Nice Nails


I’ve been biting my nails since I can remember. And biting is probably the most tame way to describe the kind of masochistic destruction I was doing to my digits. Nothing felt better that biting down at the edge of a nail to get the process started and then proceeding with my available fingers to rip the rest of it off. Even the smallest bit of white that would begin to appear was a reminder that I had work to do and a little bit anxiety to relieve.

At some point I truly believed that I was incapable of nice nails. Just like some people are born with thick, straight manes and moms with access to fancy stylists – others are born with curly nests and moms who feel confident DIYing bangs on the back porch with a comb missing a few teeth and dull scissors. Some people are born with nice nails and others are born nail biters.

The worst side-effects of nail-biting never seemed to deter my bad habit. Infected fingers, picked at cuticles, irritated hang nails, and that burning sensation when you get salt on a fresh bit of exposed nail bed. Pain usually serves as a red flag to STOP but my addiction held strong. I bit my nails on the bus to Elementary school. I bit my nails in between sets of marching band practice. I bit my nails through boring gen ed classes in college. I felt extra fancy when I got fake acrylic French manicured nails for my first wedding. Not long after I vowed “Forever, I do…” I managed to pop and rip my acrylic nails off my fingers, one-by-one, before the honeymoon was even over. After I got my first job I remember being self conscious about showing designs-in-progress to my account executive … I would fold as many fingers as possible into my palm when pointing out various elements of the art I was presenting.

It wasn’t until Britney Spears went crazy and the tabloids started relentlessly picking on her that I stopped biting my nails. I remember a particular article detailing everything wrong with Britney – from her Cheetos and Frappucino addiction, to her bad hair extensions and inability to wear shoes in gas station restrooms, to a close up, zoomed-in view of her hands (carrying two cell phones, a Starbucks drink, Cheetos, her wallet, and a baby on her hip) pointing out her mangled nubs of fingernails. So that was that. I immediately stopped biting my nails and started treating myself to weekly manicures to stay accountable to kicking the habit. I also stopped reading tabloids … except at the nail salon.

P.S. Stacked rings by Moulton

  1. Elle

    I have this bad habit, too. Especially when my nerves are in a bunch, lol. I’m definitely going to try the weekly manicure trick! Thank you for sharing :).

  2. Corey

    That is still a weakness of mine. I have definitely improved but my nails peel and it’s hard to quit the habit completely. Need to figure out something to make the nails healthier so they don’t split and start the process all over.

  3. Last year in April, for the first time ever, I grew my nails out. It was like an experiment. One day there was white on a nail, then two nails, then all ten! I went and got a gel manicure to celebrate. A month later, I was back at it.

    This April (maybe it’s springtime), I managed it again, for a couple of months. Then work got insane, and they’re hideous again. But I so enjoyed painting my nails and having them pretty. I need to go get a manicure and start from scratch.

  4. Chelcey

    Total nail biter over here … Acrylics are the only things that keep me from biting because I don’t want to waste the $25 I just spent to get them put on! 🙂

  5. I’m a former nail biting queen as well. My mother used to be a manicurist and hated that my nails were such a sight. We tried everything to make me stop – have you ever tried that “NO BITE” polish?? ugh it tastes horrible, but I quickly learned if you wash your hands enough the flavor goes away and then it’s GAME ON! It wasn’t until I myself become a manicurist that I worried about my nails. I found Nailtiques, a protein polish for different types of nails (from dry and brittle, to healthy, to overly hard nails, peeling you name it they have a formula). When my nails are feeling weak again I use this to help strengthen them (I’m a formula 2). Kudos to you for getting the manicures and fighting the urge to nibble. I still ruin my cuticles but the nails are a thing of my past.

  6. Monica

    When I was young I bit my nails incessantly, they regularly bled. At some point my great aunt offered me an heirloom onyx/diamond ring if I would stop. She even gave it to me as “prepayment”, trusting I would stop. A habit that had haunted me for years was kicked immediately.
    For about the last ten years I have had acrylic nails. I do admit that I chew on them occasionally, but not severe enough to do any damage. Can I still consider it a victory? I think so…..

  7. jensen

    My mom used to take me to get manicures on occasion and I always remember being so upset afterwards because they never looked as nice as hers did, and she would tell me over and over again that it was because I bit my nails all the time. So, determined to have a really nice manicure, I stopped and never looked back.

    At some point I also stopped painting my nails on a regular basis, and then some boy in high school casually mentioned how he thought it was nice when girls did their nails on a more regular basis rather than just for special things like prom — but that’s a whole different story 🙂

  8. Tania

    You nailed it on the head – pun intended.

    I used to be a huge nail biter, but even worse, I prefer to bit around my nails – you know, the side cuticle area. I used to do it until it bled and then hated myself for it. So I took it as a challenge! I mastered the art of biting the side cuticles without bleeding. I was a Master.

    Somehow I stopped. Confidence? I dunno. But now my nails grow stupid fast and I find myself biting it because I can’t find my nail clippers.

  9. Vanessa

    I’ve never been a nail biter, but my cuticles… wow. It’s totally a stress tick for me and one I’m trying to beat (with limited success).

  10. Margie

    I pick my feet. Bad. I try to moisturize but if I see a tiny speck of dry skin I pick at it until I bleed. Goldmember, I laughed when I saw that.

  11. My husband bites nails… nothing I did or said helped him overcome this addiction.
    I also used to bite nails, but stopped on my late teen years. To this day, my fingers come to my mouth at least 2-3 times a day, but I just rest the nails between the teeth without actually biting it off.

  12. Megan

    I’ve bit my nails for as long as I can remember and I finally quit at age 30. Everything you described about why you bite your nails completely resonated with me. So…my secret to quitting? Sally Hansen Maximum Growth Treatment. It literally grows nails 10x faster and gives them a natural opaque, but shiny finish that’s so pretty you don’t want to bite your nails. I love looking at my nails! lol Good luck xo

  13. lucinda

    ha! so brittany spears still has inspirational moments (even if they’re the don’t-do-what-she does kind)! seriously though, kuddos to you for kicking the habit. by the look of your lovely red nails, i would’ve never guessed you were a recovering addict. keep going strong! 😉

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