Nail biting is something we’ve all encountered at some point in our lives, as children and adults. Biting nails can be caused by many things including boredom, stress, anxiety or fear, but it actually does little to solve the problem, instead often leaving us frustrated and sad at the state of our hands. But don’t fear! Like all habits, nail biting can be broken, and there are plenty of natural tools to do it in an ethical way too. Below I’ve outlined some simple tricks and tips for naturally getting the nails you so desire, I guarantee there’ll be a method that will work for you if you give it a try.
Naturally antiseptic and strong tasting, garlic is one of the easiest nail biting solutions. Both cheap and easily available, it can already be found in most kitchens. Cut a clove in half and run it across your nails and cuticles, or crush it and rub the paste in, leaving for around five minutes before rinsing it off. While we all love a little garlic in our food, the raw version has an extremely bitter taste, and even stronger aroma, that will leave you not wanting to put your hands anywhere near your mouth! The added bonus is that its natural antimicrobial properties can protect your nails and cuticles from infections caused by excessive biting, and it has been said to help strengthen your nails too.
The name alone suggests how this one works. Bitter gourd (or bitter melon) is commonly believed to be the most bitter of all fruits and vegetables, so putting this on your nails should stop biting pretty fast! Crush one bitter gourd to make a paste and then put this paste through a sieve to get the juice. Dip your fingers in the juice for five to ten minutes and allow to dry.
Like a combination of the first two, neem oil is both naturally antiseptic and extremely bitter. Also known as Azadirachta Indica oil, it is made from the crushed fruit and seeds of the evergreen tree of this name. Apply the oil to your nails and cuticles every day, and the bitterness will soon stop that biting habit. You can easily buy neem oil online and, while it may not smell so good, it will also help repair brittle nails and it’s antibacterial and antifungal properties will keep infections away. The key with these three choices is to keep using them, applying the remedies every day until the habit is broken. Persevere and you will see results. As well as these natural remedies there are also some psychological tools you can use for extra help.
The Rubber Band Method
This simple brain training trick will help you condition yourself out of your bad habit. Wear a rubber band on your wrist and, whenever you begin to bite your nails or get the urge to, snap the band hard against your wrist. It’s going to hurt, and that’s the point. Be strict with yourself and do this every time, soon you will associate your nail biting with pain and punishment, which will be far worse than any pleasure you may get from biting. Train your brain, change your habits.
This works in two ways. Firstly, when your nails look great, you aren’t going to want to mess them up. Secondly, if you’ve spent money on a nice manicure, you sure don’t want to put that money to waste! Getting a manicure regularly can make you feel that little bit fancier, whilst also helping you kick a habit. Just make sure to go for a cruelty-free salon or ethical manicurist, you can find more information on that here.
As you can see there are definitely natural ways to stop your nail biting habit, it’s just about starting with one that works for you and sticking with it. Give yourself time and persevere with your chosen method, it will be hard at first but before you know it you’ll have beautiful, healthy nails that will make you feel much happier than biting ever could!
What is your personal tip how to let your nails grow? Leave your comment below.
Francesca Willow is a London based performance artist and founder of Ethical Unicorn, a website focusing on living an ethical, zero waste lifestyle. She trained in contemporary dance and spends a lot of time touring the world with international poets, but her passion in all that she does is to leave places better than when she found them. It was this that led her to start Ethical Unicorn, with the ambition to help busy people find simple solutions to make the world a more sustainable, happier place whilst still supporting innovation and the next generation of creative thinkers.