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15 Practical Tips To Help You Quit Biting Your Nails

From people who've managed to quit the habit.

We asked the BuzzFeed Community for their tips to quit nail biting. Here are some of the most popular responses...

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1. Follow nail artists on Instagram or Youtube for inspiration.

2. It takes a long time to break a habit, so take things in stages.

"I was a thumb sucker from infancy, and when my parents finally broke me of that at age 5, I immediately transferred over to nail biting. I would bite every nail down to the quick, so they would literally bleed on top from how short they were. When I went to get acrylics for my wedding, my nail lady had a really hard time, because my nailbeds were sunken in because of how short they were. This is just to give you an idea of the severity of my habit, and the damage I did to myself. I managed to get the acrylics, with a lot of hard work from her. If I had acrylics on, I wouldn't bite, but when I could no longer afford them, then I was back to biting, and even worse than before, because of how thin/damaged the acrylics made them.

My prompt for biting was the jagged edges, and they could never grow out, because every time they'd start, there'd be an edge I could feel, and zonk, there I would go.

So, on to the cure! I decided I would bite all of my nails except my left pinky nail. It took several months, but it finally grew out, and I could file it, and keep it nice. Then I added my left ring finger. I continued one finger at a time, for probably close to a year, when I was down to just my right index and thumb, and did both of those at once. It's been 10 years, and I haven't bitten since!" – AmyKatscher

3. Use cheap press-on nails to help your nail heal and grow.

"I began by putting on those cheap glue-on nails! They stay on for about a week, and after that my nails had a free edge that I felt guilty about biting." culturedclarinetist

Buy these on Amazon, £5.99

4. Use a yucky-tasting treatment like Mavala Stop.

"After 20 years nail biting and numerous attempts – liquids, varnishes, old wives' tales – this finally worked! See before and after (two months' progress). Highly recommended." – PGD Dondos

"Mavala stop is really great." – jacy

"Alcohol gel, when I notice I'm biting I use it and it tastes bad, but also bye bye germs." – vtor

Get it on Amazon, £4.75

5. Or invest in a long-lasting manicure.

"Gotta love acrylics, the only thing that protect (and probably damage) my nails from myself!" – tulsit

"I tried multiple things such as using nail polish that tastes gross, but it didn't stop me. After 18 years, I got acrylics put on and kept them on for weeks. Biting them was in vain. After I removed them, I picked one finger I was allowed to bite on and eventually I stopped all together. I haven't bitten my nails in over 2 years!" – Lindsey

"I started getting my nails done with Shellac and who wants to bite pretty nails? I now have nice long natural nails and get compliments all of the time. I am however now obsessed with my nail file to get my nails in the perfect shape." – megan

6. Find a combination of methods that works for you.

"A mix of press on nails, filing, and crocheting. I spent nearly 2 decades trying to kick the habit with methods like hot sauce and that god awful stop the bite stuff but nothing worked until I picked up crochet because that kept my hands busy. The press ons were a way to let them strengthen and filing is how I maintain. I've been bite free for a year and a half and I'm so proud of myself." – steffanies

7. Use the impulse to bite as a chance to take care of your nails instead.

Whenever I want to bite or pick at my nails, I apply some jojoba nail oil instead – kim

Get it on Amazon, £9.99

8. Buy yourself a just-because gift as positive reinforcement.

"I know what has been helping me is positive reinforcement. Basically every time I go a week without biting my nails I buy a small something I want and that's been going pretty good so far." – eleanorc

Here's some ideas to get you started.

9. Try a mid-way method, like using a nail clipper or a file.

"A nail clipper! I used to bite my nails and the skin around them till they bled. As soon as they grew back I'd bite them again. Any loose bit of skin or slightly longer or jagged bit of nail would immediately get the bite treatment and end up making things worse - until I got introduced to clippers. Now I keep a pair in my pocket at all times and as soon as there's a ragged bit of skin or nail I just trim it off straight away so there's no temptation to bite or pick at it. It works so well for me that I can actually grow my nails to a decent length now that I can cut them with scissors, and when I finally did my mum honoured a bet she made with me as a kid and paid me a dollar for every nail I could cut." – johnnys

"I always carried a nail file with me, so if there was a raggedy bit of my nail annoying me I could file that tiny bit down rather than bite it and make it worse." – nicola

10. Try using a fidget toy to keep your hands busy.

"A fidget toy! I realized I would bite my nails when I was distracted or bored, especially in class. Then it occurred to me that I just need something to keep my hands busy, so i ordered a fidget cube on amazon. Best $4 I've ever spent! I started using it around the beginning of the year and I've only "relapsed" once. It also helps to keep my nails nice, so I file them regularly and I paint them myself. Might not be as nice as a professional manicure, but it's definitely cheaper, and I'm less likely to pick the nail polish off if I put it on myself." – angelnyc

Get this one on Amazon for £1.80

11. Use something like thinking putty to fidget with.

"Honestly I play with Silly Putty while I'm nervous and it REALLY helps. Not only does it give you something to fidget with but the smell is pretty distinct so if you (like me) don't always notice when you start biting your nails then it is an extra sensory-alert that you are doing something you told yourself you wouldn't (plus it tastes gross!)" – snowanwhite

Get it on Amazon, £13.99

12. Realise there's a reason you bite your nails, and take it easy on yourself.

I was a terrible nail biter for over 20 years, I'm not very old so that's honestly most of my life, I finally decided I needed to stop, and I've been bite free for about 2 years now, for me it was 2 steps:

1. Get to the root of why I bite. For me it was a nervous habit, I had a trauma as a young girl so I developed this bad habit to cope with anxiety.

2. Find alternate things to do / deterrents. I purchased a worry stone and a spinner ring and when I got nervous I'd either rub the stone or spin the ring instead of bite, I'd also chew gum (I still use the ring to this day) as an extra step I paid for a full set of acrylics, I literally cannot bite those, I kept them up for a few months until I felt confident I wouldn't bite if they were gone.

Honestly I still get the urge sometimes and I've even caight myself getting ready to bite in stressful situations, but that spinner ring has really changed my life, and there's so many options, I even found a surgical steel one for those allergic to certain metals! – Caitlin Lindberg

13. Try out a goal-tracking app like Habitica.


"I used the Habitica app. It's like a role-playing game that helps you establish good habits or quit bad ones by awarding in-game rewards for positive actions, and 'damage points' for negative ones. Fun and easy – the game format put less pressure on me." – stevedallape

14. Stick something else in your mouth – like a lollipop.

Dum Dum lollipops. Every time I would catch myself biting, I would grab one, and it managed to curb my oral fixation. It has also helped me quit smoking. – lalaee

Get 200 Chupa Chups for £24.99 on Amazon

15. Get a job where you get your hands dirty!

"Start a job working at a hospital! Trust me the things you deal with (even if you wash your hands!) you don't want to put your hands anywhere near your mouth! 19 years of biting every solution tried – 1 month in a hospital job and my nails are longer than ever!" – Lauren Julliette Knott ·