Fingers & Not Eatin' Them

One of my first memories as a kid was biting my nails.

No, that's a lie.  I don't remember the first time biting my nails.  By time I had memories, it was a firmly-entrenched lifestyle.  Pro-level, cannibalistic nail biter.

I tried many times to stop.  Many, many, many.  Until I got to college, none of my attempts lasted longer than a day.  When I had my first successful (not actually successful) attempt, my nails were weird and bad.  I guess gnawing on my fingers for 17 years damaged my nail beds, and the nails that grew out were THIN.  They were so thin, they were like razor blades and I would slice the heck out of myself with them.  They were also so soft that they would bend all the way back, then flop right back into place.  VERY VERY GROSS.  Yuck.  Luckily, I went to sleep one night and woke up the next morning to find that I had chewed all of my nails off in my sleep, and put them in a little pile at the corner of my mattress like a complete nutcase.

I thought to myself that I am probably not the only person who has had this problem, and there is surprisingly little information about how to quit biting online.  There is a lot of stuff about making your kid stop sticking their fingers in their mouth, and stuff telling you to go to the psychiatrist if you have onychophagia, but not much if you are just a regular neurotic person in the habit of chewing your own fingers.

I stopped biting my nails a couple years ago.  I was fat as fuck (to put it delicately) after I had a kid, and I had to stop so I could have one more thing to add to my "polish the turd" arsenal.  Then, I got into doing my nails and started painting them all the time instead of feeding my face (and also did about a million burpees), and now I am shaped like a regular person and I have nice nails!  ANOTHER POINT FOR VANITY!!!  Yeah!  

SO!!  I thought I would do a manicure post today, to mix things up.  I keep getting emails and seeing people talking about this site like FINALLY A MAKEUP SITE FOR SUPER WHITE LADIES!!! All making me sound like Mary KKKay or something.  I am pretty sure that white people are pretty well represented basically everywhere, but I digress.  

Here are some pro-tips to quit eating your hands like an animal stuck in a trap:

