Tips From a Manicurist: 5 Ways to Fix Your Broken Nail

A broken nail could be a severely inconvenient occurrence. Follow one of these step-by-step methods to get a quick, temporary fix.

By Daina
Tips From a Manicurist: 5 Ways to Fix Your Broken Nail

Broken nails are the worst

We’ve all been there. Grocery shopping, lifting weights at the gym, fixing a loose bolt in the basement, moving furniture—it can happen at any moment. You are trying to live your life and bam! Your nail breaks. For those of us that spend our hard-earned cash on manicures knows how upsetting this can be, and how it’s almost as detrimental to your day as your barista messing up your coffee order. If your nail is broken, it creates so many other problems. The nail gets caught on everything, including all your nice cashmere sweaters, thus causing pulls in the sweater. Broken nails sometimes hurt, especially when the break is far down the nail bed. It can also ruin a great manicure. Imagine spending big bucks at the salon for a perfect manicure, or taking time out of your busy day to give yourself a manicure, and your nail breaks and ruins the polish job. Although nail breaks can be prevented (see the end of this article for tips to prevent nail breaks!), they still happen from time to time.

Don't be sad!

A broken nail does not need to ruin your day!

5 Easy methods to fix a broken nail

But have no fear. I am going to give you five step-by-step methods to fix that broken nail, at least until your next nail appointment. The methods differ in preference, plausibility, and stability of the fix. Sometimes where the nail breaks makes it implausible to clip the nail down to the break, because it is in the middle of the nail bed, so you’d be missing part of the crucial shield to the bed (and it would hurt an insane amount!). These methods will help you figure out how to fix any kind of break in the nail! Although these are great fixes for your broken nails, it should be said that these are temporary fixes for in between regular nail appointments. They are DIY methods to save a trip to the nail salon every time you get a small tear in the nail bed. These are not meant to be permanent and may not hold up for extended periods of time. The other important notice about these methods is that it is super important to make sure to follow each and every step, including the first one (which for every method is the same). Make sure the nail you are working on is clean and dry. Otherwise, these tips may not work as well as you hoped. Some nail polish remover (acetone-based) on a Q-tip can make for an easy clean.

1. Superglue - The easy fix for the broken nail

Superglue can fix anything that’s broken (except broken hearts—sorry, you’ll have to seek other help for that!). Its versatility makes it easy to get and easy to use!

Got a Tear in Your Nail?

Superglue is here to the rescue!

Using superglue is the easiest way to fix a broken nail. And best of all, superglue, and nail glue for that matter, comes in a convenient small size tube that can fit in all purses and even your pocket. This is a super easy method and the most time efficient of the methods, so it is the best for use on the go! However, make sure you remember that this is not a permanent solution to a broken nail. This will hold your nail together for enough time for you to finish up your daily tasks and get to a nail salon at your convenience. This prevents an emergency trip to the salon, but it does not permanently prevent a nail salon appointment! PSA for nail glue-users: Be careful, as there are reports that nail glue causes skin irritations and allergic reactions. If you have never used nail glue before, I would try using superglue instead, especially if you have sensitive skin and are prone to reactions.

What you need:

Superglue Nail buffer Polish

1. Take off all polish on the nail. 2. Using superglue or a nail glue, dab your nail where the break is. 3. Let dry (should be only a minute), then dab in the same area but with a little larger of an area (so you are covering what you already put on, plus some). 4. If the break isn’t past where the nail bed starts, apply a dab on the tear on the underside of the nail. Obviously, if it’s past where the nail bed begins, you won’t be able to do this. 5. Allow to dry again. Depending on the size of the tear and the effectiveness of the dabs, you may have to do another layer of the glue. 6. When the superglue layers are done and dried, use a nail buffer on the top of your nail to make the nail smooth again. 7. Apply your choice of nail polish and proceed with caution to avoid another broken nail before getting to the salon.

2. Tape- A very temporary fix

Have you ever heard the saying that duct tape fixes everything? Well. Duct tape may not be able to fix a broken nail, but scotch tape will do the trick—as a quick fix to hold up before you can get to the salon! What makes this method great is most people have scotch tape already lying around in their house. You use it everywhere—wrapping presents, sealing an envelope, fixing a rip in old dollar bill, and now, fixing a broken nail. The tape may not hold its stickiness forever, so it is imperative that you get to the salon as soon as you can, or you may have to replace the tape a few times. This method is best for a break in your nail when you have a nail salon appointment later in the week.

What you need:

Scotch tape (dollar store tape might not hold up to the task at hand, so make sure you have a brand name of tape, like 3M) Scissors Clear polish

1. Take off all polish on the nail. 2. Take a small piece (a little larger than the break in your nail) of scotch tape. 3. Place the tape over the tear, making sure the tape is well-rooted by smoothing it out and pressing it into the nail. 4. Cut the excess tape off, around the shape of your nail. 5. Using a clear polish, coat your nail with 2 coat, allowing the nail polish to dry in between coats. 6. Paint it or keep only the clear nail polish on.

Clear Polish Goes With Everything

The best part about the tape method is tape is clear and if you use a clear polish, your nails will still look great!

3. Tea Bag - The trending fix for your broken nail

Tea Bags Have More Than One Use

Tea bags aren't just for keeping tea leaves out of the tea anymore. They have been determined to be very helpful in the world of nails!

