Posted by Stitchy McYarnpants On November - 29 - 2006   ShareThis



OK. You guys need to help a sister out. I’m a nail-biter. Always have been, always will be. I’m a hair twirler, too, but that’s neither here nor there. It’s the nail-biting I’m concerned with. I’d show you a picture, but my mom would be totally embarrassed. She’s been trying to get me to quit doing it since I was a kid. But I was too sly, and far too orally fixated to be assuaged.

And now. Well, now I’ve gone and gotten myself on a tv show. And not just any old tv show, it’s Knitty Gritty. Basically, it’s hand p0rn. Well, I’ve never actually seen the show, but I can only assume that there are lots of close-ups of beautifully manicured hands doing all sorts of crafty things. Hands that don’t look like the discarded chew toys of a baby T-Rex.

Now, I’m not here to ask for help to quit biting my nails. Hell no! I just need to figure out a way to cover them up without resorting to asking Stephanie for one of the many hand-knit socks she’ll have with her.‚  And seeing as how I can barely manage to keep up with my lip and brow appointments (note to self, get a lip and brow or a moustache comb), manicures are completely out of my league.

SO. Any of you local gals care to help a scraggly-nailed sister out?

Where should I go? Does anyone have a swear-by favorite? I’m willing to go anywhere in the Boston/Somerville/Cambridge/surrounding area, but if you have a place further away that is amazing, I’m willing to travel within an hour of Boston.

What should I ask for? I don’t want big, long eye-poking nails. I don’t want to slice an artery accidentally in the shower. I just want them to look like they aren’t on the body of a stressed-out neurotic person. Plain, no fancy colors, maybe just something light and nuetral. So what do I get? I don’t know Thing One about this stuff, so treat me like a child here. Acrylic, porcelain (is that even a choice?), is there a specific style?

How long does it take? How much time should I allow for Digitalis Metamorphosis?

Heeeelp! And thanks in advance for your sage advice.

*Tune in mid-December for Part Two of this post: “How Do I Get These Freaking Things Off!?”


32 Responses

  1. d~ says:

    ok, it was *a while ago* (20+ years) but if you can get porcelain, *do it!*!! I have nightmares everytime I even think about acrylic nails…..

  2. Nishanna says:

    I always liked silk wrapped fakers. I found acrylic with a fiberglass wrap can actually shatter. The silk wrap is like mesh and your nail won’t do funky things. I learned to stop biting my nails by wearing the fakers. I still chewed on them but it tasted disgusting (ya know, layers of glue and plastic and polish- yummers). I do suggest when you decide to take them off don’t rip them or peel them. Just give a nice soak in some acetone nail polish. be patient and take them off right. If you don’t your nails can peel and be otherwise unplesent for a while until the bad part grows out. Also, fakers will weaken your nails (if you have any growth on them before the fakers)

    When do you expect KG to air?

  3. ErickaJo says:

    I was hard against acrylic nails until just a few weeks ago. My sister talked me into getting a set. I got them *short*, not too much longer than what my normal nails would be. Get pink and whites, they look normal without polish. Very posh. I can type, and more importantly, I can knit. I was in and out in a half hour, and I’ll have to go back every two weeks or so. We’re worth it 😉

  4. Carole says:

    I’ve had good luck with acrylics in the past but I’ve heard good thing about silk wraps, too. Get a french manicure or the pink and white. It will look natural and you’ll feel pretty, oh so pretty.

  5. suzanne says:

    Or, you could broadly proclaim your nailbiter status (I’m a nail snacker too) and stand up for all us intense girls with your short nails! Say it loud, I bite and I’m proud!

    I bite too. My nails are…..short. Hey, these are working hands! I work (you know, type, knit, change diapers. Good times).

    I don’t know what you should do about prettyfying. I just wanted to give an opposing opinion, for fun.

