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Fanatic Feedback – Reformed Nail Biters Unite!

By on June 18, 2009
in Fanatic Feedback with 48 Comments

On a recent post, reader Debbie suggested that I poll all of you to see who out there is a fellow reformed nail biter. Being that polish is what cured me of the nasty habit and spawned my love affair with nail color, I can’t believe I never thought of it earlier. Thanks so much for the suggestion Debbie!

So Fanatics, who use nibble on their nails before becoming obsessed with lacquer? Was regular manicures your cure or did something else do the trick? Share your rehab stories with the group!

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There Are 48 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Kelsey says:

    I used to bite my nails HORRIDLY for 21 years. When I say bad, I mean AWFUL. I would bite them until they bled and they were so short the skin grew over them. YUCK! So I went and got acrylic nails and kept those going for about a month, until I could not longer afford them, and when I took them off, my nails were longer and my urge to bite them were gone. I immediately put polish on them and got a manicure and its been a polish love affair ever since! =)

  2. Flavia says:

    I started biting my nails when I was 3 years old, stopped four times during my early adolescence thanks to sheer will power, but didn't own the tools to avoid breakage, so I frequently lost my inner battle and relapsed.
    A couple of years ago, after getting acrylics for my 18th birthday (they looked awful, I took them out within a month) I vowed to myself I'd stop for good.
    This didn't happen for another year, since my last year of high school was highly stressful, but once I passed my exam and could relax, I managed to grow my nails by putting on layers and layers of clear polish, and if I really had to do something with my mouth, I peeled them off instead of biting my nails. I know, it's nasty, but it worked.

    I now have discovered the joys of overseas shipping (I'm Italian) and proper nail care/products, and I'm fairly sure I'll never go back to biting again, unless my whole stash goes up in flames or something :).

  3. Anonymous says:

    Keeping a coat of polish on my nails at all times helped me quit.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I used to bite my nails from age 4 because I was so nervous and tense, even in kindergarden. When I was 12 or 13, people started noticing my chewed nails, and some of them were honest with me, saying my nails and hands looked ugly.This went on as long as till I turned 21. Something interesting happened after that: I got in relationship that made me feel important and beautiful. Around that time my mom also took me to nail salon for the first time in my life. So, I started with pale pink nails, and after 3 weeks my hands looked more or less decent. That's my story!

  5. Ava says:

    I was a horrible nail biter for years and years. The only thing that got me to stop was getting engaged! My (now husband) proposed and slipped a gorgeous diamond ring on my finger, and I was so embarrassed of my nubby nails that I stopped cold turkey right then and there. I knew people would be looking at my hands to see the ring, so I went in for once-a-week manicures until my wedding, and I've been maintaining them myself ever since (about 8 years now). I still pick at my cuticles and the skin around my nails when I'm super-stressed, but I haven't bitten a nail since my engagement day :)

  6. AllegraI says:

    I used to bite my nails in high school because I had to have short nails for water polo, as not to scratch the other team. I kept them super short and yucky until recently. I got a set of acrylics around Christmas time and I loved the length that I had when I took them off, but I hated the nasty ridges and weak nails. I kept on nail strengthener and got fairly regular manis, now I have nice nails and I have no urge to bite!!

  7. SEH says:

    i used to be a biiiiiiiiiig nail biter. except i wasn't as a child and i developed the habit as an adult! so for awhile i got acrylics to keep me from biting and i had those for almost a year and i loved them but then i couldn't find anywhere that could redo pink'/white acrylics in london. then i started rock climbing so nail polish wasn't really an option and i was still biting and then i sorta fell in love with nail polish and it cured the habit!

  8. euni says:

    Regular manicures for sure! It started with salon mani-pedis and morphed into a polish obsession early this year when I decided not to go pro (at least with manis) anymore. I wish I did it sooner… my nail beds are tiny from years of biting but they look great when they're grown to the tip ^^

  9. paiiige says:

    i've always bitten my nails. but when i got my first job after school (office admin, very boring with lots of free time!) i managed to break the habit–but only because i could spend all day filing and painting and growing out my nails.

    now i have to keep polish on my nails at all times or i will bite/pick at them. even when the polish gets chipped i'll attempt–soooo it's a good thing i am obsessed with painting a new colour as often as possible!

  10. Jeanne says:

    I started biting my fingernails in sixth grade and quit biting my senior year of high school. There were two factors in my quitting. One, I took an AP Psychology class, and we had an assignment to break a bad habit in a month and write a journal about it. I picked biting my nails, and so I kept my nails clipped short and polished to keep me from biting them.

    Then, about one week from the end of the project, I got braces (yes, senior year of high school, awesome). Since they were doing heavy-duty work on my teeth, it was painful to bite anything, especially my nails. And so that was what really did it!

