My nails have always been crap. Straight up lol. They are brittle, paper thin, and ALWAYS peeling. I seriously believe I have the worst nails anyone could ever possibly have. No joke there. I think this made my nails the perfect target for biting. Since they always looked like crap anyway, I decided that biting them wasn't such a bad thing.
Growing up I was definitely a tomboy. I always had my hands in something, whether I was climbing trees or digging in the red clay to make mud pies. As I got older (and became fully aware that I was, indeed, a female) I remember numerous sleepovers/slumber parties where the dreaded I'll-paint-your-nails-you-paint-mine always had to happen. I felt uncomfortable and easily embarrassed about my horrible nails. Most of the time I'd find a way to just paint mine myself so no one else had to look at them haha. I just never knew what to do with them to make them look pretty.
Once I started blogging, I became even more aware of my nails and they way they looked in outfit photos. I was embarrassed by the fact that it was so obvious that my nails were chipped, bleeding, and just generally looked rough. These photos of my nails are throughout the years of blogging on Hellolyndsey. As you can clearly see, my nails were in terrible shape. I painted them to try to keep them a little prettier and to try to stop picking at them, but never could completely commit myself to it. I'd stop for maybe a couple of days, sometimes a week, but then go right back to it. I have anxiety like you wouldn't believe, so any possible stressful situation, I was tearing away at my nails. The worst part about it is even if I had no nails to bite or pick at, I tore the skin off around my nails until they bled. This is something I have a constant battle with, because even though I don't bite my nails anymore,
I think the first thing that helped me overcome nail biting was beautiful nail art. I brought myself to the conclusion which do I want more, broken/brittle nails the rest of my life or am I going to do something about it? Since my nails were so brittle and peeling so bad, I knew growing them out wasn't an option. So, I decided to train myself with acrylic nails. BAD IDEA. Let me tell you this. Keeping up acrylic nails is expensive, painful, and sometimes embarrassing! The nail tech looked at me and said "your nails are reeeeally bad." ..duh! Like I didn't know this already? Haha. I kept acrylic nails on for 4 months straight, having them done once a month. This actually really helped curve the urge to pick the polish off my nails and strayed me away from biting them because they were too hard to break. Once I got to the point that I thought I could go without the acrylics and not bite my nails, I had them removed. To my surprise, my nails had grown incredibly long under the acrylic nails! But they were flimsier than printer paper. I immediately went and bought Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Miracle Cure and painted my nails religiously with it for a month. But my nails were just far too damaged to repair and still ended up biting the back down below the quick. It was heartbreaking!
So what did I do? I made myself determined and dedicated to stop biting my nails.
Mind over matter
It's actually funny to see that I'm saying this on my blog, because I hate that saying. But it's true. You have to want something with everything in you to actually get results. Just like getting fit or going to school or moving up on the job scale. Switch your brain on to the fact that you are deciding to make a really good change to your body.
Buy a nail strengthener
Peeling edges, weak distals, snags, and ingrown nails are just biting mishaps waiting to happen. Kind of like a monster zit calling your name in your sleep saying "pop me.. pop me! You know you want to.." when we all know that popping zits is a sin in the beauty world. From my own personal experience, I have never found a nail strengthener that totally cured my nails. But I finally found one that did the closest job to it. O.P.I Nail Envy is the best nail strengthener I have ever used. It was a bit steep for my price range at $10 for one bottle on Amazon, but at this point I didn't care anymore. I wanted something that worked. As soon as I got it in the mail, I prepped my nails and slathered two coats of this on my nails. By the end of the 3rd day, my nails had started growing! I have been using it every time I paint my nails for the past 4 months and now? My nails are stronger than they have ever been in my whole life.
Paint your nails religiously
Chipped nail polish has always been disastrous for me. Once my polish started chipping, I was picking away at my nails until I'd peeled all my nail polish off. When you see the first sign of chipping in your nail polish, repaint them as soon as you possibly can. If you're not a fan of painting your nails so often (I was painting mine every 4 to 5 days) a good way to cope with chipped nails is a thick coat of glitter polish. It'll add tons of sparkle without noticing the temptation that lies underneath.
Try doing nail art
Nail art is so awesome and beautiful!! It can also be a real pain in the butt. You don't necessarily have to be good at drawing or painting to do nail art. There are simple nail arts that everyone can try and it'll be so fun to show off your hard work once it's done! Polka dots were my favorite go-to when I first started doing nail art. Then I learned how to make hearts, then stripes, and so on. There are plenty of tutorials around the interwebz on some awesome nail art, and I even have a couple here!
Post pictures of your nails on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook
When you share pictures of your nails, not only does it help you feel confident about the way your nails look, but it also makes you feel proud that you're doing such a good job at keeping your bad habits at bay. I post pictures of my nails on my Instagram almost every time I paint them now. It's also a fun way to keep track of your progress without openly saying it. ;)
It's okay to have slip ups
There were times that I'd slam my hand into something and one nail would break into a wonky jagged edge. For the first month I grew my nails out, I cried every time I broke a nail! Poor Josh.. lol! I'd usually just bite the rest of the nail off and start over, but I learned a better way to handle this would be filing the jagged edge to make the nail smooth again. BUT, if you keep slipping up too much, I recommend you watch this video on just how nasty/unhealthy it is for you to bite your nails. Just sayin'!
File, file, file away
Never clip your nails. Ever! When you want to shorten your nails you have so much more control when you file them. It takes way longer but I promise it will look so much better. And I don't mean saw at them like a hacksaw.. lol we're not Bob the Builder over here! Watch a few Youtube tutorials on how to properly file your nails and you'll have fresh nails in no time.
If all else fails in a super stressful situation, chew the heck out of some gum! I've got 2 packs in my purse right now for those just in case moments.
Well, I hope that this post helps you on your journey to recovering from nail biting! It took me so long, but I finally did it and I can't express the joy I have for having pretty nails now. Giving it up is so worth it!