How to Stop Biting Your Nails, Trimming Your Cuticles, and 3 Other Bad Nail Habits

It makes me sad to say to it, but unfortunately, guys, we live in a world where we get judged by our fingernails. (Ha, autocorrect wanted to change that to ‘our fingernails judge us’; urgh, sometimes I feel like mine do.) Perfectly squoval – yep, a real thing – nail beds vs. nibbled upon, dirty tips say so much more about you and the state of your life than whatever next season bag/shoe/life accessory you spent your last (only) thou on.

But it’s pretty hard to get around life hiding your fingers in your pockets if your nails aren’t up to snuff, so I’m here to help you through it, one tip at a time. Behold:

You’re a chomper

No judgment – I’m a beauty writer but only just a reformed nail-biter. It’s an addiction, and fellow biters will know it takes everything you’ve got to keep your hand away from your mouth in any stressed/anxious/bored/hungry situation. And if you’re a true addict, those gross-tasting polishes don’t work. It’s a barricade you just bite on through. If you really want to kick it, commit to manis. Buy yourself a frequent salon card for the holidays and get there on the reg. Seeing my nails in their true presentable glory: glossy, polished and pretty, (and the way it made me feel so much more together in life) was the ONLY way I kicked it.

You trim your cuticles

So this one probably won’t be that noticeable to the naked nail judger, but, honestly, it’s just dumb. It’s skin, guys, if you cut it it’ll just grow back. Only probably stronger, thicker and longer. Vicious cycle stuff with the added potential benefit of infection. Buy yourself a tool and after the shower when the skin is softer, spend a few pushing the excess skin back.

You’re addicted to picking your polish off

You may also be a reformed biter. Or just super-bored. Trouble is, you’re also picking the top layer of your nail off, which leads to weaker nail beds, discoloration and chance of infection, as well. Our nails are made of keratin (a protein that also makes up hair) and repetitive strain to it over time (see also: acrylic nails — blech on so many levels) means nail polish won’t ever adhere properly.

Your gel habit is getting serious

Define serious habit, I hear you say. Shellac-ing on a special occasion is totally fine (encouraged, even. Go mad!) but, worryingly, the jury is still out on the dangers of continuous usage (say, every week over a year) of UV lamps on nails. It will break down the strength of your bed, or it may or may not give you skin cancer (further research is needed).

You skip the base coat, pretty much every time

Lazy you! That’s not cool. Are your nails yellowed? Dry? Cracked? Get a bit Ridgey? I don’t even need to say it, you know what you are doing wrong.