  11. Mimi says:

    I've always been a biter…. my new nail polish obsession is helping because its easier to polish longer nails and most colors look better on longer nails… i had a relapse a few weeks ago when i went to a ranch for a few days- outdoor work chipped my polish and i said WTH they are ruined anyway and bit… oops. they are almost to the length i like them now though. i have bad splitting/peeling problems though so its hard to get all my nails one length :(

  12. Nosaby says:

    I bit my nails to the quick until my father finally divorced my stepmother when I was 17. Once she moved out, all my stress went poof! But I've always retained a problem in that if my nails get ragged or torn I would bite them off unless I had a file handy. Which I never did. I've done the acrylic thing a few times, always swearing never to do it again because of the damage. This time around I've found that keeping them polished prevents me from picking and/or nibbling at them.

  13. Phyrra says:

    Nail polish cured me, because I wanted my nails to look cute! I stopped biting and started painting a lot.

  14. Deb says:

    I was a nail biter too. I always loved polish, but I didn't wear it often. A few years ago, I realized that I didn't bite my nails if I kept them polished. I wore nail polish daily for weeks until I was confident I wouldn't bite them. By that time, my nails were so pretty, I didn't want to bite them. I also took up crocheting to keep my hands busy, so I wouldn't put them in my mouth.

  15. Susan says:

    Probably the oldest person here so here's my story! I bit my nails for many, many, many years – I'm old. So during my most of my life I worked in an office setting and grew them out. Then I cut myself badly on my thumb and they all broke… Next step acrylics. I bit those off too. So….. late last year I found nail blogs – Siobhan from the Nailphile graciously sent me "nibble no more" from Jessica and that has worked for now. I have lovely nails from reading all of these blogs and from reading MUA Nail Board and I'm loving it! My 19 year old daughter does my nails for me……………and I hope I'm reformed but …. keep your fingers crossed for me please!

  16. GS says:

    sadly I have to say that I´ve relapsed but I have to say that while my nails were unbitten and long (long: like 1/4")having polish on was what kept me from bitting or cutting them, the minute they were sans polish I´d find they´re so ugly and bite so when I finally decide to stop bitting I´ll never be witout nailpolish.

  17. Amira G. says:

    I was thirteen when I decided to stop biting my nails. It took me a couple of years to stop completely, but I've been clean for thirteen years now.
    I didn't use nail polish regularly until a few months ago, but now I'm addicted.

  18. hey there ... says:

    i used to nail bite!!

  19. Lisa:) says:

    I bit my nails till I was 16. I never wore polish cause it looks like crap on bitten nails. Then one day my sophomore year (hs) I came across a bottle of glow in the dark nail polish that I couldn't live w/out. I stopped biting my nails to use the polish. I haven't bitten them since and I've collected many more bottles of polish.

  20. Stephanie says:

    I bit my nails all my life until January of this year! I decided I was sick of it and bought Mavala Stop – a clear nail polish that tastes like bitter acid.. (it tastes much stronger and lasted much longer than the similar products I tried as a kid). Well, it worked and now I am addicted to buying polish!

  21. moonchaii says:

    I used to bite my nails, but I'm not sure how I stopped. It was never that bad, but I guess I just grew out of it? Well, part of it was that my sister pinched me whenever she caught me biting my nails. Now I just pick at them-heaven forbid there's even a microscopic split in my nails, because it will bother me, and I'll pick at untill, hey, half my nail is gone! Now I try and paint my nails regularly, and it is helping =]

  22. Anonymous says:

    I super-glued Lee Press-ons to my nails and even chewed through those for awhile! It gradually got less and less until I weaned myself off of biting and could grow my natural nails. I still chew once or twice a year when I'm really stressed but knowing it takes a month to look good again deters it most of the time. Wearing polish did help in intermittent stages.

  23. lucy says:

    i bit my nails so badly… i would bite them until my fingers ached, and then i'd put bandaids on them in an attempt to quit. i tried everything! then i went to rome on a trip, and i stopped biting my nails without even thinking about it b/c who wants to put their fingers in their mouth when you've been touching metro poles and stuff all day? then i got back and realized, and decided to keep it up :)

  24. queen frostine says:

    Former nail biter checking in! Started biting as a toddler, stopped at age 6-7 then inexplicably picked the habit back up in junior high and it continued into my 20s. Nail polish helped me kick my biting habit. I bit my nails to "groom" them (doing it with a file never felt as satisfying), and keeping them painted helped curb that urge as it's harder to spot nail flaws under polish. I knew this secret for years but I never painted my nails as I was hopeless at doing my own nails. I finally just decided to start painting them and keeping them painted, lack of skillz be damned, in an attempt to break my nail biting habit. It payed off, both in improving my polishing skills and kicking the habit. The first few months were rough and I got the urge to chew even in the short amount of time they were bare during polish changes, but in September it'll be three years since I stopped! I get compliments about the state of my nails constantly now, which is great, but compulsively buy polish, which is bad. ;)

  25. Miss Yaya says:

    I have to admit I still bite sometimes – It's more of I bite to even out the nail if it breaks AND if I'm stressed and that's the only thing I have to destroy – sounds like a serial killer lmao

  26. Jill @ BeautyTicket.com says:

    I used to chew my nails until they bled. My dad offered to pay me $25 a week when I was a kid to stop, and I kept biting them. (*sigh*) It wasn't until college that I finally stopped after my first set of fake nails.