  6. Ann says:

    I’m a lifelong nail biter, too, and got silk wraps for my wedding. If you are a hair twirler, you should hear my story:

    Picture that you are on your honeymoon. It is a perfect day, and you and new husband are sitting on a park bench in the middle of London. You’ve never had a better moment. It’s a bit windy, so you brush your hair out of your face …

    and then you can’t remove your hand from your hair. The right hand is literally stuck at the top your head. Because those lovely, expensive fake nails … well, they cover up your old nail, which still continues to grow. So by now, 10 days after application, there is a tiny, millimeter space between your nail bed and the bottom of the nail. It’s just a hair’s width. Yep. A couple of hairs have slipped up under the fake nail, getting wedged between the fake nail and the real nail.

    So here you are, in public. Your hair is too strong to break in order to free your hand. You have no scissors.

    And then, you know that you’ve married the right man. Because, while laughing *with* you and not *at* you .. he gallantly leans over — places the trapped strands of hair between his teeth — and chews until you are free.

    I think a nice manicure would be fine, just to clean up the hands a bit.


  7. scout says:

    Thi is totally cracking me up because go here:

    And then posts after that I show more detailed pictures of what total shit my hands look like. I am completely impressed that this nail polish has stayed on now for almost 4 days. It’s wearing off finally on a few nails but still looks pretty good. I’m just resigned to the fact that my hands will not be getting me a gig on The Price is Right any time soon….

  8. scout says:

    Also, I’ve seen the show a bunch and I am not getting fake nails. Just slap some polish on.

  9. beverly says:

    I say keep your nails short and get a French manicure. Nothing looks cleaner or more put together. A&D cream (like you put on a tattoo or, I think, a baby’s butt) on your cuticles every night will make them pretty…or if you want to spend $$, Elizabeth Arden’s 8 hour cream is fabu.

  10. Stephieface says:

    Depending on how much time you have until the show, you might be able to grow your own (at least wee unsnaggly ones). Right after your shower, or whenever you do beauty/I’m bored stuff, take a nail file and file your snaggly nails.

    I know, it sounds gross, weird, and hurty, and it could be depending on how evil your are to your fingernails. I was a nail biter for almost 30 years and was able to kick the habit this way (and I would chew so far down it would almost start to bleed).

    File the edges of those puppies so they’re smooth. It matters not that they are super ooky short right now, just that they are smooth. What I found for me is that I was chewing on my nails and making them snaggly while subconciously thinking I was trying to smooth them (with the unlikliest of tools, my teeth)- instead though I was making them more snaggly and the process would repeat. The minute the edge of the nails were actually smooth, I would put hand to mouth and stop, because there was nothing to bite at really. No snaggly bits to gnaw at. Then wash those puppies, and wash them every chance you get. Then after about a week, check them (if you haven’t succumbed to biting) and file any bits that might tempt you, and clean underneath (while they may not be long, you can still get dirt under there). Repeat process and go doctor wash crazy.

    I’ve had acrylic and porcelin nails, where I decided to try and stop biting so I’d get my nails did. But they always made my fingertips feel… I don’t know, swollen and sensitive. So while I had an awesome time tapping those bad boys on every imagineable surface… I was insanely aware of them being there. Which was almost as bad as biting in the first place. I’m not into weekly appointments for my nails, and I dislike how the fake nails make a dent in my real nails as they grew (and my checkbook). Also, getting them done was nice and all pampery… but I had to readjust how to do everything because although they were not long at all they were longer then I had and I kept catching them on things or not being able to pick up things.
    I say go au natural and go the file and wash route. I did, and now I have nails I could actually paint without looking like I have emo man hands.

  11. maryse says:

    ok, it appears that people have tons of advice but no real nail salons to recommend. so here we go. i’ve got a couple. unfortunately, it’s been awhile since i’ve had a manicure and i don’t get fakes — but at least i’ve got some numbers for you.

