22 Fast and Easy Ways to Stop Biting Your Nails

how to stop biting your  nails

Do your nails look like this? Read on....

Nail biting is a habit that can be difficult to give up (like a lot of habits) but there are loads of things you can do to help you stop biting your nails so that you can truly have hands and nails you can be proud of.

You don’t need to follow all 22 tips here to have beautiful nails. Just experiment a bit and pick a few nail biting tips that resonate with you, then give them your best shot. You can see which ones worked for me in the box below but the best way for you to stop nail biting may very well be different.


Motivate Yourself

Nail biting is actually more serious than you might think and you need to understand what is at stake if you don’t give up your habit. It’s not just a case of having unsightly bitten nails that look awful and put people off (though surely that is enough to make you ready to quit biting), it may also affect your health.

There is a serious threat of infection from nail biting – germs from your fingers and nails are easily spread to your mouth and into your system and germs from your mouth can lead to nail infections and the spread of nail fungi – nice. Though you may have good hand washing habits, anything you touch after washing and before putting your fingers in your mouth could infect you with all kinds of viruses.. . and the more you nibble the worse it is.

Because nail biting can be a sign of an underlying mental condition, having bitten nails can make you look as if you need medication or at the very least that you have no self-discipline or respect. Is that really the image you want to portray to the world? (If you suspect that you actually need nail biting as a coping strategy, with high anxiety or compulsive behavior as the cause, it’s time to see your doctor, for help with the underlying condition).


Make Up Your Mind To Stop

Until you have made a positive decision to do everything you can to stop nail biting, you will just carry on with your habit. It has to be a decision with some force behind it and not just a desire. Wishing you could stop is not the same as doing something about it.

What cured My Nail Biting
I’ve always had a tendency to sit with one hand in my mouth and take the occasional nibble when at the PC and that was having a serious effect on the nails of one hand given that I sit at the PC all day.
My cure came from

  1. deciding enough was enough. I wanted nice nails!
  2. having a wedding to go to (and my niece was getting married in a 14th century castle – had to look my best for that!)
  3. starting to look after my nails properly, like I really cared about them – hand cream, regular filing, painting them with Sally Hansen Diamond Strength hardener every 2 days – and topping that with nasty foul tasting Stop ‘n’ Grow
  4. using nail color which made my nails more visible as they hovered near my mouth
  5. Being proud of myself as they grew to a length where nail polish even looked good. I’ve never looked back ๐Ÿ™‚

Aim for a Special Occasion

Have an occasion in your mind where you will appear with beautifully manicured nails and feel 100% proud of your hands. Spend some some visualizing yourself there with your great looking nails and remind yourself of that picture whenever you have the urge to bite. Alternatively, book a professional manicure in a luxury spa a few weeks ahead and keep reminding yourself how ashamed you will be to turn up with bitten nails.


Start Taking Care of Your Hands and Nails

By starting to care for your hands and nails you give your subconscious the idea that they are worth caring about and you will be more reluctant to damage something that you are also lavishing care on.

Use hand cream after washing your hands and rub it into your cuticles. Keeping the skin healthy around your nails can help prevent little tears in the cuticles and skin around the nails which can lead to biting.

Also, give yourself a weekly manicure where you focus on your hands and nails for at least 15 minutes. There will be no escaping from the results of bitten nails or pretending that you don’t bite any more if you see the evidence in front of you. And caring for them will make you want to stop biting even more to see the improvement each week.


Deal With Jagged Edges Fast

In my nail biting days, if I had a jagged nail it would irritate me so much that I could easily nibble the nail until there was not much left of it. The solution? Always carry an emery board around with you in your purse or pocket so you can deal quickly with the rough edges.


Wear Pretty Nail Polish

If you have nail polish on, nails look a lot more unsightly if they are bitten, so it may help you resist the urge to start nibbling. Also, the color of the polish may just alert you when your nails move towards your mouth. Don’t wear anything too striking on them though as it will only draw attention to your nibbled fingers. Save that as a reward for when you manage to grow your nails.


Bitter Taste

Mavala StopThere are a few creams available like Omega-3 Control It that can really help put you off biting. They taste pretty awful and are a reminder of what you are doing every time you put your fingers in your mouth. I’ve used a similar bitter lotion called Stop ‘n’ Grow but the creams can also nourish your nails and cuticles as well as help you quit biting. You can find and compare th various products available to help quit nail biting (including Omega 3, Mavala Stop, Develop10 Bite Ender and Thum here on Amazon None of them are very expensive and they are well worth the little they cost.

You still need to employ willpower as well however – otherwise if you keep biting it appears you can get used to the flavor (though I’m not sure how anyone can do that remembering my experience of the foul tasting stuff).

Be careful not to relapse too when you stop using it, but at that point you should be so proud of your nails, you’ll never want to nibble again.

An alternative to the commercial products is to use nail polish remover which has an equally bad taste though it’s probably not good for you and it’s not much use if you want to have polish on your nails! Soap under the nails works though. You’ll never want to get a taste of that again.


Painful Twang

There’s another kind of mild aversion therapy that is often recommended and that is having a rubber band around your wrist and when you catch yourself biting your nails giving it a twang so you get a mildly painful sensation. Not my favorite cure I must admit – rubber bands are not a fashion item.


