Obsessively biting one's fingernails — otherwise known as 'onychophagia' — is an oral compulsion that affects more of us than we'd like to admit. If you're sick of the 'gnawed digit' look and want to rid your house of disgusting fingernail leavings, getting your nails shellacked could be the answer, as a Lifehacker reader explains.
By her own admission, Lisa Banks has been a frenzied nail-nibbler ever since she grew teeth. Last week, she decided enough was enough and opted to give her nail-biting habit a good shellacking — in both senses of the word.
"Over the past 20 years I've tried everything from acrylic nails to horrible tasting nail polish to curb my habit with no success. Then a friend told me about shellac - a fairly new form of nail care where multiple layers of nail polish are put onto your nails to create a very thick coat that is hard to bite through," explained Lisa.
Shellacking is a manicure treatment primarily designed to produce long-lasting nail color that won't smudge or chip. However, the process also represents a handy way to curb nail-biting.
During the process, several coats of shellac are applied to each nail, which are then hardened under UV light. The entire process takes about half an hour from start to finish and can cost as little as $15 (although prices are naturally higher at upmarket nail salons).
Explains Lisa: "I got my nails shellacked on Friday and so far so good! I've had the craving to bite them a couple of times (particularly when I'm stressed), but having the shellac on has kept my teeth at bay.
"The good thing about shellac compared to acrylic nails is that it's much easier to maintain and the polish doesn't make your nails weak. I also felt as though acrylics were like a band-aid rather than a solution to stop biting them."
Lisa assures us that shellac comes in completely clear shades — which means the tip also works for all types of blokes — not just New Romantics.