Are you a secret nail-biter living in secret shame? Want to kick the habit, but just don't know how? Afraid you'll cause permanent damage to your nails and teeth....or possibly more scary during this time, introduce some dreaded viruses into your system from nibbling at the stuff hiding on the underside of your cuticles?
We speak to some manicurists, nail biters and beauticians for their best tips for beating this habit!
Not only is this a fun activity for a girls' day out, but once your talons look this terrific, the stakes against biting them get much, much higher. Plus, for those of you who nibble nails unconsciously, the colours and textures will help alert your eyes to what you are about to do before you take a chomp. (And if you do manage to, we understand that manicured nails aren't exactly scrumptious, so hopefully that will deter you from trying again.)
For those who find their nails in their mouth before your eyes can even process what you're doing, consider a more textural manicure, such as getting gel nails. You'll receive a coat much thicker than normal polish and more expensive than a standard manicure - the moment your tooth touches the nail, you will detect the difference and possibly be reminded of the money you'll be throwing down the drain if you proceed with chomping. And as a plus, gel nails are usually hardy enough to withstand the scraping that might occur from initial tooth contact.
Want even more texture? Adding 3D nail art like glitter or gems will make nibbling feel properly bizarre. Just remember though, if you do tend to bite down quite hard and unconsciously, chewing on rigid nail art could actually chip your teeth - which, though an excellent deterrent, would probably not be worth the grief.
Still need to turn things up a notch? Try nail extensions. These stiff talons are likely to give you a wake-up jab if you subconsciously raise your fingers to your teeth. They also taste of nothing except plastic, and their length helps prevent your pearly whites from reaching the areas you would normally try to chew on.
Plus, look at how they instantly up your glam factor!
Or go to the other extreme, and keep your nails super short. This means your teeth will have nothing to get a grip on, and your bad habit will be much less satisfying. However, if you still try to bite at the skin around your fingers -which can cause bleeding and even long-term infections - you may want to consider installing additional deterrence with a manicure anyway. There are plenty of design styles to fit compact nails too. Observe:
Here's a whole article on nail designs that make short nails look awesome.
Want to procure even more protection? Keep your mitts moisturised and bite-unfriendly with super-scented handcreams. Extra fragrant ones tend also to have a strong flavour that can help even the most recalcitrant nail-biter reconsider their usual snack.
We're especially in love with the scent of succulent nectarine, peach and delicate spring flowers melting into the note of acacia honey from Jo Malone's Blossom and Honey Hand Lotion. Alas, we can't always afford the luxury of a Jo Malone.
So the herbal scent that brims with botanical oils, herbs and Beeswax from Burt's Bees Hand Salve may just have to do.
Many of us use nail-biting as a coping mechanism whether we're bored, uncomfortable or nervous. Be aware of your triggers - note what thoughts or occurrences make you want to bite your nails - and you may be able to pre-empt yourself before you go into another munching episode. Then, do something else to help you process those thoughts or emotions. Deep breaths, meditation, chewing dental gum or doing some basic yoga can be healthier alternatives to help you expend that nail-biting energy.
Going to try any of these tips out? Share your experience on BU.sg!