5 Things to Try If You Can't Stop Biting Your Nails

Right now, it's more important than ever for nail-biters to kick their habit to the curb.

While it's always a good idea to restrain from biting your nails in order to avoid damage to your nails and teeth, it's critical to keep your fingers away from your mouth as much as possible as we practice social distancing—and not touching your face definitely includes nail-biting.

Of course, most of us don't consciously choose to bite our nails. It's an automatic habit and a coping mechanism for stress and nervousness. That said, here are a few things you can try that might help you stop biting your nails.

Keep a Mani Kit With You at All Times

Jagged edges, hangnails and dangling bits of skin on the nails are all too inviting to nail biters, so as soon as you spot them, get at them with real tools instead of your teeth. A miniature manicure kit can be your best friend when it comes to ending nail-biting. Many include a set of nail clippers, tiny scissors, a file, tweezers and a rounded instrument for going under your nails, so you'll be prepared for any situation.

When your nails look perfect, you'll be less inclined to bite them in an attempt to smooth out imperfections. We also recommend clipping your nails short so there's nothing left to bite, but we understand if you're aiming for long, luxurious nails, instead.


(via Shutterstock)


Stay Moisturized

Since we're all doing a lot of hand-washing right about now, your hands might be left feeling dry and cracked, and your fingers will thank you for moisturizing. Treat yourself with your favorite yummy-smelling lotion, and by applying creams to your nails. Chances are, the fragrance of your lotion and nail cream will make your stop short of actually biting your nails if you absently bring your nails to your face. If not, the icky taste of lotion on your tongue might be enough to stop you in your tracks.


Practice Mindfulness

While it's not practical to be mindful 100% of the time, being more aware of your actions, and the things that trigger them, will prevent nail-biting as an automatic response. When you're present, you'll start recognizing the situations that make you want to bite your nails, and you'll have more power over those instances by willfully choosing not to do so. Do you bite your nails when you're stressed, bored or upset?

If and when you do catch yourself mindlessly biting your nails, stop, forgive yourself, and then try to get back to your mindful state. You may also want to take up a hands-on activity. After all, when your hands are busy, you won't be thinking about biting your nails—and you wouldn't have access to them even if you did.


(via Shutterstock)


Consider a Preventative Mani

For many people, having a nice set of manicured nails is the perfect preventative measure against nail-biting. When their nails look beautiful, they feel extra guilty about messing with them, and take extra steps not to bite. But for others, that fresh, smooth coat of paint can inspire them to nibble and pick at their nails even more—especially the second they start chipping.

If you use traditional nail polish, break out the polish remover and start cleansing those nails as soon as the paint starts peeling away so you're not tempted to bite the rest of the polish away. For more intensive treatments, like gels, make sure you have the right products at home to remove them properly, as peeling them from your nails incorrectly can cause extra damage.


(via Shutterstock)


Make Them Taste Awful

If all else fails, go for the big guns with a nail product that's designed specifically to prevent nail-biting. Many nail polish companies make special enamels that go on clear (so no picking will be involved), but are also filled with a non-toxic yet nasty taste to repulse you as soon as your nails get near your mouth.


Want to grow out your nails once you stop biting? Click HERE for tips on growing longer, healthier nails.