Love tea and always have tea bags around? You’re in luck! Tea bags actually make a GREAT DIY temporary fix for a broken nail. So much so that this trick has become a huge DIY trending topic! What makes tea bags so great to use is the material and the fact they are so ubiquitous. Tea bags are made out of a paper fiber that is similar to the silk wraps that nail salons use and beauty stores sell. However, unlike silk wrapping, tea bags tend to be found much easier. Most people already have them in their house, even if they don't drink tea (that's my case. Not sure where it comes from, but I seem to always have some in my drawers!) The tricky part about this method is making sure you have all your materials ready before you begin. If you coat your nail in the nail glue or base coat and then take your time cutting the tea bag out, then the glue/clear coat might dry and the tea bag piece will not properly stick. Use nail glue with caution. You can either use superglue or a clear base coat polish as a substitute.

What you need:

Tea bag, preferably something that is cheap and you don’t mind wasting Scissors or box cutter Nail glue Nail buffer Polish

1. Take off all polish on the nail and make sure you are working with a clean slate. 2. Using sharp scissors or a sharp box cutter, cut a small piece of the tea bag, just enough to cover the rip in the nail. 3. Take some nail glue and put it on the nail where it is broken. 4. Carefully place the small piece of tea bag over the break. You may want to use tweezers and be careful not to get nail glue everywhere (it’s almost as strong as super glue). 5. Wait for the nail glue to dry. 6. Using a nail buffer, get the nail with the teabag cover smooth. 7. Paint your nail! It’s best to use a base coat (obviously!) and then add the color polish.

4. Light-less gel- A sturdier, longer fix

In recent years, gel has changed the world of nail painting forever. Gel nail polish is known for its long-lasting life and sleek look. Now available for home makeovers, gel can also be used to mend broken and chipped nails. Whereas gel nail polish requires a UV ray lamp to dry it, the kit used in this method does not require this lamp, as it has an activating spray included. If you want your nail to be extended or if you have a corner of your nail that chipped off, this method is for you. It is a little tricky, especially if you have never used these materials before. But it is well worth learning how to. This method lasts a lot longer than any other method!

Light-less Gel Method

This method is best to fix a chipped corner.

What you need:

Light-Less Gel Kit, a product found in most beauty stores Silk wrap for nails Nail file Nail buffer Polish

ASP Light-Less Gel Kit

1. Take off all polish on the nail. 2. Using a silk wrap fit to the size and shape of nail you desire, place the silk wrap over the tip of your nail. 3. Using Light-Less Gel, squeeze a strip of gel down the middle of your nail and to the tip of the silk wrap. 4. With a brush (kit does not come with a brush, so a paint brush or an old and clean nail polish brush will work), spread the gel to cover the nail and the silk wrap. If you are fixing a chipped nail or extending your nail, brush a little of the gel underneath your nail to ensure it is secure on both sides. 5. Using the gel activator spray that comes in the kit, spray the entire nail, including the underside of the nail (pretty much wherever you put gel). 6. After a minute or two of spraying the curating spray, the gel should be set. Apply a second layer of gel and apply the activating spray again. 7. Depending on how you feel about the sturdiness of the gel and if you feel it is thick enough to hold up, you may need to apply a third layer. However, this may not necessarily need to be done. 8. You can now file and trim the nail as you see fit. 9. Using the nail buffer, buffer the top of your nail to get it nice and smooth. 10. Paint the nail with your choice of nail polish!

5. Fake nails - When the other methods just don't cut it

Sometimes, the nail just isn’t worth all the trouble. That’s when you resort (as a final resort) to fake nails. Depending on your nails, fake nails may not be an option. We're not all perfect. For instance, my thumb nail is the size of a big toe nail, which always proves to be tricky when it comes to putting on fake nails or nail tips. I also have a nail that has deep grooves in it, which would affect the fake nail sitting nicely on top of the nail. But if you are fortunate enough to have perfect, normal finger nails, then fake nails are convenient. Found in any store that sells nail polish, fake nails now come with more options than ever; some are already painted and decorated for you! This makes it a very easy method to fix a broken nail. They can also be reused after you grow the nail out, as long as you can get the nail glue cleanly off! As I said before in the superglue method, do not use the nail glue if you have never used it or if you are sensitive to reactions from chemicals. If you need to, swap out the nail glue for some superglue.

What you need:

Fake acrylic nail Nail glue Nail clippers/file Polish

1. Take off all polish on the nail. 2. If you can (if the break in the nail is not too close to the nail bed), clip the nail where the break is. 3. Using nail glue, coat the nail. 4. Take fake, acrylic nail (either plain or already decorated) and place on entire nail. If you are using full fake nails, the nail needs to cover the entire nail. These are not to be mistaken for nail tips, which require more materials. 5. Wait for the glue to set and dry. 6. If you did not use pre-decorated nails, paint your nail with your choice of polish.

Nails mean so much to us

Nails mean the world to us. Why else would we spend so much time and money on them? Good nails say a lot about a person--they make us look like put-together human beings, even if everything in our life is chaotic. When nails break, it affects us more than we would like to admit.

It can be both emotionally and physically painful for a nail to break.

Make sure your nails don't break

Take these precautionary measures to make sure you are keeping your nails, nail beds, and hands overall healthy! 1. Keep each and every nail clean and moisturized. 2. Avoid exposing your nails to harsh chemicals. When you are cleaning with harsh soaps or bleach or dying your hair or even working with pesticides outside, make sure you wear gloves to protect the nails. 3. Always have some kind of nail polish on, even it's a clear coat. 4. Rounded nails are less prone to breaks than pointy nails. The biggest reason that nails break is that they are dried out. It is essential in nail care to protect them and use lotion anytime you wash your hands, as water will dry nails out even more. And if a nail does break, NBD. Keep calm and patch on! Don't cry over a broken nail again with these nail "tips" (pun intended!)