Cannibals (nail biters)

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The Geek

Grand Master Geek
Staff member
I just poached this from the old message board as i thought it was still new and pertinent. How do you guys deal with cannibals?

I have seen 101 ways to sculpt a cannibal, and 101 of those methods had fallacies that translated into me not ever using those 101 techniques.

Most incorporate techniques that pose an overexposure risk to your customers. Risks that leave you vulnerable to legal liability.

The only solution that I have found where I get great looking and safe results is to tip.

I remove virtually ALL of the contact area... Use Gelbond... here comes the hard to explain part... I file out any of the tip sidewall that is applying pressure to the skin.
Like this:

I then ensure that the tip is cut only to the end of her finger (any longer is asking for trouble as there usually isn't much nail bed to anchor the extension)
I blend the tip... And I apply my Zone 1 white not up against her current free edge, but where it would be if her nails were not massacred.
Then I apply pink to zone 2 and 3.
If there is a noticeable color distinction in Zone 2, I cover with a sheer enamel like lighten up or moonlight and roses to camouflage.
I like to keep them French though as they look much better going from nothing to a clean French look.
I rebalance after 1 week as most cannibals have a mean habit of picking and nibbling. If they start in on their nails, you could be back at square 1 before you know it.
By rebalancing after 1 week, I can ensure the nails are in tip top shape and we are breaking her of her eating habits.

I charge a premium for this service as it does take slightly longer to do... and they look kick bottom when I am done.

There is no cooler makeover for the nail than enhancing a bitten nail.

I tip her as well.
But I have done her nails for a couple years and I have tried all kinds of stuff on her. She seems to have the moistest nail beds I have ever seen. The only way her nails will stay on is if I use primer with my retention. Seriously I have spent hours on the prep but with out primer...nails are goners. I used acid free primer two weeks ago because I thought that a primer that is designed to be used with my acrylic would work better....guess 5 days...goners. If there is any lifting at all she attacks them. (instead of calling me, of course)
She is one of my few clients that ever has trouble with cuticle area lifting.
:idea: Any thoughts? :idea:

Your Nail Pro

I always insist that nail biters/pickers wear a color polish instead of french or light colors. The reason is because if there is one imperfection or lifted product at the cuticle, they go to chomping. So, if they have a color on their nails, then they can't see any of the imperfections. This helps them avoid that urge. It is proven effective with my "pickers" and "biters", as I like to call them. ;o)

Leigh Ann


:rolleyes: I know a girl who would like her nails done but honestly she has NO nail bed to speak of - if I were to apply a tip it would have to almost touch her cuticle - her beds are that short.

Would you still blend and then apply a tip or is there another remedy for this very very short nail?

It must be great to see someone's face when you have the skill of making something out of nothing - I want to learn that skill.

Mr Nail Geek

When attending my master class, we were told to use Formation tips and then cut a 'V' into the contact area (plus cut out the areas on the actual tip as you have mentioned). Of course the problem you then come across if the client has a small nail bed, is that the tip digs into the cuticle area.

With this in mind, am I right in saying that I don't need to cut the 'V', rather just design the well area?

The other thing is, with these bitten nails, it proves extremely hard to shape the natural nail (what's left of it!!) to fit the tip, short of making your client howl in complete agony!! Therefore is it not too bad a thing if the tip does'nt fit snug in this case?

I will point out that my client will then be booked in for 1 weekly appointments for the next 4 rebalances; and then advised to have a new set on the 5th.

Fanks very mooch!

The Geek

Grand Master Geek
Staff member
Sue said:
Would you still blend and then apply a tip or is there another remedy for this very very short nail?
Yuppers.. I remove virtually ALL of the contact area. If you cant get a tip on it... you shure as poop wont get a good form fit (IMHO)

Thanks very much Nail Geek that's made me much happier, see........... :D I used to get really stressed trying to make those little ol stumps fit.


The Geek

Grand Master Geek
Staff member
Peppercorn Nails said:
When attending my master class, we were told to use Formation tips and then cut a 'V' into the contact area
Don't know where the 'V' in the contact area came from. I remove virtually all of the contact area. Carving a 'V' wouldnt be needed in my opinion and would cause a pain trying to get it on the natural nail.

Therefore is it not too bad a thing if the tip does'nt fit snug in this case?
Yup! You will never get a snug fit between a tip and a cannibal. Thats why you want to use a thick-gap filling adhesive (i.e. gelbond)

and then advised to have a new set on the 5th.
how come a new set on the 5th?

Hello again

Don't quote me on this, but I'm sure we were advised to remove all product on the 4th/5th week as this would hopefully have allowed the nails to grow up a fair amount. By removing all the product you would then be able to fully prep the nails again. As mentioned before, you can't get a snug fit with the tips and therefore surely there is a chance of your client gaining an unwelcome visit from gruesome greenie?

Obviously, depending how much your client's nails have grown up you should then be able to get a much snugger fit with your tips and therefore eradicating the chance of any bacterial problems.

Do you not agree with this then? Would you just continue with your weekly rebalances, and if so at what stage would you consider moving onto fortnightly?

Thank yoo, Adele

The Geek

Grand Master Geek
Staff member
Ahhh. I see where you're coming from.

I still wouldnt give it too much concern as long as you are using a thick adhesives to apply your tips (i.e. Gelbond)... that will fill in any gaps between your clients free edge and the deep stop point. If those gaps are properly filled... youll have no worries with greenies.

The reason why I'm so reluctant on the soaking issue is cause soaking is one of the hardest things we do on the nail unit as a whole. Regular soaking should be avoided!!



Well-Known Member
With a serious cannibal you have a huge bulge of finger at the end of the nail (or what should be a nail) how can you apply a tip over that? I have tried before and all I had was a huge air bubble and it looked awful


Scratchers Geek
If you go back to Sams first post Debbie there's a little diagram that show you where to file out at the sidewall so that the tip wil fit over that bulbous area. This is one of the best things I've learnt when it comes to nail biters, it really works well.


Judge Gigi-Honorary Geek
If you find filing out the sidewall difficult - use curved scissors. Personally I find it a lot quicker and it is easier to get the lower arch than using a file for most people.

This tecnique makes ANY nail appear to be sleeker! Not just cannibalised ones. Once you have it perfected you will use it a lot.
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