Lessons I Wish I Knew: How to Stop Biting Your Nails

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How to stop biting your nails

As a nail-biter, I’ve tried out many different methods to try and break the habit. Some seemed to help (if only for a few weeks), but many flopped. I’ve doused my fingers in jalapeño pepper juice every morning, covered them in band-aids, and cringed at microscopic images of what I’ve been putting in my mouth, but nothing seemed to work.

However, after nine years of being a chronic nail-biter, I was finally able to quit my sophomore year of high school. In today’s post, I’ll be sharing my three best methods on how to stop biting your nails, as well as some stories about my experience with each one:

1. Press-On Nails

Acrylic nails

Product Information: Snowflakes — Etsy, Stripes — Etsy, American Flag — Urban Outfitters

This was one of the methods I constantly loved to try: if I couldn’t have long nails, I could at least glue on long nails.

The only downfall of this was the difficulty I had performing daily tasks – you’d be surprised how hard it can be to open a soda can or zip your jeans with super long nails. And, naturally, my fake nails seemed to always pop off at the most unfortunate times – especially at times when I didn’t notice. I would typically walk around at school with only eight nails intact.

However, this was, without doubt, one of the more painless habit-breaking methods I put myself through. The only issues I had to deal with were biting into plastic and the complexities of going about my day with extremely long nails. (Although, filing them down a bit would have definitely helped!) This was, overall, a successful method for me.

2. Nail Polish

Lessons i wish nail polish

Product Information: Left to Right — Essie, Essie, Deborah Lippman, OPI, and Nordstrom

Nail polish was a great preventative method to use (why would you want to ruin something so pretty?), but it can be taken to the next level by opting for a bad-tasting polish formulated especially for nail-biters.

Before you try this, let me tell you that it has been four years since I’ve stepped near any thing like this, and I still remember my first reaction to it. I picked up my Bite It bottle at CVS freshman year of high school, and I recall the directions said to repaint my nails with it twice a day to prevent the polish from wearing off. I was watching TV, and I involuntarily placed a finger in my mouth to bite. The taste was absolutely revolting; I wish I had gotten my reaction on video now.

Even though the taste is worse than you can imagine, this product actually works. I could see my growth daily, and since my nails weren’t covered by colored polish or acrylics, it was very motivating to be able to see short term results. Unfortunately, as I returned to swimming, my nail polish would instantly came off halfway through warm up, and I would leave the pool with completely bitten through nails. If it hadn’t been for that, I definitely think I would have gotten over my habit at that time.

3. Snapping Your Wrist with a Hair Tie

Lessons i wish hair ties

Product Information: Solid — Jane Tran, Tie Dye — Zappos, Trio — Splendid

This was the last method I tried, and I only had to try it once, since I have an extremely low pain tolerance. I wore a hair tie around my wrist and flicked it against my skin every time I caught myself biting. Similarly, you can do this with a rubber band, which would probably work better. This really did work for me – it was annoying at first, but over time, it did get me to kick the biting habit for good.

My friend actually regaled how he got over his nail biting several days ago, and I had to share it. He used the same concept, but made himself promise that he would slap himself in the face as hard as he could, despite what circumstance he was in. (Yes, I swear this is true.) He clearly remembers a moment while standing in front of the cashier during lunch and catching himself biting his nails. He smacked himself as hard as he could, and his cashier dropped his money everywhere in surprise. He got over his habit completely in two weeks.

While I definitely am not an advocate for my friend’s extreme measures, I do strongly believe that everyone has their own solutions that work, and this certainly worked for my friend. Luckily, I didn’t have to go to such extreme lengths to kick my nail biting habit – the hair elastic worked for me after a few weeks, and my nails have been happy ever since.


Did you also struggle with biting your nails? How did you get over it? Comment down below and let us know your thoughts!

4 thoughts on “Lessons I Wish I Knew: How to Stop Biting Your Nails”

  1. I used to wear press-on nails once in a while when I was a kid but they kept falling off and I looked like a goon. oh memories 😀

  2. The hair tie/elastic band methond is kind of creepy in my opinion… I used to know a couple of anorexic girls who would use this trick to control hunger, so I think that using self-inflicted pain to control urges is not really a sane way to deal with the problem.


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