    I don't do fake nails anymore, but I don't bite my nails either. Too addicted to nail polish and need a place to put it :)

  27. Tiger says:

    I remember starting to bite my nails just because, but I can't remember when that was though… Probably first grade, 6 yrs old. My dad kept telling me to stop, giving me "Stopp&Väx" (Stop and grow in Swedish) but I just got used to the horrible taste and kept biting. In eighth grade (13 yrs old) I was so fed up with my ugly nails so I bought two bottles of nail polish, neon pink and shimmery turquoise (those colors are me in a nutshell). The polish kept me from biting, cause who wants a load of polish in their mouth? And of course I didn't want to bite my now beautiful nails. Well, I relapsed about five times in 1½ yrs, but now I have managed to quit all together and I am now proclaimed the polish fanatic among my friends and classmates. I have about 85 bottles so in the nail polish blog world it isn't much, but for a 16-year-old in Sweden like me, that's a lot!

  28. sparklicous says:

    yeah i used to bite my nails until i was about 20. started to cut back on the biting when i was about 16 because of nail varnish. i actually wore the enamel off my teeth and killed the nerve in my front tooth that i used to bite with so my 2 front teeth don't meet any more so i can't bite my nails anymore, and i'm just waiting for the dead nerve to turn black and fall out. a lovely story i'm sure you can agree.

  29. Denise says:

    I used to bite mine for years until I woke up one day, realised that I must've (somehow!) left them alone for a while, and they were starting to grow. Like many others here, I then realised how ugly my hands had become and started pampering them! The one problem I still have is that where I used to bite and pick at the skin around my nails, its still red and it doesn't ever seem to go. If anyone has any suggestions on how to make it fade, I'd appreciate it!

  30. Michelle says:

    I bit my nails mercilessly right up through high school – even with polish on.

    I started being able to go a few months at a time throughout college and just after — but I would still bite my polish off and chew at them when really stressed. Then, finally, 3-4 years post-college, I stopped it for good because I was planning a wedding and I wanted nice nails. I kept them manicured and haven't bitten them once since 2006.

  31. max.fabulous says:

    i stopped biting my nails about 20 years ago – by starting to crack my knuckles instead. bad idea, i know but at least my nails look awesome lol.
    funny thing is i have never lost the urge to bite; my nails are just too strong to bite through now. but i have to make sure i fix snags as soon as possible otherwise i will gnaw away at them until there's no nail left

  32. DancesWithHooves says:

    I am a reformed nail biter myself! I bit mine for the first 21 years of my life. About two years ago my mom started doing her nails regularly and I was so fascinated by how pretty it looked that I gave it a go, having tried everything BUT nail polish in the past to get me to quit. Two years later and I do not bite my nails any more although I do have a nail polish obsession now!

  33. may1flower says:

    I have been a nail biter as long as I can remember. I have done the acrylics, nail strengtheners, keeping them constantly painted. However, when I get bored or stressed that is when the magic begins. I love nail polish so much! So I am going to try the nail strengthener & nail polish trick once again. I am going for the gold! Mind over matter, mind over matter. There are way too many cool colors out to miss out on!

  34. Anonymous says:

    ugh. i used to bite my nails everyday, all day until the summer before 7th grade. then i got braces, and it was impossible to bite my nails without drawing blood. i didnt get into nail polish until the following summer, and my longer nails were perfect for it!

  35. Debbie says:

    Wow!! If you could have seen my face when I logged on for my daily fix all of things nails and saw todays Fanatic Feedback – chin, desk, whack!! Freaked actually! Last night I sat and gave myself a big ole pre-holiday mani and pedi and even the hideous thumbs look better for a bit of love. The only way I can keep from chewing is by wearing polish and I had a feeling fellow obsessives would be "recovering" biters! Wow again!

  36. Anonymous says:

    russ said
    I Too used to bite my nails , sometimes till their bled , girls usedto pick me up ,and say your nails are disgusting, i tried putting that clear stuff on my nails with a bitter taste, but i t didnt work ,So i thought if i spend money on manicures then maybe i would look after them , at first i went for a buff, then the clear ,then i thought if i can have clear then why not a colour, so i opted for a sally hansen silver metallic , which looks great, now all i get from people is how good my nails look.

