How COVID-19 Stopped Lana Condor's "Intense" Nail-Biting Habit

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The first time I chatted about haircuts with Lana Condor over Zoom, I thought she couldn't get any more relatable — then she told me all about her "traumatic" nail-care history and I realized I was very wrong. "I was a very avid nail biter from birth; my entire life, nails were my biggest insecurity," she recalls to Allure. "I would hide my hands because my nail beds were just ravaged from my own doing, but I was a biter because it helped me focus. With anxiety, it was very much a comfort thing." Girl, same.

Until recently, Condor's nail-biting habit was so intense that she needed a stand-in hand model for TV and movie shoots wherein her hands needed to be shown up-close. "In the majority of the projects that I've done, any sort of hand inserts are not my own." 

That took quite a toll on her self-image, she adds, and created a lot of self-doubt about her habits. But once biting began posing a heightened risk of getting sick during the pandemic, Condor quit cold turkey. "[COVID-19] was the catalyst that I needed to change my biting habits because germs," she says. "I was like, 'You need to get your life together, Lana. You can't afford to have germs.' So that's when I stopped."

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As the star of To All the Boys I've Loved Before… puts it, learning how to take good care of her nails since then has, in part, helped to improve her mental health. "Now that I've been working really hard on restoring my nail beds, I feel a lot more confident," Condor says. "That's why I do really fun colorful [nail-art] designs because it genuinely puts me in a better mood. It helps me feel more positive and bright throughout the day." A manicure — professional or DIY — is also a surefire way to save a few moments in a day that are just for you, she adds, and that's something everyone deserves to have. 

Condor's keys to maintaining longer, healthier nails is a cuticle oil pen that she keeps in her purse for the moments she feels the need to chew. "Instead of biting, when I'm nervous, I take it out and I just [swipe it back and forth on my nail beds]." Specifically, she uses Dashing Diva's Redtherapy Nourishing Cuticle Oil — I, myself, am a sucker for CND's Vinylux RescueRXX Pen and Olive & June's Cuticle Serum pen to keep my own chewing habit at bay. 

Olive & June Cuticle Serum

CND Vinylux RescueRXX Pen

To be honest, I get fully distracted by Condor's multicolored digits that fly across my screen as she gestures with her hands while she's telling me all of this. I should've known off the bat that the manicure is the work of Dashing Diva's Glaze collection, a line of nail wraps that cure under a UV lamp for the same look and longevity of a traditional gel manicure. Condor is the brand's new spokesperson, after all. 

The adorable set she's wearing — a mix-and-match selection of pastel pink, yellow, green, blue, and purple nail wraps with a bit of negative space at the bottom — is fittingly named Candy Village (pictured on Condor above). "You match [each wrap] up to the size of your nail, take it off, apply it, cut it based on whatever shape you want, cure it, file it and then you're done," she explains. "It's so easy. That should be the title of the article: 'People, You Can Do This.'"

Condor's application tips are right on the money — and yes, it really is that easy. As nail artist Holly Falcone once explained to Allure, you should always start by washing your hands and wiping your nails down with acetone (regardless of whether or not you've already got polish on). After trimming your selected nail wraps down to roughly the same length of your fingernail, "apply the sticker as close to your cuticle as possible, then use your other fingers to pat it down. Finish by filing off any excess wrap, and then blow-dry the nails to adhere the sticker to the nail to ensure they don't move," Falcone advises. 

The Dashing Diva Glaze wraps that Condor wears just require the extra step of curing under a UV lamp like a gel nail polish. That said, their removal process is ultimately the same as any other nail wrap — just apply plenty of cuticle oil around the base and use a wooden cuticle stick to gradually push (please, for the love of Peter Kavinsky, do not peel or rip) the wrap off of the nail. 

Dashing Diva Glaze Art Studio Nail Strips in Candy Village

Static Nails x Urban Outfitters Tortoise Shell Reusable Press-On Manicure

Using products like these is how Condor stays on top of the endless nail-art trends she sees on social media. "I've seen so [many manicures where] each nail is different, or your pointer and your ring and your pinky fingers are the same but your middle and your thumb are different," she says. "And I predict that in the fall, amber tones [will trend]."

At least, that's what she hopes will happen because she loves a tortoiseshell manicure moment — specifically, Dasing Diva's Glaze strips in Cloud Amber, another one of her favorites. (I'd also be remiss not to mention Static Nails's press-ons, which also come in a tortoiseshell pattern). Even if her trend forecast isn't accurate, she's going to wear her favorite designs anyway, dammit. "I'm manifesting it to be 'in' for fall, but who honestly cares," Condor laughs. "Just make it 'in' for yourself, you guys."

Much as I and the rest of the Allure staff love to stay on top of every season's burgeoning manicure trends, Condor makes a really convincing case to wear whatever the hell I want regardless — and that's advice I'll definitely be taking her up on come fall. 

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