1. Nail Biting.
In the old days, around 1990 – Yikes. I worked many beauty campaigns. Only one time did the company, Revlon, hire a hand model for the shoot. Yes, this happens. One model is hired for her face, and the other model is hired for her hands. What I experienced was an awkward positioning of the hand model’s palm and fingertips resting on MY face while she knelt beside me. All very weird, I assure you.
Other beauty campaigns, thank goodness, did not follow this strange practice. They did not need to; I’m blessed with nice hands and do not bite my nails. The nail biting struggle ended for me after much haranguing from my mother, including a bitter liquid applied to my nails. (I was a nervous kid.)
Yes, I saw models with nails eaten raw. No judgment. It is just one habit that entrenches itself because of our anxiety.
2. Hair pulling.
This sounds like self-torture, and yet it is actually another attempt to self-soothe. I only noticed a few models I worked with that had this habit. What I witnessed was the pulling of a compact area on the back/underside of their hair.
As a counselor now, I have had several clients who pulled their eyebrows or eyelashes. Noticeable, but once again, they are not trying to harm themselves or make themselves look less attractive. They are trying to cope with anxiety.
“I tried everything to stop pulling my eyelashes—medicine, behavior modification, scolding myself, rewarding myself and other stuff too. After working directly on reducing my anxiety with Susan, I just stopped pulling. That was it.”
Pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, real or imagined. Ugh, I feel physically sad when I notice girls mindlessly picking at their faces. As my friends will confirm, I have been known to spew annoying pleas of, “Stop touching your face.” Or after numerous attempts, “Stop touching!”
As challenging as it is to resist attacking a bump of any kind, may I suggest you refrain. You may break capillaries or bruise your skin. In the short term at least, your face will be red and blotchy. (One trick is to put a post-it on your bathroom mirror. It could say, “Gentle on Face Please.” Another one is to ditch the magnifying mirror.)
If you find yourself picking a great deal, it may be an anxiety reaction similar to nail biting and hair pulling. If you are not finding relief (for any of the mentioned nervous habits) after three weeks, please seek out a counselor to work one-on-one with you.
4. Lip biting.
Trying to pile on lipstick to chapped (occasionally bleeding) lips is, let’s face it, not pretty. And, of course, lip biting is about anxiety. A woman biting her lip is practically the universal image for anxiety.
Don’t berate yourself if you’ve developed this habit. It is a common symptom of anxiety. If you have this habit, I encourage you to do the same as with the other symptoms. Focus on reducing your anxiety. A simple trick I add to the process for my clients is to hold a straw in their mouths when they are at home. This gives them self-awareness of when they would habitually bite their lip. Each time they unconsciously attempt to bite their lip, the straw is in the way.
Nervous habits adversely affect our beauty. Clearing up the underlying anxiety, is the way to stop them. You can do it.