Tales of a reformed nail biter: How to turn the habit around

After years of being a nail biter, I now have strong, long and healthy natural nails. Here's how I broke the habit, and what products helped me on the way...


Childhood habit

I've been biting my nails since I was about five - I remember because my nanny went to Australia that year, and my mother's big threat to me was "wait 'til I tell your nanny what you're doing when she's home!" - The decision to stop didn't come until at least 15 years later when I was around 20. By that stage my nails were well and truly ruined and - I thought - beyond repair.

The decision made

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I wanted to have nice nails for my 21st, it was as simple as that. Well, the decision was simple. The process wasn't as easy. I tried those nail varnishes that taste awful when you put them anywhere near your mouth. I tried rubbing my hands in mint (a flavour I hate). I tried sitting on my hands, I tried everything. What worked eventually was a combination of will power, regular manicures from someone who would give me sh*t when she knew I'd been biting, and the following products.

What helped

nail biter

CND Rescue RXx Daily Keratin Treatment

€24 from Millies.ie

My nails are they way they are today because of this, I swear it. It strengthened and protected my nail growth more than anything else. It goes on like a cuticle oil and I applied it once a day, every day for months on end.

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Alpha H Age Delay Hand and Cuticle Cream

€25.95 from BeautyBay.com

This hand cream, above all others I've tried, works the best for me. I use it once a day at night, putting a fairly thick layer on before I go asleep. Overnight, the actives in the cream make my cuticles even softer, and my hands feel like silk. I love the scent too.

Sally Hansen Nail Rehab Treatment

€11.95 from FeelUnique.com

I painted this on as my base coat about once per week - but just until my nails were strong again. Then I stopped, because if your nails become too strong, they'll lose flexibility and they will snap instead of bending if ever you catch them in something. That's something expert manicurist Pamela Laird taught me and it's one of the best pieces of nail advice ever.

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Read more: Why nail experts want the traditional manicure to make a comeback

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