    1. in newton centre — christine’s day spa — 617 928-0811. i used to go there all of the time when i was single and trying to find a man. i probably should go again as i’ve got a hag hair that seems to grow 3 feet every night and i need to get it zapped. they do eyebrows and upper lips too — waxing.

    2. on newbury street — mia’s nail salon (617) 424-6440
    — again i’ve been there. i think they do fakes.

    finally, if you have time, i’d have them done in LA, traveling stresses me out and with the dry air of the plane, my nails look like ass after flying.

  12. grumperina says:

    I have to recommend my favorite salon: Sasha Salon, right in Harvard Square ( I’m not sure whether they do fake nails, but the regular manicures are great. Ask for Ellen (a Russian woman straight out of 1985). If you want to do everything in one shot, Lena does great waxing (she’s also Russian… going to that place is like going to my parents’ house).

  13. melanie says:

    I have no nail recommendations, but I can probably give you some peace of mind. Since you’re on the show for a book and not your mad knitting skilz, I doubt there will be a close up of your particular hands. Right? They’re gonna zoom in on your gorgeous face that’s doing the talking. Tell them to zoom in on Steph’s hands, she’s the ninja knitter.

  14. Michelle says:

    Don’t get fake nails. If you have time, don’t bite (or like in my case, pick) your nails (You can do it!!). In just a few short days, maybe a week, they’ll be long enough to file a bit and put a clear polish over. I got the fake nails, the Acrylic ones to be exact, and I picked them off! I couldn’t help myself and before a week was up I had picked them all off. I guarantee you won’t like the feeling of the fake nails, they feel heavy on your own nails. It will make you all the more apt to put them in your mouth or pick at them. Plus, if you are so used to knitting with very short nails or no nails at all, then the fake ones will “get in the way”. Just my opinion, but it would really stink if you realized this when it was too late to change your mind.

  15. Cheryl says:

    Ask for SOLAR NAILS. They are natural looking –look like a french manicure and are nearly maintenance free (no polish!!)

  16. anne marie in philly says:

    I bit my nails/skin until I was 40. talk about raw meat…

    Then a friend introduced me to acrylic nails – powder spread on your own nail surface.

    WOW – it’s so hard, you CANNOT bite thru!

    so I have been doing this for 12 years, I have gorgeous hands, and the nails do not get in the way of my knitting.

    any nail salon in your area will assist you.

    good luck!

  17. Marnie says:

    I agree with the person who said don’t have your nails done in Boston. I think it’s best to get them a day or two before in LA (if you have time). I can chip a coat of nail polish in record time…no problem…and all I do is sit at a computer all day.

    No advice on the finger gnawing though, how about going VERY retro and wearing white gloves? 😉

  18. aylaanne says:

    I’d get a silk wrap with tips. It’s basically where they put artificial plastic nail tips on your natural nails, glue them on, then glue three or four layers of thin silk over them. It looks natural and is strong, unlike the other kinds of artificial nails there are out there. It can be expensive, though, in the $40-$50 range. I live out in Western MA, and I know a place out here where you can get a good wrap done, if you’re willing to drive about two hours either way (the place is about a five minute drive from exit 5 off of the Mass Pike). You can email me if you want, just delete the spamblocker.

  19. Carolyn says:

    I had a manicure at Le Pli in the Charles Hotel in Harvard Sq. The woman was really bitchy. I also went to Exhale in Boston…next to Hermes and the Public Garden and that lady was sorta bitchy too. Maybe it comes with the job? Anyway, they both did a good job but I’m not sure I’d recommend them for a first-timer since there was some attitude. Good luck!

  20. Mel says:

    I can’t give you any help on finding a manicurist, but the thing that stopped me from biting my nails was working as a farmhand. Having horse poo under one’s nails is an excellent deterrent.

  21. Christine says:

    Cut up lots of hot peppers length-wise and scrape out the seeds with your fingers. :)

  22. jen says:

    I recommend an aveda salon (they’re everywhere), go & get a spa manicure, & do it while you’re in L.A. if you have time (approx. 30 mins). the spa manicure will make your own nails look great & maybe even deter you from biting them because like someone above said, there won’t be any rough edges.

