Beauty 101: "I've Never Been Able To Paint My Nails"


As a lifelong nail biter who just kicked the habit (for now) about 5 months ago, I sympathize with many of the questions in this week’s Beauty 101 post, which focuses on all sorts of nail fails:

While I’ve stopped biting my nails (5 months is the longest I’ve gone in 29 years, so we’ll see how long it lasts) by getting manicures every two weeks, I’m still totally clueless as to how to take care of my nails on my own. Several of your fellow commenters expressed their nail-related concerns as well:

I need to learn how to do my own nails. I cannot file them. And usually when I paint them they get all globby. And I can’t paint my right hand with my left hand. I wish I could paint my nails like the manicure ladies do.
Manicures. Or even just painting your nails without getting polish everywhere.
Caring for my cuticles. Whenever I try to deal with them, they wind up ragged and bothersome, and whenever I leave them alone, they grow too long, and then wind up ragged and bothersome.
Help/Advice Needed:
The nail on one finger has a permanent split in it that travels length-wise from the hyponychium to the very tip of the free edge.
When the free edge gets to ~1/4 an inch, the split really shows up and forces the free edge to break horizontally off each time. I can’t grow this nail!
I’ve tried lotions, cuticle moisturizers (Burt’s Bees), even baby oil applications, but nothing helps. This has gone on for 6 months and the split continues. The nail is permanently separated along that line in my nail, and I can feel it even before it actually breaks off.
Anyone experience something similar?
Thanks so much!!
I don’t actually know anything about filing nails — how to do it, when to do it. Good thing I like short nails, I suppose.
I’m a nail biter too and have nooo idea how to paint my nails, because I never do. Painting them a difference color would just bring more attention to how grossly short they are. I have tried to stop biting so many freaking times. I painted them with regular polish, I bought that nasty-tasting stuff, I tried to do it through willpower alone. Fail, fail, and fail. 🙁
I’ve never been able to paint my nails. I always end up putting on too much polish, and it spills over onto my skin and won’t dry flat. My nails are also extremely tiny from chronic biting. I once went to get them done professionally, and the nail esthetitician laughed at the mess of nail polish on my hands.
Ugh, I suffer from nail-biting as well. I try my hardest to use nail polish and even bought some stuff from a drug store that was supposed to promote nail strength and length but that peeled off too quickly…so I am back to biting.
I’m actually completely useless with my left hand, so any attempts at nail polish (besides trusty old “clear”) application end up looking just atrocious.
I’ve never mastered nail polish. I don’t know how manicurists make it look like a seamless, glossy little lake of color on your fingertips. Mine look splotchy and streaky, no matter how careful I try to be.

A few general questions:

1. How do I stop biting my nails?

2. How do I treat/prevent ragged cuticles?

3. What’s the proper way to file a nail?

4. How do I paint my nails with my non-dominant hand? How do I get them to look somewhat professional at home?

5. How do I prevent my nails from chipping/splitting/breaking? How do I get my polish to last?

6. How do I do a manicure/pedicure at home?

7. What is the difference between types of nail files?

Think you can help? Feel free to post your tips and tricks in the comments below, or email them to me by 9amEST tomorrow with “Nails” in the subject line. Again, I can’t use all of your emails, but I appreciate every single one!

A roundup of tips and tricks will be posted tomorrow.

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