  1. Don't buy that stuff that makes your fingers taste bad.  You're not chewing on them because they taste good.  If you're dedicated to chewing, you'll just lick the bad flavor off, then be like FINALLY IT TASTES NORMAL!! then get right back to chewing.  Also, sometimes it will rub off on your food.  This is something you have to do alone, making your fingers taste bad is going to stop you from biting your nails as much as wearing mittens is going to keep you from masturbating.
  2. Get a good nail file, and file your stubs until you can't feel any irregularities or rough spots at all.  Rough spots are gonna make you pick and stick your fingers in your mouth.  Carry a file with you, and if you feel a rough spot on the free edge of your nail, file it down before you think twice about it!  When you get a file, get one with a very fine grit...  your nails are probably thin and weak, and if you use a gritty file, it will shred everything up and water will make the shreds swell and your nails will peel more and you will bite them.  This is the file I use...  It's a $2 file that is really super fine, almost more like a buffer.  It is my favorite one.  I don't care about the print on it, because it was $2 and it doesn't wear out fast because there isn't much grit.  You can also get them at Sally's.  If I find another file that is as good as this one for the price, I will let you know, but as it stands, this one is my jam and that Amazon reviewer is a bit testy about a cheap-ass nail file.  MY TWO DOLLARS!!!!!! :( :( :(
  3. Get a good hand cream.  You know you don't moisturize much if you're a biter, because hand cream is gross to eat.  Your cuticles are probably a wreck, and starting to moisturize religiously is going to help you get that in check, and will also make your nails feel better when they grow.  If they are really dry, they will look and feel beat up, and a good moisturizer will make them feel stronger and you won't pick them as much if they aren't as dry and fucky.  I loooooove Nivea Extended Moisture hand cream.  It says "48 hour" on the tube, but that's stupid.  Moisturize more often than every other day, please.  It is really good stuff, though.  Feels good, not greasy, makes your nails and cuticles feel good.  Also, the tube is small, so you can put it in your bag.
  4. Ummm, you know, don't bite!  If you keep your business smooth, and your skin moisturized, and your cuticles tidy, it is a LOT easier to stop biting.  If you bite, just file the rough spots and keep trying to stop.  Don't focus on growing them long at first, focus on keeping them looking as good as possible while they are short and stubby!  If you reign in your impulsive biting FIRST, then you are not going to respond to the feeling of having a free edge on your nail by chewing it.  Once you are a month or so into not biting, and you have attractive, tidy stubs, try growing them longer.
  5. Start whomping ass on those cuticles.  I would have put this first, since it is important, but the order of things demand that you get all the grungy business that is going to tempt you into biting taken care of first.  You are gonna have to push your cuticles back.  Every day.  I know that a lot of people say you shouldn't clip them, but in the beginning you are probably going to need to clip them.  Having your nails look good isn't all about the white part at the end, a lot of it, if not most of it, is having a long nail bed, and having a nice shape to the bed.  You're gonna push them back and trim them daily, then you're not going to need to trim them, and you can just keep pushing them back and moisturizing them until you beat those fuckers into submission.
  6. Try using a nail strengthener.  It will make your nails shinier (you know, the polish is shiny, it doesn't make YOU shinier on a molecular level), tougher, and it will protect them a little.  I like Nailtiques 2 Plus, or the regular Nail Envy (the other formulations just aren't as good, in my opinion.)  Put a new coat on once a day, and take it off every few days when the polish gets thick or starts looking chipped or yucky.  (Note on the Nailtiques--  that 2 Plus is a little tiny bottle, because I guess it is too hardcore for you to use on a regular basis.  Just an FYI, if you'd be mad to order something like that and have it be a mini bottle instead of a regular one.  I don't think there is such a thing as a big bottle of the 2 Plus.)
  • Get a good cuticle remover.  I really really hate Butter London brand nail polish, but I really like their cuticle remover.  HERE IT IS.  It's pretty gentle and does the job.  It's gentle enough that you can use it everyday with no problems.  Use it after you get out of the shower or do dishes and your cuticles are already kind of soft.  Slop it on, let it sit for a few minutes, push your shit back.
  • Push your cuticles back and push em more and push em again.  It's better to use the orange wood sticks, since metal implements will sometimes scrape the nail itself, especially if your nails are soft and whack.  Dig around all over, loosen it the heck up.  When you're pushing, stop before it feels bad.  Just push and push and when it feels like it's time to stop, stop.  (This is why I don't let other people do my nails...  how do they know when to stop?  Ouch!  If they don't take it to the hilt, how do I know my manicure isn't half-assed?)  You will work your shit back farther and farther over time.  You can get a gigantic sack of sticks at Sally's, or HERE.  Don't buy them at the grocery or drugstore, they charge as much for 10 as you can pay for a sack of a billion.  You can also chuck them when you're done, so it's sanitary.  If you must use a metal implement, I like this guy pretty well.  The little scoopy thing is nice for digging around, and it's smooth so I haven't gouged myself yet.
  • Nip 'em if you gotta!  A lot of people are like OHHH, DON'T NIP 'EM!!  Those people aren't fucked like we are fucked.  They are doing regular manicures on fingers that aren't eaten, we are solving a problem and trying to correct damage here.  If you don't want to trim, you don't have to!  If you are pushing your cuticles back, and there is so much dead tissue that it pockets out or looks floppy, and the skin is translucent (not pink, pink means there's prob blood in there), trim it!  Keep pushing and trimming if needed, everyday, and soon you won't need to trim.  OKAY, NOW I AM GOING TO SHOW YOU MY FAVORITE BEAUTY IMPLEMENT EVER!!!  This is the shit.  I don't care about hairbrushes or makeup brushes or anything else as much as I care about this thing.  !!!TWEEZERMAN CUTICLE AND HANGNAIL SNIPPERS!!!!  I have 2 or 3, because WHAT IF I ONLY HAD ONE AND I LOST IT???  WHAT THEN???  If I was Oprah, y'all would have one under your chair right now, but I'm not, so.....  Basically, that is the best nipper in the universe and trims exactly where you want to trim, close as hell, and then you're gonna find 80 other things to nip with it.
  • Moisturize your cuticles after you push-n-trim, and a couple times during the day.  Keep them soft and moisturized so you don't get hangnails and they don't crack and all that.  It also is good for your nails to massage your cuticles and nail matrix area, so two birds and all that.  Solar Oil is good, so is Lush Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter, but my old man always complains about the smell of that (it doesn't bother me, though.)  Or just use that Nivea hand cream I linked earlier, if you like to keep it simple.  Oils and special cuticle stuff are nice, though, if you just got finished soaking your fingers in polish remover to get glitter polish or something off, though.  That will dry your shit out.

This is what we are going for when we are doing cuticles.
No dry skin, nothing adhered to your nail.
Your nail plate and your cuticle area should meet
at an obtuse angle, roughly 135°.

This is what my nails look like if I just groom them.
This is a good cuticle push and some lotion.  You can see I still
have ridges here and there from biting my nails for so long and
damaging my matrix.

This is how my nails look when I do a basic manicure + color
just the tips with a white nail art pen, and top it with
a clear coat (like your strengthener or something.)
This is good to disguise dirt and stuff that tends to get jammed
under your nails when they are on the short side.

Just for fun, this is a pic of my thumb that I cropped out
of a photo from when I was in the hospital having my kid.
This is what my nails looked like before I quit chewing them.
Also, it is very beautiful the way my skin looks green
from losing all the blood in my body during that
über-ceasarian section.  VERY GROSS.  Also, I am so
bloated you can't see my knuckle!  USE A CONDOM, EVERYONE!

So, yah!  That is what I've learned about quitting nailbiting, and the very basics of finger rehab so you can let your fingers look like regular people fingers.  You obviously can keep biting if you want, but it looks yucky, and it looks yucky when you do it.  Also, if you bite in public, it looks like you are uncertain of yourself and not in control of the situation, which is the opposite of being a bad bitch, which is usually my goal.  Maybe you like looking anxious about the world and troubled and apprehensive... if you do, then chew on, baby.  

NOTE: The photo at the very top of this post is that Ciate Caviar Manicure stuff.  I am gonna be
reviewing it pretty soon, as soon as I am able to make up my mind about it.  Just
in case you're wondering!!