  23. Kristina says:

    I’d recommend pink & white- when they grow out you won’t have a noticable gap between your nail and the fake nail. Ask for “work length.” Most salons know what that is- it’s just a tiny bit longer then the end of your finger tip. As for taking them off I’d DEFINATELY reccomend going somewhere and having them do it, and then asking them to do a manicure on top of it. Otherwise (and I know from experiance) you will pick and pick and pick.

  24. All this talk of silk nails makes me think of recycled silk. Now THOSE would be some kickass fake nails!!

  25. Kellee says:

    What Marnie said. Mostly.

    But if you insist, Interlude salon and day spa. 15 minutes from you on Highland in Malden. Ask for Michelle, she’s the owner. Tell her I sent you, and tell what you’re trying to do. The upside to getting them done now is that you’ll have time to get used to wearing them because no matter how small you get them, they’re going to freak your hands out for a day or two, and since you’ll be demonstrating, this would be bad. The DOWN side is that Marnie’s right, you’re going to chip them between now and then. The solution? Do them now, and then touch them up when you get to LA. It’s true, you’ll have to wear them longer, but we, your adoring fans, are worth it. We totally are.

  26. Dana says:

    Don’t spend the money. I have had acrylic and fiberglass and LC nails. Now I get Broadway Nails for $5.95 at the drug store. You put then on with nail glue. (do not get the self-stick kind) I also get brush on glue as it spreads more evenly than the one that comes with them.. Get the French manicure, short lenth. I am telling you these babies look so natural you may start biting them. I never got so many compliments on my nails before. And you just get the remover when you want to take them off. Those other kinds really damage your nails…you think they look bad now? So get the glue-ons. Easy peasy. I promise you will love them.

  27. Melissa says:

    Stay strong, keep your hands away from your mouth for just a bit longer & get a fabulous manicure in LA. As a reformed nail-biter, I also vote natural nails. The thought of chewing through the cost of the nail job and ingesting enamel paint (practically the same as the paint on your car) should keep them intact a hair longer.

    If you want to wean yourself from the chewing, learn to give yourself a top notch manicure. Observe everything the nail tech does, buy some basic tools and try to replicate the process at home. I eventually stopped biting my nails because I didn’t want to screw up all that hard work.

  28. Kim says:

    As a life-long nailbiter who has tried everything, I say – don’t do it. Just get a manicure. If you get fake nails you won’t be able to craft!! If, however, you do decide to go with fakes, don’t worry about how you’ll getting them off.. you’ll chew them all off yourself one night while watching a suspensful thiller.

  29. Carrie says:

    Try Avon Ultimate Transforming Hand & Nail Cream twice a day, everyday, until show time and, a few days before filming, get what God gave you manicured and buffed. To hell with the fake nails! As for the biting, I haven’t a clue what will work for you. I work as a nurse, so cleaning crap, barf, and heaven only knows what else on a regular basis pretty much cured me from nailbiting forever.

  30. Amanda says:

    This is what I do: I go to or and admire their false full cover nails, then I choose the one I like, hop over to either Boots, Walgreens, Walmart, K-mart or any no-name pharmacy and pick up a box. Then I go home, open the box, match the sizes to my nails (or whats left of them), put glue on the nail and on MY nail, stick them together and whalah! When you’re done (five minutes later) you will brandish a perfect french manicure that’s gorgeous! Or you can pick up their “natural” kits that would look just like your natural nails if you grew them out. Good luck!

  31. Lisa says:

    supershort bitten-down nails so totally rock! I love that look. It’s so cool! Be a nail biter and be proud! Be yourself. Enjoy your harmless little vice, and keep biting. Oppologize to no one about it! You are nail-biter. Hear yourself roar!

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