How to stop biting your nails once and for all

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If you’re wondering how to stop biting your nails, good for you, we’re glad you’re here. We’ve basically all had a bad habit of biting our nails at some point, most of us in childhood. It’s a lot like thumb sucking, bedwetting, nose picking, etc., but nail biting is a habit that many of us carry on long after adolescence, and then we have to find a way to fix it. Another group of us may be past the nail biting stage, but continue to pick or nibble on hanging nails. But while there are tools, products, and practices that help prevent and treat toenails, treating a simple nail-biting habit takes a little more effort. We have a four-step plan to achieve this.

1. Keep everything neat

As a biter, you know that if there’s nothing to snack on, you just can’t feed the fix. This way, it can help to cut your nails really short – and keep them there with a nail file – so you can’t nibble on them in the first place. It defies the usual nail trimming standards we promote, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

It doesn’t mean cutting then until you suddenly expose too much skin under the nail bed or cause snags. Ideally, you can let the nails grow out long enough for a brighter sliver of white to appear at the tips, then trim just below.

2. Apply hairspray or polish

With nail polish finally becoming more popular among men, now is a good opportunity to get creative with your numbers. You can apply a layer of expressive color to the nails, which should make them much less appetizing to nibble on. That, or you can apply a clear coat of polish to the nails, which usually serves as a protective, shiny layer on top. He always protects here, except it’s your inner saboteur that the hairspray works against.

3. Pay for manicures

While a DIY manicure is a step above the standard cut, we always say it’s worth investing in regular professional work. By spending the half hour and the money, you give yourself an extra reason not biting your nails: Because Hey, you PAID for this manicure, and you’re not going to let the money go to waste! You might even ask them to apply that fresh coat of nail polish or hairspray, which they’ll do much more evenly than you could.

4. If all else fails, get bitter

This is where you pull out the big guns: bitter nail polish. It’s like giving yourself shock therapy. Adding in some negative consequences works: I overcame my own nail-biting habit in middle school by wearing a rubber band on my wrist and snapping it every time I caught myself chewing. But a better way to add some nail biting pain is to apply an intentionally bitter nail polish, which will trigger a twitch reaction every time you bring your fingers to your lips. They will also likely help you stop chewing nails. (You can even apply it over colored nail polish.)

Going through gq.com

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