Anyone who bites their nails is not happy about the habit. It wrecks your manicure, first of all, and sometimes it leads to bleeding cuticles or painful hangnails. But kicking the tendency to gnaw on your fingertips can be really tough — especially if you’re a lifelong finger-biter. Are your current attempts to suppress the urge not cutting it? If you’re looking for intel on how to stop nail biting, these TikTok hacks could help you kiss those painfully short nails goodbye.
If you eat at your fingers, you’re not the only one — about 20 to 30% of Americans regularly bite their nails, according to 2017 research published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment. The habit is often a reaction to feeling stressed, restless, or bored. Besides reducing your fingertips to tender, unsightly nubs, too much of it can lead to nail damage, infection, and even dental problems from all the biting or from transferring harmful bacteria on your fingers into your mouth. Suffice it to say: It’s not a healthy habit.
Unsurprisingly, TikTok is here to help. One scroll through the hashtag #nailbiting amasses 69 million views on the platform in part thanks to users’ tips and tricks to beat the impulse. So if you’re ready to finally put your nail-nibbling urges to rest, check out these 12 TikTok hacks for how to stop nail biting.
Wear Bitter Nail Polish
There’s a reason this hack is so popular: You’ll find plenty of TikTok users that broke their nail-biting habit with the help of bitter polish (you can grab some on Amazon, BTW). Just apply the clear solution to your nailbeds — suddenly, chomping on your fingertips won’t seem so appealing.
Spray Perfume On Your Nails
Another option? If you don’t have bitter polish, this TikTok user says spraying your nails with perfume will accomplish the same goal. The idea is you’ll smell the perfume before your fingers make it to your mouth, working as a reminder to stop your nail biting before it starts.
Tape Your Fingers
You could also just make your fingernails inaccessible, according to this TikTok user. Simply wrap clear tape around the tips of your fingers to block any picking or biting. Though it may feel funny, your nails will thank you down the line.
Eat Some Candy
One sweet solution? According to this TikTok user, biting the chocolate shell off of a candy bar could satisfy the same urge that chewing your nails does (and as an added bonus, it tastes a whole lot better).
Use A Habit-Breaking Bracelet
This TikTok user recommends wearing habit-breaking jewelry that, with the help of an app, lightly shocks you when you bite your nails. You might start to associate the biting with that unpleasant sensation, which will make it feel less and less tempting.
Check Your Surroundings
Feeling the urge to chomp? This TikTok user recommends to first pause, then look to either side and take note of the objects and sensations surrounding you. This moment of mindfulness lets your brain focus on something besides your desire to bite your fingers, which could help you re-center and move forward without needing to nibble.
Play With A Fidget Toy
Instead of using your nails as a fidgeting tool, this TikTok says to get yourself a real one. Whether it’s the classic fidget pinner, a stress ball, or something else entirely, diverting that energy to a gadget can help you beat the habit.
Carry A Nail File
Picking at your nails is all the more tempting when there’s a jagged edge to tug at. That’s why this TikTok user recommends keeping a nail file on hand so that you can smooth out any bumps before you resort to pulling or biting.
Sometimes the best way to prevent nail biting is to chew on something else, according to this TikTok user. One easy alternative? Gum. Pick your favorite flavor and chow down whenever you feel the itch to eat at your nails so you can get that fix without doing damage to your fingers.
Take Progress Pics
If growing out your nails is the ultimate goal, this TikTok user found success by taking pictures of her fingertips every day. Watching the progress can motivate you to go a little longer without biting down.
Try Chewable Jewelry
Not a gum fan? This TikTok says to try gnawing on some chewable jewelry when you feel the urge to bite your nails. Some necklaces even come in different strengths so you can chomp on something soft, medium, or hard, depending on your preferences.
Wear Finger Caps
Sometimes a physical barrier is what it takes to prevent nail biting. This TikTok recommends wearing rubber finger covers to literally block your nails until the urge dwindles enough that you feel comfortable resisting the habit on your own. They may not be your favorite fashion accessory, but they’ll be worth it in the long run.
Halteh, P. (2017). Onychophagia: A nail-biting conundrum for physicians. Journal of Dermatological Treatment, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27387832/
Kamal, F. (2015). Influence of nail biting and finger sucking habits on the oral carriage of Enterobacteriaceae. Contemporary Clinical Dentistry, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4456744/