Chronicles of a Nail Biter

Do you bite your nails?

I’ve been either biting mine or trying to not bite mine for as long as I can remember. In fact, one of my earliest memories as a kid is of my mother telling me that if I kept biting my nails and swallowing them, I would get appendicitis and die.

27 years later I’m still here and I’m still biting my nails, so I guess that backfired on you mom.

It never really bothered me that bit my nails, it was such a habit that I never considered it a problem. Sure, my fingers hurt sometimes to the point that I couldn’t type, or yeah I’d be sitting in class or in public somewhere and randomly start bleeding everywhere, but it never seemed like a big deal to me.

Until a boy came along (how all horribly stupid stories begin).

And let me be clear, this wasn’t just any boy– this was a beautiful, well-dressed, career-oriented, Drake-looking mother f*&!er who swept me off my feet.

Two months later he ghosted me and life went on, but before that he managed to get in one small sentence that has been stuck in my head ever since, “Yeah my brother bites his nails and his hands look like yours, like a dog chewed on them.”

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In the end, not a huge loss on my end, but still–why all of a sudden did I care about my nails? So much so that I started making biweekly trips to my neighborhood nail salon (Creme De La Creme Nails on Broadway–Angie is the BEST) to get acrylics so I wouldn’t have to look at my gnarly, chewed nails and bitten cuticles?

I don’t really have an answer to that question, though I sometimes imagine what I would do if real-Drake told me to get my nails done and the answer is obvious (absolutely, what color, what shape, how long? See you in Miami!). My ego isn’t so huge that I couldn’t see where he was coming from, my fingers were red and sore and puffy and mostly covered in open woulds, he just didn’t have to say it.

Either way, I decided this was an easy fix and no one, particularly no dude, would ever be able to say something stupid about my nails again. Off to the salon I went.

After my bout with acrlyics that lasted for about a year, I got them removed and I was disgusted by what I saw. Poor, brittle yucky nails that hadn’t seen the light of day. So I made a committment to myself– no more harming these babies, I need to start taking care of them.

It has been an uphill battle. My job is stressful, and when I’m stressed I bite and I pick. I’m a pretty antsy/fidgety person, so if I don’t have something to play with, I absentmindedly start picking my nails. And we’re not just talking the actual nail, but the skin around it and the cuticles as well. They (who? I don’t know I read it somewhere) also say that people who futz with their nails are perfectionists, and if I needed any more validation that that’s true about me, I’ve gotten it now.

One slightly chipped nail, one tiny little piece of skin sticking out, one slightly ripped cuticle, and that sucker is done for.

In fact, I’ve gotten much better at not biting/picking my nails. Now the struggle is to stop pestering the skin around them. And I’ve tried everything, including that disgusting oil you put on your fingers to deter you from putting your fingers in your mouth. I found an easy solution to that though, just stop putting it on.

Chronicles of a Nail Biter Lush Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter

So the struggle continues, but I have made a point to get better at painting my nails at home since when they’re painted I’m far less inclined to ruin them. They stay painted and I’ve even started moisturizing to keep them looking nice (I know this part is a no-brainer but when you bite your nails your whole life, moisturizing them isn’t really part of the picture). 

Hands down (pun pun pun) my favorite hand moisturier is Lush’s Lemony Flutter– I use it on my hands and feet every night before bed and it smells amazing.

As a self-proclaimed style-minimalist, I’ve fallen in love with nude nail polish–the nude that exactly matches your skin tone. My friend found the perfect shade for me at a nail salon in Harlem one day, Essie’s Brides To Be. I loved it instantly and it was the perfect sheer-pinky beige. Unfortunately I discovered this color a season or two too late–I couldn’t find it anywhere! I went around trying other nude shades, but none of them complimented my skin tone the way Brides To Be did. So in came the art school skills, color theory 101. 

I took a swatch of the color and lined it up against every single bottle of nail polish in any and every drugstore I happened to walk by. One day, in a Rite Aid on the upper east side, I managed to find the same exact color, Sally Hansen’s Salon Manicure in Camelflage, but it was more opaque than my beloved Essie color. I took it and mixed it half & half with some clear nail polish and was ecstatic, not only because it was the perfect opacity, but because I was smart enough to figure it out in the first place.

Chronicles of a Nail Biter Sally Hansen Camelflage Manicure

Now that I have my go-to, every day color, I just need to keep reminding and catching myself every time I go to bite or pick. I even added a probably-too-big sparkle so that any time I even look at my fingers it’s like a probably-too-big “HEY CUT IT OUT” to my brain (also, I just think it’s pretty). 

‘Til next time! Make sure you follow the STILEDnyc Instagram! Link is over there —> somewhere.


One thought on “Chronicles of a Nail Biter

  1. Congrats on your journey towards no biting! I bit mine for the same time. Decided it wasn’t cute and went to go get acrylics–except the places I went wouldn’t do them because my nails were so bad. So I had to do it myself.


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