Tuesday, 12 August 2014

On manicures and nail health



I've been a nail- and cuticle-picker my entire life. Until I was fifteen or sixteen, my nails were always jagged, bitten down to the quick, and often made writing, typing, or even eating painful. There are a few tricks I've learned that can help me stop biting, number one of them being a good manicure! The top left circle is what I'm wearing right now, and from there on it goes in a roughly chronological order of the last few months. Mine aren't perfect now, and I certainly am guilty of occasionally nervously biting, even going so far as to make myself bleed, but here are some methods I have used to help stop biting my nails:

  1. Keep them painted perfectly, with no chips or edge wear. If they're perfect, you'll want to avoid messing up the manicure by chewing. (Try a very thick coat too, then pick at and peel off the nail polish - it's something to do with your hands that isn't destructive.)
  2. If you don't feel comfortable with coloured polish, even a clear coat will make them unpleasant to have near your mouth.
  3. Keep a nail file and clippers with you - picking is often triggered by noticing imperfections, and if you can nip them in the bud cleanly with the right tools it won't get out of hand.
  4. Keep your hands occupied if you can. Fiddling with something, doodling, or knitting are all great ways to keep yourself from the urge to pick.
  5. Using nail glue, apply short, natural fake nails over your bitten ones for a week or so, until it's healthy again. I use this trick now when a nail has broken and it's difficult for me to start regrowing it. Note - I personally recommend against long-term acrylic false nails, as when removed the nail underneath is often weak and soft or brittle, leaving you back where you started.
  6. Maintain healthy nails! If they're well-shaped, smooth, and healthy, you won't want to mess them up. Carry hand cream or cuticle oil with you to apply when you notice dryness or something that makes you want to pick.
  7. If you have specific nail problems that you want to manage, there's probably a serum for it! Sally Hansen has a wide variety of treatments for weak nails, peeling nails, brittle nails and more. Diet can also affect nail health, so if you think your nails just can't grow the way you want them to, do a bit of reading into it and I'm sure you can figure out a plan that works for you.

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