Since I’ve had teeth I’ve bitten my nails. It’s bloody annoying, and I don’t like doing it, but it’s very easy to lose myself and forget I’m not meant to do it. All my friends get their nails done or just have naturally lovely nails, and I’m so determined to get to that point too!
I’ve been on a mission lately to find ways to stop myself from biting, and I want to share them so that those with the same habit can relate, and hopefully you’ll find some useful advice from the things that help me.
- Paint your nails a pretty colour, or at least keep a base coat on to make your nails look shiny and in good condition. This will make you want to avoid biting and realise when you’re doing it, because you want them to stay looking good for as long as possible! I always go for Barry M polishes, mostly the Gelly ones, because they’re cheap, really easy to apply and quite long-lasting.
- Tell yourself off! Stop yourself as soon as you start picking or biting! Tell those you spend lots of time with – family, friends, work colleagues – that you need their help. Let them shame you every time they catch you biting, or even looking at your nails. If other people are in on it, you’re more likely to succeed so you don’t let them down, and so they don’t embarrass you.
- Carry a nail file with you as much as possible. Get rid of loose, catchy bits with the file before you start biting at them. Smooth them down because otherwise you’ll just make it worse.
- Moisturise. I work in a job that makes my hands super dry, so I definitely need to moisturise my hands more than most. I would recommend getting into a routine of applying a hand cream after washing your hands. It helps avoid loose bits of skin appearing around the cuticle which is the main place I find myself biting.
- Cuticle oil or lip balm work really well to soften your cuticles and make things a little bit less messy and catchy. It’s frustrating having bits of skin sticking out, willing you to pull them! You need to really care for your nails if you want them to look tidy, so I recommend rubbing oil or lip balm on them at least every other day. I definitely need to start following my own advice in this instance.
- Show it off! My dad always used to do ‘nail checks’ on me and my sister when we were kids, because we both bit our nails like mad. We would always run away laughing, hiding the bare skin where nails should be (it was baaaad). Now I show off my nails when I’ve let them grow a bit, because it’s a big achievement for me and lots of people know I find it really difficult. It may seem silly that it’s such a big deal, but it’s hard work!
My nails are definitely not something I’m proud of yet, but I’m much better than I was a couple of years ago. I find myself picking up the habit more when I’m stressed or bored, so I try to keep my hands busy. I even caught myself chewing on my thumb while I was rereading this post! It’s a journey to try and get out of a habit that brings comfort in the moment, but I’m definitely working on it.