but it was a habit I just couldn’t shake. Fast forward to December 2014 and I quit just like that, no reason. This lasted until January of 2016 when the terrible habit was back again. I thought it was just back while I was under a lot of stress but then it never left. This has been a habit that I have hated since I got out of the mindless instinct stage, so I obviously wanted to shake it as soon as I could but it was tougher than I imagined.
By the time December 2016 rolled around, I was completely done with hiding my fingers because I bit my nails into a horrible state so I decided to get a bunch of new nails polish I was really excited about wearing (shout out to my aunt for helping me out with this part) and I committed myself to painting my nails every time they got chipped until I had this habit gone.
It’s been over a month now and I do not bite my nails any more and if I happen to be really nervous and the instinct kicks in, I stop it immediately. I’ve changed my polish probably 8 or 9 times since the end of December and I have seen so much progress that gives me motivation to continue to paint my nails and continue to kick this habit.
A few thoughts and a few products have been especially helpful in getting me to fix this, which I have hated about myself for such a long time.
- You have to be ready to let this habit go. You may think you’re ready but both times I have quit this habit I was truly done and ready to move away from it even if I thought I felt that way a million times before. You have to really really want it and know how you can replace this habit. What else can you do to avoid it? For me, I do anything from doodle small stars on any paper in reach, run my tongue along the back of my teeth, or tap my fingers on my legs to keep them busy if I feel the urge.
- If you constantly remind yourself and constantly keep your hands away from your face it will be so much easier.
- Painting my nails constantly was the single best thing I have done in terms of getting rid of this habit. I understand that this won’t work for everyone, it didn’t work for me for years but when you put the time in to have your nails painted a color you like and don’t want to ruin, it will motivate you. I seriously don’t go more than 20 minutes without my nails painted anymore because I’m a little afraid I’m too fresh off the habit to stick to my guns. I know that I won’t bite my nails when they’re freshly polished so I keep them painted at all times.
As for products, there is nothing quite as motivational as getting a few new treats for your nails and get really excited about using them. Maybe pick out a cuticle balm to keep at your workspace or somewhere so when you sit down to watch a show you can make a ritual of moisturizing your cuticles.
I love Essie products so much so I got the Millionails Base Coat which strengthens weak nails (a.k.a. nails that are just beginning to grow out). The best part of this base coat is the formula: it dries incredibly fast which leads to a short dry time all around and a super long wearing time. If I use any other base coat my polish just doesn’t last as long, and my nails always turn out dry and peeling when I take the polish off. This is a must have if you’re going to be doing your nails a lot.
I picked up a ton of new polish shades to keep me excited about painting my nails and keep it from being a chore so I got around 8 of the Essie Gel Couture line which supposedly have a 14 day wear time but I can’t keep it on that long to actually test that claim. What I can say is that the brush is a million times better than the original Essie brush, it’s so much wider and makes it so easy to evenly coat the nail. You can check out a few of the shades I own in this post, but I’ve gotten some more so I will have to do an updated post sometime soon.
A cuticle oil is always nice to massage in after my nails have dried and I have always liked Solar Oil because it’s a pretty basic nail oil but any works really. This keeps the skin around my nails very hydrated and keeps my nails in shape to be repainted about every 5 days. It seems excessive but hey, it’s working.
If you don’t have something like the Polar Block Buffing Block, you need to get one. It’s the easiest way to help smooth peeling nails, gently buff out ridges that come along with growing out your nails (slowly though, don’t go really hard all at once or your nails will get SO weak), and even a bit of filing if you’re in a pinch. I can’t paint my nails without a Polar Block by my side.
The last product that has been an absolute God-send is a quick-dry topcoat. I don’t really care that quick-dry formulas lack the claims of 2 week wear time or diamond-like shine for days, the faster I can paint my nails the better. I do everything in my power to make painting my nails an enjoyable experience and having them completely dry less than an hour after start time makes it the perfect activity to do while watching The Vampire Diaries or Jane the Virgin. I cannot stand when my nails get smudged because I don’t wait long enough for them to dry so an instant dry topcoat is the perfect solution. My favorites are Essie Good To Go and Sally Hansen Instant Dry Topcoat.
What kind of person are you: perfectly polished all the time or a nail biter? Let me know your strategies for overcoming nail-biting!