Made Up in Boston

"A man's face is his autobiography. A woman's face is her work of fiction." -Oscar Wilde

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Biter's Guide to Nails

I have a confession.

I am a compulsive nail biter. It's disgusting, but there is it.

I have bitten my nails for as long as I can remember. When I was little, my dad did everything imaginable to get me to stop biting my nails, but nothing ever worked. I tried yucky tasting polishes, taping the tips of my fingers, the oh-so-classy acrylic tips, and putting a dollar in a "no bite jar" every time my family or friends caught me chewing. Finally I just accepted that I was never going to have long, pretty nails, and that my hands would always look ugly and torn up. Even when I made stubborn resolutions that I wasn't going to chew anymore, two seconds later I'd realize my fingers were in my mouth and the sides of my thumbs were bleeding.

Gross, right?

When I got engaged, I knew I had to do something about this habit, because the last thing I wanted was a bunch of photos of my wedding rings and some gnarly looking nails. I began painting my nails for the first time ever. It sounds so simple in retrospect: if you want nice nails, take care of them. This really did work, and my nails finally grew long. But then I began to replace one bad habit with another. Instead of chewing on my nails, I now bite the polish off, or strip it away, leaving my nails mangled and rough.

Like this:

Super attractive, I know.

Because I've always been compulsive with my nails, I never wanted to spend the money or take the time to have a professional manicure (note: my friend Elina looked at me like I had six heads when I shared that little piece of info. Apparently this is one of those ritualistic "girl things"...).

That changed this past weekend however, when I finally bit the bullet (and not the nail!) and went with my future sister-in-law Trisha for a mani/pedi combo. Fancy pants! We booked appointments at Boston's Athena Salon and Spa with the very pleasant Tammy, who is the salon's only manicurist. So I marched my sad little nails above into the salon and came out with these:

The color is OPI's "Cuckoo For This Color", which is a rich black-emerald green with lots of silver shimmer. Honestly, I have no compulsion to chew on my nails when they look this pretty.

I found the manicure process was quite relaxing. I really enjoyed having my hands soaked and massaged with pretty smelling lotions. I loved that my nails were buffed and smoothed and babied. I did not enjoy the process of removing my cuticles with a scary looking scraping tool. Ouch. But I suppose it's really no different than biting my nails and nail bed, though. The only difference between my teeth and a cuticle remover is that one is free.

I think Trisha had a similar experience as well (she's a fellow nail biter, so it was also her first manicure, too!).

So the big question: am I a mani convert now?

Short answer: yes.

I think I could become a manicure regular. I loved the outcome. My nails feel strong and maintained. Two days after the event, I still feel zero desire to bite or chew on my fingers, and my nails look spectacular; better than ever before. I could see this becoming a regular part of my beauty routine. It's far less frustrating than trying to paint your own nails, and you can take the time to relax and engage in some necessary pampering.

Do you have healthy nails? Do you get frequent manicures? How do you care for your nails?


  1. I have terrible nails because they will never grow long, they always break when they get to a nice length! I've tried everything to make them stronger, but now I just tried to at least keep them filed so they are not all jagged. Love the nail color!

  2. Haha, I totally can't believe you've never had a manicure until a few weeks ago. I get mine done at least every 2 weeks. I HATE chipped nails and they never look the same when I do them myself. Btw, I used to bite my nails too. Not sure how I outgrew them... probably the regular manicures. Be careful when the polish starts chipping... they won't be so pretty anymore and you may get the urge to bite them again. I'm a shellac manicure converter now. Totally worth the extra $$ with a longer lasting polish :)