Subscribe   HEALERS // the podcast
February 26, 2015

How To Quit Biting Your Nails

9 Tips that can help you kick your nail biting habit ASAP. There are lots of reasons to not bite your nails, and appearances are just one of them. Nail biting can lead to jagged, torn nails as well as negatively effect the skin around the nail bed. Both of these can lead to infection. Chewing on nails can also negatively impact your teeth and bite (who knew!). Then there’s the fact that you’re putting your dirt hands in your mouth, and we won’t even go there. . .

If you’re someone who bites her nails, give them some TLC then try your very best to quit. A sweet friend of mine recently tackled her habit head-on and successfully quit. These are the tips that worked for her:

How to Quit Biting Your Nails

1. Invest in a nail file. Put one in every bag you own. When you chip a nail or have the urge to bite them, pull out your file. Better to file than to bite.

2. Chew sugar-free gum constantly for 3 weeks. After 3 weeks, ditch the gum and hopefully you’ll have ditched your nail biting habit, too.

3. If you’re really struggling, consider getting an acrylic manicure. No matter how short your nails, an experienced nail technician should be able to cover your nails with some acrylics and maybe even give you some tips. Make a concerted effort not to pick at or bite on the acrylics for several weeks, then get them removed and get a fresh manicure on your grown-out nails. This can help you get through the hardest part.

4. Ask for advice from everyone you know. More people than you think are nail biters and have probably tried to stop as well. You will probably get a ton of tips that you can put into action.

5. Try gel polish. If your nails are a bit longer, but you have a tendency to bite or pick at them, consider a gel or shellac mani. It will help naturally strengthen your nails which will help defend against your bad habits.

6. Wear a hair tie on your wrist. When you even think about biting your nails, snap your wrist with the hair tie. It will hurt at first, but pretty soon, you might start to associate nail biting with pain. Ouch!

7. Consider the source of your nail biting. It could be that you are biting your nails under stress or out of boredom. Try to identify the moments when you bite your nails so that you can occupy your hands (try a stress ball) or find a different stress reliever (perhaps a few minutes of meditation).

8. Offer yourself a reward. Is there something you’ve been pining after? Tell yourself that you can have it only if you don’t bite your nails for a whole month.

9. If your nail biting is so bad that you don’t feel that you can change it and you are causing permanent damage, consider reaching out to a therapist who may have experience with onychophagia, the medical term for nail biting associated with OCD.


  • Elizabeth Dehn
    Born and raised in Minnesota by surprisingly low-maintenance parents, beauty writer and lifestyle editor Elizabeth Dehn (aka Bets) spent her awkward years buying Mood lipstick and whipping up DIY face masks before founding Beauty Bets in 2009.
    read more
  • Instagram

    • WE'VE MOVED!

      Join our new virtual wellness community at and start healing with us.