Ask For Help From Friends and Family

Enlist the support of your friends and family and ask them to remind you if they catch you with your fingers in your mouth. It will get pretty annoying to be told at first but you will, at least, realize how much you bite.


Pay a Forfeit

Reinforce your motivation by agreeing to pay a dollar to charity every time your family and friends catch you. And pay a dollar yourself into the fund every time you find yourself nibbling when you are on your own.


Find the Pattern

By having a a lot of reminders that you are biting, (either by tasting the bitter substance you put on your nails or by having people telling you off for nail biting), you should get a chance to identify, the kind of situations that makes you indulge in your unwanted habit.

You can then look for alternative ways of dealing with whatever your trigger point is – whether it is anxiety about a particular situation, boredom or being alone or whatever.


Take A Picture

When you decide to stop biting your nails, have someone take a close up “before” picture of your hands. It can be quite a shock to see this. Even though you see your hands all day, to have them captured in their awfulness when you are used to seeing the pictures of hand models and well-groomed stars can be enough to keep you motivated. Once you manage to grow your nails, it can be all too easy to start your old habit again. Let the picture then serve as a reminder of what not to do.


Focus On One

If you find it very difficult to stop biting, first of all just promise yourself to leave one nail unbitten. Look after that nail until it looks good. Then tell yourself how all your nails could look like that. Quit your nail biting habit one nail at a time if you have to!



Because nail biting is an unconscious habit, a great way to put a stop to it is by using the power of your subconscious through hypnotherapy. You could visit a hypnotherapist or use a more cost effective hypnosis audio from a company like Hypnosis Downloads. See their low cost nail biting audio download


Keep Busy

If you are always busy doing something you will not be so tempted to chew. For example, instead of just watching TV, try some kind of needlecraft such as tapestry or take up knitting so that you can keep your hands busy while you view. Even squeezing a stress ball can help.

Hobbies like gardening, DIY and cooking mean that your hands will be too messy to nibble at. Even hobbies like dancing, skating or running where you would think your hands would not be involved too much require your arms for balance and there’s no way you can dance a tango while chewing your nails.

Also all that exercise is great for burning off the nervous energy that can lead you to start biting.


Keep Your Mouth Busy

You have to be careful about this one because it is no good having lovely nails but gaining a ton in weight. Sugar free gum or crunchy carrot sticks may be good options though to take away the urge to bite your nails. Or kiss your partner – no need for nail biting there either, I hope ๐Ÿ™‚


Take Supplements

Take a food supplement designed to boost the strength of your nails. Anything you can do that is positive for your nails means that you are less likely to bite them because you are actually caring for them every day instead of allowing yourself to damage them.



As it is often nervous tension (whatever the cause) that makes you bite your nails, it’s important to find ways to relax. You can do this through aerobic exercise or something more soothing like yoga or meditation. It will do you good in more ways than just helping you grow your nails.


Stop as Soon as You Start

As soon as you catch yourself biting your nails, don’t think that you’ve failed so you might as well carry on. Stop right there and save as much of your nail as you can from being nibbled away. Eventually you’ll catch yourself sooner and sooner until you’ll eventually stop before your fingers reach your mouth.


Wear “Training” Gloves

thin rubber gloveThis might seem like a bit of a silly solution but it is effective if you make yourself do it.

Simply wear gloves at home!

Any kind of gloves will do but you will probably find that really thin well-fitting rubber gloves allow you to do anything you might want to do like cooking, writing, typing or reading (turning pages is easy wearing those!)

Even if you wear these gloves for an hour a day you’ll be starting to train yourself not to bite as you can’t bite your nails through the gloves.

Also you can apply a thick layer hand cream before you put on the gloves and give your hands a treat at the same time.

You can buy these gloves in packs of 100 (100 should be enough!) for next to nothing here


Find A Replacement Habit

Find a little habit to fall into when you catch yourself about to gnaw on your nails – something easy to do anywhere like clasp your hands and look at your fingernails, put your hands in your pocket and play with a “lucky” penny or twiddle with a lock of hair – all better than nibbling.


Try Acrylic nails

If you get a professional manicure with artificial nails, your natural nails will not be accessible to bite and will grow naturally under the acrylics. They are not great for the condition of your nails but neither is biting. Once you have cured yourself of your habit you can work on boosting the look an strength of your natural nails.

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4 Responses to “22 Fast and Easy Ways to Stop Biting Your Nails”

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  1. alyssa says:

    Ive been biting my nails since I was about 4 and this has been going on for 8 years and it is really hard to stop!!!!! My mom tells me she will take me and my best friend out to get our nails painted at the mall if i leg them grow but that doesn’t even help. Do you have any other ideas? Thank you so much! !!!

  2. Crystal says:

    I’ve been trying to stop biting my nails. I just can’t focus. I’m telling myself to stop biting my nails but I just continue biting my nails.

  3. BT says:

    I worry, anxious and before I know it my fingers are in my mouth. I don’t do it consciously its a unconscious thing. What can I do to break this nervous tick? Have had it all my life

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