  37. Cat says:

    I never bit my nails, I ripped. Ripped them down until they bled. My mom even tied mittens on my hands when I was little to make me stop! Six years ago, I took a position where I was on news segments promoting various products. First time I saw what my nails looked like on camera, I got acrylics. I had acrylics for five years, they came off last summer and I haven't torn once. I don't dare miss my manicure appointment – without polish I'm afraid I'll start tearing into them!

  38. sage1 says:

    Oh my!
    I was addicted to nail biting as a young teen, (sigh.. the pressures of adolescence!)
    My parents despaired of my ever being presentable!
    A neighbor, Glays, who was a beauty consultant for a big store took me aside and gave me three tips to stopping the biting habit:
    1. Get inexpensive emery boards and every day file down any jaggedly growth. Even nails grow properly.
    2. Get a nail clipper, and snip off any ragged cuticles.. keep the nail area smooth.
    3. Every evening put on a coat of nail polish.. I used clear until my cuticles and nails were someone unform and decent looking.
    Extra tip: carry inexpensive hand cream, and use it every time you wash your hands.

    This worked then, and it works now. When I used to teach junior high, the young girls would ask me how to grow their nails. I told them it wasn't about long nails, but healthy nails. And I passed on the handcare tips from my neighbor Gladys.

    I still use her tips today, but I rarely use clear polish. Having lovely colored, neat nails is a sign of good grooming, and tells the world you care!

    But I have such a stash of polishes! Yikes. I traded one addiction for another!

  39. ritadebora says:

    I used to bite my nails until I was 15-16 years old. My mother tried anything with me, for me to stop this bad habit. This was until I decided it was time to put an end to it and decided to polish my nails. Seeing that my nails would grow nice and strong and people comment how nice they looked and how jelous they were because theirs would break easily. I never went back to bitting.

  40. west2mw says:

    My problem isn't so much biting my nails, it's that I have a terrible habit of peeling polish off when a little bit starts peeling. I'm getting somewhat better lately since I've been taking calcium tablets regularly & my nails got a little stronger.

  41. Anonymous says:

    I still have tons of problems with nail biting. Recently I've begun to take Biotin (vitamin B supplement) to grow out my hair; Biotin also does loads for your nails to! So before I see any hair growth I have claws jetting from my fingers!

    BUT, BUT, BUT…I bite them off when I have to study or w/ever. Manicures and nice coats of trendy/classic color are the only thing that keep my teeth at bay!
    I haven't had a mani in forever. Need one, and the biting stops.

  42. Rachel says:

    I stopped 3 years ago out of sheer will power. Sick of my thumbs looking like the Grand Canyon and wearing band aids on my thumbs to work everyday to hide the mess. About 2 months ago, I started wearing polish and taking care of my nails. This has helped tremendously with not picking my cuticles or putting my fingernails near my mouth. I think I am getting less colds and viruses because of that.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Me too!!!
    I was a horrible nail biter…for 20+ years (ever since a little girl) and finally stopped when I bought a beautiful nail polish called "All The Berry Best" from OPI. I applied this to my nubbins and then thought how much nicer it would look if they were longer…and voila, my love of polish and normal nails began.

  44. RuBie says:

    I used to be a nail biter too! I probably started biting when I had the teeth to do so, and my mum used to put those anti-biting formulas on my fingers, I'd hate them, but still end up biting. The only time I stopped was the 2 years when I had braces in high school and a while after that, the other time's when I decided I should stop biting like a year or so ago. Back then I still wasn't into nail polish (coz my nails have always been way too short), and occasionally when I got stressed I'd fall back into this bad habit again. Ever since I fell in love with polish, I never felt I wanted / needed to bite anymore. Nail polish really saved me! :P

  45. Caitlan says:

    I have never bitten my nails except to remove the broken portion of a nail when camping or something. And when I have to do that it feels terrible. I could for sure never do that on a daily basis as a habit.

  46. Catherine says:

    I think it's absolutely true! Keeping a fresh coat on my nails stopped me from biting them. Still trying to stop but it's gotten much better.

  47. juvenescent says:

    I was also a full-time nail/skin biter. (A stress reliever) Nail polish cured that for me. I still have my moments, but with a few swipes of lacquer, I recover quickly.

  48. Melissa says:

    Hi guys!

    Long time reader, first time poster. I really felt I needed to share not only because it is almost a year since I stopped biting, but so many of these stories are similar, it inspired me!

    I also started biting at the age of 7, and it was my vice all through grade and high school and even most of university. I finally stopped last summer at the age of 21 because I felt like I was becoming more of a legit woman and less of a girl, but my hands were still girl hands. I decided enough was enough and have since traded my manic obsession with biting for polishing. I only have about 25 polishes, but I only started a year ago!

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