I bit my nails for over 15 years. Whether I was nervous, anxious, happy, or sad — biting soothed my emotions. Often biting down to nubs, I had to rely on tips to get a pretty manicure. Three years ago, I started to educated myself on natural hair and body care. Through my research I stumbled across information to help keep natural nails strong and long. It was then I decided it was time to ditch my weekly fill appointment and start tending to my nubs.
Nail biting is a form of mild self-mutilation. While fairly common, it can be more than just a bad habit. More serious cases result in bleeding, bruises, infections, or even permanent damage to the fingers. With this realization, I immediately started a 12 step program toward recovery.
Like any addiction, the road to recovery is a process. If you are looking for a way to quit sans the acrylic, try these helpful tips:
1. Confront the problem. Really look at your hands. Do you appear soft and feminine? Or ravaged and harsh? When you really pay attention to what you are doing to yourself, you may think twice before you put your fingers in your mouth.
2. Choose one nail to “protect” at a time. They say all addicts should take things one day at a time — try this same sentiment with each nail. It only take a fews days for nails to begin growing. Nurturing one nail at a time still gives you the freedom to bite the others. Its like a nicotine patch for your hands. Once the unbitten nail has grown for a while, start protecting another one. And another.
4. Record your progress. Take “before and after” pics of your manicures and use them as a motivation to keep at it. It usually takes three weeks to grow nails half a centimeter, so pictures are a great way to document your progress.
5. Add calcium and magnesium-rich foods to your diet. One of the reasons you bite your nails may be due to a lack of calcium and magnesium. Try to get these elements back into your body and watch your chewed nails flourish.
7. Find a habit to replace the nail biting. Whenever you have the urge to bite, do something else instead. Some people like to chew gum. I like to use it as a chance to change my polish. I was wearing different a nail color everyday. Which brings me to the next step…
8. Cover your nails with a nail polish. This may not end your habit but you’ll be less likely to bite nails that look pretty!
9. Keep your nails trimmed and shaped. You can’t bite if your nails are too short!
10. Talk to your friends about your nails. This will help to focus your mind on your goals.
11. Show off! If your nails improve and you keep from biting, show them off. This will significantly help you to kick this habit once and for all.
12. Do a trendy manicure. Take some style cues from Solange and Rihanna and get creative with your nails. Try a reverse French manicure or some black crackle polish on top of a bright pink! Whatever you decide, remember to throw your hands in the air and wave them like you just don’t care — because if you got this far, you deserve it.
Follow these steps you will be well on your way to healthy natural nails. Keep looking after your nails, with cuticle oil, shine, and a daily vitamin and remember — no biting!