Nail-biters Anonymous (12 Step program to beautiful nails )

by Alissa Hornbuckle

Did you know that nail-biting is the most common of the typical “nervous habits”? According to WebMD, about half of all children between the ages of 10 and 18 bite their nails at one time or another and this can continue through adulthood. Nail-biting is a nasty habit as many germs and viruses are lurking on your hands and nails (not to mention YOUR NAILS LOOK HORRIBLE!!!). You may need this 12 step program to break the habit. So, first we should probably address the causes of nail biting. What actually causes onychophagia (on-e-ka-fa-je) or nail-biting? Well, it can be many things including: stress, boredom, vitamin deficiency, or wanting to smooth out rough edges or uneven cuticles. Regardless of the cause, anyone can kick the habit…

Step 1:

Come to terms with the fact that you ARE a nail biter… and that people you know, as well as the complete strangers you come in contact with daily, notice your nubs and are more than likely grossed out by them.

 Step 2:

Make the decision to no longer bite your nails, and enlist the help of your friends, family, and co-workers to immediately tell you if they see you biting, since you may do it unconsciously.

 Step 3:

Find something else for your mouth. Keep some gum in your purse and lipstick or colored gloss on your lips. You won’t want to bite if you are already chewing on something else, and it will be even more difficult for you to bite your nails if you have a pretty pout you don’t want to mess up.

Step 4:

Take a multivitamin. Even if you do eat a well balanced diet, a multivitamin can replenish any minerals that may be lacking in your system like calcium.

 Step 5:

Keep a mini manicure set with you at all times. This would include clippers, nail file, cuticle trimmers, and lotion or cuticle oil. If you notice a hang nail or your nails are chipping/peeling as they grow out (and they definitely WILL) resort to the kit rather than your chompers. This will ensure that your nails will get proper treatment.

 Step 6:

Set small goals for yourself. Choose 2 nails per week to refuse biting. I think that the ring finger is easiest to get started with the thumbs being last. Once you see those nails start to grow, you will want the others to follow.

Picture courtesy of

Step 7:

Create a barrier. You can always put Band-Aids around the nails you don’t want to bite. You can also purchase a bitter tasting polish at your local beauty supply store to paint on your nails. This will remind you NOT to bite as soon as it touches your mouth because the taste is bad.

Step 8:

Don’t pick at your nails! Don’t trade one bad habit for another. If you find yourself wanting to pick at a chipped nail refer to Step 5.

Step 9:

Go fake. No one said that you can’t put on artificial nails (it’s not cheating). Acrylics are best because they are the most difficult to try to bite. The catch here is that unless you let your nails grow a bit before putting on the acrylics they might look a little strange at first, especially if you get the French tip acrylics.

Step 10:

Paint your nails or get a manicure. What looks just as bad as bitten nails??? Chipped polish!!! You are less likely to bite if your nails look good, and who doesn’t like to get pampered? You can ALWAYS get an inexpensive manicure at your local Empire Beauty School.

Step 11:

Go Viral! Many people have found that they are more likely to stick to their goals if they show off their progress on social media. Encouragement and compliments from your friends and family can help give you the push to stick with it.

Step 12:

Use your nails. I bet you didn’t realize how many uses your nails had. You will finally be able to open that container of salt or get your fingers under that soda can tab with ease. You can scratch your dog’s belly or your love’s back. Enjoy your new found nails and their uses. As with any program there is a chance of relapse, but if you are determined you can be rocking beautiful, bite-free nails in only a few weeks. Make sure you show off those beautiful nails once you have them. You earned it!

Have you been considering a career in beauty, or perhaps taking your nail technician skills to the next level? Empire Beauty School offers several Beauty Programs, including our Nail Technology Program which will train you in all sorts of nail care and art expertise, including manicuring and pedicuring, spa manicuring and pedicuring, gel manicuring, acrylics, nail art, and more. Schedule a tour today and meet with a Career Planning Specialist to see if Empire is the perfect fit for you. Visit us at or call 1-800-964-3635.

September 8, 2014

One thought on "Nail-biters Anonymous (12 Step program to beautiful nails )"

  1. Hi do you have a class I can take for refreshing class for nails I have my certificate.
    But I am working to get my license
    Thanks Maria

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