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If you think nail biting is a bad habit restricted to kids, think again. In fact, according to recent studies, between 20 to 30 percent of adults still consider themselves to be nail-biters. Obviously, nail-biting is conducive to maintaining healthy, well-groomed nails, but aside from aesthetics, it’s also fairly dangerous due to the potential of ingesting trapped bacteria and debris hiding under them — and this is especially worrisome during these unprecedented times — yikes. So whether you’re a chronic, lifelong nail nibbler or just take to the dirty habit during times of stress (nail-biting and anxiety tend to go hand in hand for many people, BTW), we’ve got the lowdown on how to stop biting your nails for good, once and for all.
A tried and true trick is, of course, getting regular manicures (especially if you’re the type of person who tends to opt for gel, dip, or acrylic manis), but with many nail salons still shut down due to the pandemic, this method is a bit more tricky to try as of late, so we’ve rounded up a few additional, at-home-friendly ways to help you quit the habit without the help of a salon tech. See below for a few tips and tricks to help you ~finally~ quit your nail-biting addiction cold turkey (or gradually, if you’d prefer).
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1. Cut Your Nails Extra Short
QOOQI Nail Clippers Set
This may seem painfully obvious, but if your nails are already cut super-short, the temptation (and well, opportunity in general) will be less appealing when you’re fighting the urge to chomp on down. In addition to trimming them often, you’ll also want to make sure to keep them clean — just in case you can’t fight the urge. This two-pack set comes with a larger size metal clipper for toenails and tougher fingernails, as well as a smaller one with a metal file attached.
2. Bitter-Tasting Nail Polish
Dermelect RESIST Nail Bite Inhibitor + Restorative Treatment
If you’ve ever attempted to break the habit before, you’re likely already familiar with anti-nail-biting polishes formulated to have an extra unpleasant, bitter flavor to deter you from chomping down on your nails. But trust me, Dermelect’s multi-purpose RESIST Nail Biting Inhibitor is an absolute game-changer that will not only help you stop biting your nails, but also repair and restore the health of them in the process.
It’s infused with Bittrex (a bitter, nail-biting deterrent), but also damage-repairing peptides, nourishing vitamin E, and sunflowers to help restore balanced hydration levels. Unlike other nail-biting polishes on the market, RESIST’s is formated with a ‘just right’ amount of its primary active ingredient and helps bring your stubby nails back to life with its additional bonus ingredients. Even if you ~don’t~ bite your nails, this formula is also great for repairing damage from acrylics or helping to strengthen naturally weak nails.
3. Yoga & Meditation for Stress Management
If you find you resort to biting your nails when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, try addressing the underlying issue and indulge in a mind-full anxiety-reducing practice like yoga or meditation before resorting to old habits. There are plenty of free and reasonably-priced online yoga classes as well as guided meditation videos and apps to help you safely practice from the comfort of your home.
4. Find a Tangible Distraction
Paradix Hand Grip Stress-Relieving Ball
Stress balls and hand grips can be an actually helpful way to relieve stress and pent-up tension, but they also serve as a great quick-fix distraction to occupy your hands and re-center your mind when you’re feeling the urge to bite your nails. This pack comes with three balls, so we suggest keeping one in your car, your bedside table, and wherever else you find yourself tempted to bite your nails periodically.
5. DIY Manicures & Artificial Nails
KISS Salon Acrylic Natural Nails
If you’re wearing fake nails — whether they’re press-on on glue-on, bringing the salon home will naturally help prevent you from biting your nails. Opt for a salon-inspired glue-on set to get the look of a professional acrylic set, or purchase a DIY Powder Dip Kit from luxury brands like Revel Powder Dip or Nail Boo Dip Kit. It’s the best physical shield you’ll find, TBH.