How to Stop Biting Your Nails Once and For All
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If you’re wondering how to stop biting your nails, good for you—we’re glad you’re here. We’ve essentially all had a bad nail-biting habit at some point, most of us in childhood. It’s a lot like thumb sucking, bed wetting, nose picking, and so forth—but nail biting is a habit that lots of us carry well past adolescence, and then need to devise a way to kick the fix. Another bunch of us might be past nail biting, but still pick or nibble at hang nails. But while there are some tools, products, and practices that help prevent and treat hangnails, treating a straightforward nail-biting habit requires a little more effort. We’ve got a four-step plan to do just that.
1. Keep Everything Trim.
As a biter, you know that if there’s nothing to chomp at, then you simply can’t feed the fix. In this way, it can help if you trim your nails down very short—and keep them there with a nail file—so that you can’t nibble at them in the first place. This defies the usual nail-clipping standards we promote, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
Read More: Best Nail Clippers for Men
That doesn’t mean trimming so far that suddenly you’re exposing too much skin underneath the nail bed or causing hangnails. Ideally you can let the nails grow long enough so that a sliver of brighter white appears at the tips—and then trim just below that.
2. Apply Lacquer or Polish
With nail polish finally becoming more popular among men, now is a good opportunity to get creative with your digits. You can apply a coat of expressive color to the nails, which should make them a lot less appetizing to snack on. That, or you can apply a clear layer of lacquer to the nails, which typically serves as a protective, shiny layer over top. It’s still protecting here, except it’s your inner saboteur that the lacquer is acting against.
3. Pay for Manicures
While a DIY manicure is a step above standard-fare trimming, we still say it’s worth investing in a regular professional job. By dedicating the half hour and the ~$20, you’re giving yourself added reason not to chew at the nails: Because hey, you PAID for that manicure, and you’re not going to let the money go to waste! You could even have them apply that fresh coat of nail polish or lacquer, too, which they’ll do far more evenly than you could do yourself.
4. If All Else Fails, Get Bitter
Here is where you bring out the big guns: bitter nail polish. It’s like giving yourself shock therapy. Adding some negative consequences works: I got over my own nail biting habit in middle school by wearing a rubber band on my wrist and snapping it whenever I caught myself chewing. But an even better way to add some pain to nail-biting by applying an intentionally bitter-tasting nail polish, which will initiate a jerk reaction every time you bring your fingers to your lips. They’ll also likely help you cease chewing at hangnails, too. (You can even apply it over top colorful nail polish.)
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