I wouldn’t call myself an “expert” on Anxiety but if I were to rank my level of expertise based on personal experience I guess I would say I am an expert. I have battled anxiety and depression all my life, and recently I told you all about it. Even if you aren’t a suffer of full blown anxiety chances are at some point in your life you have been nervous or anxious. They are natural human emotions and there is nothing wrong with admitting you suffer with it. However, there is something wrong with anxiety when it causes you bad beauty habits.
When my anxiety would flare up the first thing I would do is turn to one of my many destructive beauty habits. Biting my nails, pulling out my hair, biting my lip … the list goes on. I have caused near permanent damage to myself on certain occasions when I couldn’t control my anxiety, and I know I am not the only one.
Today I am going share with you how I got over each of the bad beauty habits I would turn to when suffering anxiety. Some of these tips may even help you break bad beauty habits you have that are unrelated to anxiety so have a read and tell me what you think.
Pulling Out or Eating Your Hair
This was one of my very first bad habits I can remember. It started out as chewing on the end of my ponytail or pigtails, but as I got older I would sit in school pulling my hair out strand-by-strand. For me it was a convenience thing. My hair was always down or within reach so my hands would naturally gravitate to it.
Playing with your hair is a natural response for many people when we are nervous, but if you find yourself chewing your hair you have to be conscious of the unsanitary risks you are taking. If you are pulling your hair out this can cause damage to hair, especially if you are snapping the hair and not pulling it out at the root. When you are young, your hair is more resilient and it will cope with you pulling out more hair than you should naturally but as you get older this is a habit you MUST break.
How to solve it: Wear your hair in an updo, the more complicated the style the better. Braids, buns, twists ….. the more intricate your hairstyle is the less likely you are to ruin it just so you can reach a piece of hair to chew or pull out. I used to hate the idea of wearing my hair in a difficult updo but now with the likes of hair tutorials it is so easy to do. I recommend this eBook as a great starting point, it includes step-by-step photos and is easy for the most uncoordinated fingers.
Probably the most common of all the bad beauty habits, biting your nails is wrong on so many levels. Other than leaving you with dangerously short or no nails at all, there are many health issues as well. Underneath our nails you will find germs and bacteria days or even weeks old. Even if you scrub your nails with a nail brush every time you wash your hands you will still never remove all the icky stuff harbouring beneath your nails. When you put that in your mouth you are directly ingesting those germs and opening yourself up to all kinds of dramas.
Your nails will often be weakened by putting them in your mouth due to the moisture, and even if you aren’t concerned about having long, strong nails, you should still be weary of the many uses nails have. When you use damaged nails to open or peel things you are more likely to break them and leave the vulnerable skin beneath susceptible to cuts. When the nails try to regrow from their weak state you are also more likely to get an ingrown if the nail is back beneath the finger tip. All of the above look nasty, feel bad (or painful) and are not good for your health.
How to solve it: Gel nail treatments have come a long way in the past couple of years and now they are an idea treatment for those who suffer nail biting. Personally I recommend Bio Sculpture, CND’s Shellac or OPI’s Gel Color (as they are the ones I have personally tried and tested), but don’t get these confused for acrylics (acrylics will be bad for your already weak nails!). If you are prone to picking off your nail polish I would go with Bio Sculpture, which gives you up to 6 weeks of hard wearing gel without damaging your natural nail. If you aren’t a picker and are just more of a biter than Shellac or Gel Color will be good for you, as they are a gel-polish hybrid and you will get up to 2 weeks wear without it ruining your natural nail. You can also read my comparison of Bio Sculpture and Shellac so you can know all the pros and cons of both treatments.
Biting / Picking Skin Around Nails
This is a bad beauty habit not to be confused with biting the nails. Some skin biters are defensive over the difference and I was one of them, but the fact is the problems are almost identical. The skin around our nails often get hard as it dies and it is tempting to bite them off when nervous, but just like underneath our nails you will find all sorts of germs on and in this skin.
Removing this skin can also open you up to infections if you remove skin that was not dead yet. The skin at the base of your nail and the cuticle in particular are extremely sensitive, often causing pain when the slightest cut is made in the area. The safest thing you can do is leave the skin around your nails ALONE.
How to solve it: Firstly, if you have accumulated hard dead skin go to a professional nail salon for them to remove it. You can’t be trusted so leave it to the pros. In order to stop you from wanting to bite or pick at that skin you should apply cuticle oil and hand cream at every chance, multiple times a day.
Keep a small travel size amount of both in your handbag, and put tubes/bottles on your desk at work and on your bedside table. If you apply the oil and cream everytime you see it you will be conditioning that skin to not turn into hard bits as it dies. It also tastes disgusting if you go to put it in your mouth so that is an instant deterrent if you find yourself biting/picking it subconsciously.
Be honest, put your hands up if you take to your eyebrows with a pair of tweezers when you are feeling nervous? *puts hand up*. This is definitely the most visible of all the bad beauty habits you can do when anxiety comes to town. I don’t know what is so alluring about this one, perhaps the little sting of pain when you first start or perhaps it is the level of focus required to pick at each individual hair. Who knows, but this one can leave you with too thin eyebrows (or none at all!) and unlike body hair once you pluck your brows a few too many times the hairs just don’t grow back the same.
Eyebrows can completely change a face so it is best to leave the shaping of brows to a pro, or if you insist on doing your own eyebrow shaping at least read these do’s and dont’s.
How to solve it: Rechannel that need to pluck to a different part of the body, one that is less noticeable. Personally, I pluck my legs. My friends think I am nuts but it has saved me from losing my eyebrows and I need to shave my legs less. Plucking the leg hairs actually hurts soooo much less than waxing and the hairs take forever to grow back because you are removing them at the roots. I know someone who does their bikini line and they agree it hurts much less when plucking. Make sure you use really good tweezers (I love the slant ones from Tweezerman for body hair) because you don’t want to be snapping the hairs.
Biting Your Lip
Unfortunately this is the one bad beauty habit I still have and haven’t quite mastered a way around it yet. For me it is something I often do without realising or previously I have done it in my sleep. Sometimes I actually bite my lip so hard it blisters, or I bite skin off that wasn’t ready to come off. If this is the habit you suffer with than chances are you have done that too at some point.
The problem with biting your lip is that the skin is really fragile, both on the lip and around the lip line. I love the look of full lips and I don’t want to have to start having fillers but the more I bite my lips the more I am are breaking down that delicate tissue and collagen keeping my lips full and smooth. Naturally we start loosing that collagen in our 20’s so this is a habit you want to kick ASAP if you are hoping to look youthful for quite sometime.
How to solve it: I have found really sticky lipgloss helps curb the biting because it is the least pleasant texture to have on your teeth. Plumping glosses or ones that “sting” the lips are also useful because they usually have an unpleasant taste and once you get some of it in your mouth you will quickly learn not to do it again. If you bite your lips in your sleep (like me) I have had some success with wearing a mouthguard. Of course the downside there is that it is somewhat uncomfortable and definitely isn’t attractive.
Do you have any tips for curbing anxiety-related bad beauty habits? Do you experience any of the bad habits I have mentioned? Let me know by commenting below!
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