Advanced search

Whether you’re a beauty novice or a confirmed fashionista, this topic is for consulting Mumsnetters on all things style-related. Plus, check out our Swears By page for the inside track on the next Mumsnet must-have.

I just cannot break my nail biting habit - help!

(17 Posts)
Chicinwellies Mon 05-Nov-12 22:21:58

I'm not after Skyfall talons or anything spectacular, but am so annoyed at myself that at pushing the wrong side of thirty I can't break the habit and I Think I've tried everything. It's so silly, as I look after myself in every other way and don't like seeing other people with chewed nails. Has anyone beaten this horrible habit - will I ever shellac !x

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 05-Nov-12 22:27:07

Watching with interest...

Haylebop12 Mon 05-Nov-12 22:33:13

I bit my nails until I was 21. When I started working in a pub kitchen I stopped as all sort would get on my hands (meat blood!)

When I feel like in going to I think about all the germs that are on my hands and that usually stops me.

However when I do break one I have a little nibble before rapidly pulling out a file! They are a must if your trying to grow as it helps with the temptation to bite those little bits that grow.

DoubleYew Mon 05-Nov-12 22:33:40

What have you tried?

I used to bite them so much they hurt and I stopped. I made myself be hyper aware of when I was biting them (rather than just doing it without thinking) and forced myself to not do it each time I was about to, by thinking how bloody sore it was afterwards. After a while I just got out of the habit and never do it now.

smaths Mon 05-Nov-12 22:43:48

I'm 33 and have bitten my nails to the quick as long as I remember. I've managed to not do it for 6 weeks now (first time I ever succeeded more than a few days) with a combo of painting them with some Sally Hansen nail strengthener stuff and moisturising my hands lots - forme the trigger is feeling a bit of rough nail or skin and this has seemed to reduce temptation a lot

Viperidae Mon 05-Nov-12 22:47:16

I bit mine from childhood but decided for my 50th to have acrylic nails put on. I carried on having them for about 6 months and, when I stopped, I just never started biting them again.

It has taken lots of nail strengthener to make them decent but I'm getting there.

Pancakeflipper Mon 05-Nov-12 22:50:01

I used to pick at my nails. For 30yrs.
I have stopped and one thing that helped was using Clarins hand and nail cream. It makes my nails grow fast and feel stronger., and although the smell is fine it's not one you'd want in your mouth. I keep my nails filed shortish but they look so much neater.

Evizza Mon 05-Nov-12 22:54:58

Hand cream - take it everywhere and apply non stop.

I quit smoking 3 months ago and was worried that I would ruin them with chomping, but I put hand cream everywhere - in my handbag, on my desk, next to the bed. I kept putting it on and the taste/feeling of my hands stopped me doing it.

I am now a non smoker with long, strong nails and great looking hands smile

ToastedTeacakes Mon 05-Nov-12 22:56:46

I bit mine for 35 years. And when I say 'bit' them, I mean right down to the stumps, my fingers looked savaged and raw.

I managed to break the habit quite easily, which still surprises me. Here's how I did it:
I began by concentrating upon growing only two nails at a time. In my case I chose the 4th and fifth fingers of my left hand. More importantly, I allowed myself to still chew the remaining 8 nails to smithereens.
I did wear falsies on the bitten nails but would frequently chew them off. The falsies alone were no defense against my habit.

When the two new nails had grown (then snapping off, then growing again!) I then went on to grow two more, whilst still allowing myself to chew the remaining 6 to death.

And so on and so on until I had grown a full set of 10 'weak yet wonderful' new nails. It is disheartening when they snag and tear, but simple enough to just carry on, if you are determined.

I think this method worked for me because I didn't have to go full cold turkey all at once, and actually being able to compare the beauty of the newly grown nails to my ugly bitten ones drove me to persevere, one step at a time.

The urge to nibble is no longer strong, as in not biting them has become the new habit.

corlan Mon 05-Nov-12 23:14:39

I've been chewing my nails all my life and have just started to grow them by using very glittery nail polish. Biting my nails while wearing it is like chewing on a bit of sandpaper!

dogrilla Tue 06-Nov-12 03:20:23

Nailbiting is the bane of my life! I'm in a six month cycle of getting acrylics for two months, then taking them off and having weak but strong real nails. Paint them and love them for about four months but somehow the nibbling always starts again. First the skin round the edges, then to 'tidy' any rough bits, and then, eventually, I'm tearing off any white bits I can get my teeth round. Before long they are bleeding, painful stumps again, and so begins the cycle again. Hate being embarrassed of my fingertips aged 36 sad

crazybutterflylady Tue 06-Nov-12 06:55:15

I bit mine till I was about 18. My grandpa said one day 'I don't know why you keep doing that, you might as well lick the toilet bowl' shock

I stopped shortly afterwards.

Try to think of licking the toilet bowl every time you put your fingers near your mouth to bite them. Worked for me!

Jackstini Tue 06-Nov-12 14:39:31

Chic - try using clear shellac - (or any gel polish, cheaper to use a home one). Put 3-4 coats on, curing each layer and your nails will be much harder to bite.

Also rubbing them inside a freshly cut very hot chilli can put you off!
(Note - do not do this when you are on your period - you will forget and burn your bits!) blush

Chicinwellies Wed 07-Nov-12 13:55:51

What great replies, thank you everyone - lots of tips, and reassuring to know Im not the only one embarrassed to still have this silly habit. Will update this thread with any success, thanks all x

Abzs Wed 07-Nov-12 14:54:46

I had a miracle recovery when I met DH. This obviously isn't a perfect plan for stopping nail biting! But may be something to consider. I stopped when my life got a lot happier - do you bite yours more when you're stressed or unhappy?

I think now (I never did at the time) that my nail biting had morphed from a childhood habit to a form of self harm. I bit my nails and my fingers, so much I now have reduced sensation in the tips of some of my fingers. When I think on it the nail biting was worst at the times of my life I was unhappy. I do still bite all my nails off at times of stress, usually if I'm having a bad month for PMS.

Nail varnish makes me bite my nails - as I always want to pick it off, or at least play with the shiny surface.

I try to have nail files around the house, bathroom, bedroom, study, so I can catch any edges I might be tempted to pick at.

I try not to let them get too long, or they just bend and break (due to the shortened nail beds I think).

SunnyUpNorth Wed 07-Nov-12 19:21:23

I was another that used to have sore,bleeding fingers. The trick for me was to avoid any snags I could pick at as others have said. So lots of hand cream, nail oil, nail files and a cuticle trimmer. The slightest dry edge bit would get buffed away immediately. I too used to peel off nail varnish and then continue with the nails so I wouldn't recommend nail varnish at first.

Secondly I also kept a nail to bite! In my case I still pick at my thumbs. They don't look really bitten anymore but by having them to pick at I was able to grow my finger nails.

Lastly I always had to have something to occupy my fingers, so keep things like elastic bands in your pocket to play with and chew gum at the same time so you have something in your mouth to distract you.

Good luck, it is possible!

Ruprekt Wed 07-Nov-12 19:49:27

I was a nail biter until August when my sil persuaded me to go for a shellac manicure.

It cured me!

The varnish stays on for 3/4 weeks and just the fact I have paid so much money for it has stopped me biting.

I am now wearing a red glittery nail varnish which lots of people have commented on and I feel very grown up At42

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: