6 Tips for Recovering Nail Biters: Ways to Kick the Habit and Grow Your Nails Out

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So I'll freely admit that I'm a recovering nail biter. After picking up the habit when I was a kid, I used to only be able to keep my nails long during the summer months (when I wasn't in school) since stress was usually a big trigger. I actually started out this blog as a nail blog but switched over more to makeup as my interests changed but also because I couldn't keep my nails looking nice consistently. 

Nail Biting Tips

I'm happy to say though that I'm slowly recovering from the habit. My right hand is still growing back (due to being right handed and having difficulty with peeling nails) but my left hand (pictured above wearing Zoya Rue) is looking long and fabulous. I know the change is being noticed because my dad actually asked me if I had gotten fake nails since he'd never seen me with such long nails before. I wanted to write this post today to give out my tips on how to control the habit and how to maintain your nails as they grow out.

Click thru to read my tips!

#1 | Keep your nails painted/manicured.

Maybe this is an obvious one but I found it most useful to consistently paint my nails and have my nails in good shape (through my own DIY manicures). This way, I felt more motivated to keep my nails looking good and dedicating time to doing my nails meant I was more inclined to not have to spend the time redoing them. If my nails chipped, I would make sure to do my nails by the end of the day to make sure I didn't start peeling or biting off the polish. The manicure part is important since it forces you to invest time in upkeep.

#2 | Invest in cuticle oils or balms to keep your nails and cuticles hydrated. 

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Dry cuticles and hangnails were my gateway trigger to biting nails. I would rationalize it by thinking "oh I'll just bite off the hangnail", then it'd be "oh well I'll just even out my nails", then it'd lead to me biting off the whole nail and ending up with sore fingers. My current favorite cuticle products are Sunny's Body Products' Intensive Cuticle Therapy (if you prefer cuticle oils) and Miracle Balm (if you prefer balms).

#3 | Carry a nail file with you. 

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If you do end up biting your nail, at least you can use the nail file to even out what's left so it'll help you not feel as enabled to "even it out" through continued biting. I prefer a glass nail file as opposed to a regular emery board and it's more eco-friendly. I am currently using a LaVaque nail file but the Mont Bleu glass files get a ton of love. Glass beats the typical emery boards so they're worth the investment.

#4 | Consider getting a gel polish manicure (NOT acrylic).

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Gel nail polishes like Harmony Gelish, IBD Just Gel, CND Shellac, etc are cured with UV or LED lights and can last two-three weeks on your nails. Originally you could only get them done in salons but many of the big nail polish brands offer at-home gel manicure kits. I currently a Red Carpet Manicure  kit that you can purchase at your local ULTA store. I recommend the kits that come with a UV or LED light, those dual-system polish systems that don't require a light don't compare. 

If you don't want to commit to a color for two weeks, you can just have the gel base coat and top coat done and apply regular polish over the gel. This way you have the strength of the base coat but can switch out the color (as long as you use a non acetone polish remover to remove the polish).

Do not get acrylics. Acrylics just wreck your nails during application and removal since there's so much sanding of your nails. You'll do more damage when getting acrylics so I highly suggest avoiding them. Don't cheat your way to longer nails.

#5 | Set a goal at the end.

Set a goal for yourself or even a prize. Maybe there's a polish you've been wanting to wear. Set the goal that you have to have a certain length of nails before you buy and wear the polish.

For me, I created a goal of having long oval nails. I was really inspired by Chalkboard Nails, who has the longest most enviable nail beds with a wonderful oval shape. After much diligence and shaping, I achieved the oval look but then became inspired by the stiletto nail shape (which requires even longer nails). 

#6 | Have a large break? Consider repairing with nail glue!

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As my nails started growing out, I became prone to breaks and tears because I wasn't really used to being careful with my nails. Of course my breaks would be a little high up on the nail and instead of filing all the way down, I repaired it with nail glue and a little nail powder. A lot of people prefer using silk wraps and that's a great option too.

I hope all these tips help you on your endeavor to grow your nails out. It's really rough to kick the habit but having grown out natural nails is so much better than having sore bitten fingers. I could also swear that everything looks fancier when your nails are pretty. 

Are you a recovering nail biter like me? Do you have any tips to share?


  1. I love Zoya Rue. It's one of my favorite shades. Your nails are gorgeous!

  2. #1 is how I kicked nail chewing, but now I've taken to peeling off the polish and the top layer of the nail in times of stress #womanproblems P.S. Love your mani.

  3. haha well at least peeling off the polish is better than biting them down!

  4. I am so glad I never got this habit! It sounds hard to stop!

  5. Great tips. I used to be a nail biter as a kid. I still peel off my polish. I also pick at my cuticles.

  6. I've never been a biter, but I'm a nail polish peeler!

  7. Great article and tips. I was cured of biting when I wore acrylics, back in the day. Couldn't bite my nails, fell out of the habit. LOL I still want to peel my polish, now and then, especially if I am wearing glitter or am feeling stressed. It's so bad for my nails!

  8. Oh Sunny's! How I am in love with Sunny's!

  9. I love the shape of your nails!!! I'm not a nail biter yet my nails remain abominable :-(

  10. As a recovered nail biter, I agree with all of these. I think keeping my nails manicured has been the biggest push to stop biting.

  11. Great tips! I need to be more vigilant with my nail care, particularly this Winter. SO dry =(

  12. Great post! I bit my nails for 13 years. The only thing that finally got me to stop is getting my tonsils out because it hurt to bite down on ANYTHING let alone my nails!

  13. I was never a nail biter, but I have lots of readers that are and love having posts like this to direct them to!

  14. I bit my nails for a little while when I was like 5... it didn't last long and my mom said I did it because my friends in school did. I've always had luck with my nails being strong and growing fast... so I'm lucky. Your nails... dang girl - rockin'

  15. This is a great post, I was a nail biter for years and years!

  16. I bit my nails for years! I had that horrible nail polish that tastes bad, and I still bit them!

  17. Impressive nails, especially for a former nail biter! I use gel polish (and silk wraps) to strengthen my nails, too. I'd never been able to grow out mine, because they split and peeled, and then I'd fuss with them until I tore them off! Now, they have some protection.

  18. I love your nails. Mine definitely dont grow like that.

  19. Great tip!!! I wasn't a biter but it took me a veryyyy long time to leave my cuticles alone!


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