DIY

Follow These Easy Steps To Fix A Broken Nail At Home — With Or Without Glue

Ariane Cooley LittleThings writer by Ariane Cooley
Ariane is a freelance writer for LittleThings.

I’m the kind of person who will always take special care on big occasions — holiday parties, birthday parties… any party, really — to look my best, and that includes getting my nails done. I take pride in my manicure and want to keep it looking its best for as long as I can. After all, I put a lot into each manicure that I get — I carefully choose what I want and spend a significant amount of time and money on it.

That’s why a broken nail is one of the last obstacles I want to hit while I’m finishing up my party prep. If this has happened to you, you know how frustrating it can be — it seems so minor, but it can seriously throw you off. Don’t despair! We’re here to help you fix that broken nail, or other little nail annoyances, so you won’t have to deal with the discomfort or trim off the length. Below are easy methods to fix a broken nail — or even to fake it.

Thumbnail Photo: Flickr

What Causes Nails To Break?

Peeling and broken nail

One of the most common reasons that nails break is that there is some external component weakening them, such as repeated wetting and drying. Broken nails are very common in the winter, when the humidity is low and the weather is dry.

Another cause of broken nails is harsh chemicals, detergents, cleaning fluids, or nail polish removers. If you spend a bunch of time scrubbing your house down without rubber gloves, your nails are more likely to crack! According to the American College of Osteopathic College of Dermatology, it is only very rarely that dry, brittle and splitting nails are caused by an internal factor such as a vitamin deficiency or an internal disease. You can determine this by examining your toenails. If toenails are strong and healthy and your fingernails are cracking, breaking, and splitting, then it is definitely because of an external component like the ones described above.

Trauma to the nail can also result in damage such as peeling, cracking, and breaking. Applying false or acrylic nails, or picking at peeling nail polish can all cause damage to your nail.

How To Fix A Broken Nail With Nail Glue

French manicure

There are many different ways to repair your broken nail, especially if it is just cracked and not completely broken off. Below, we’ve outlined a few of the ways to repair it with nail glue.

Method #1: A Tea Bag

Tea bag

According to Good Housekeeping, repairing a nail can require as little as a teabag. This method requires that your nails are bare, but it’s a great trick if you have a large break or crack you need to fix before getting another manicure. Here’s what you do:

  1. Start with clean, polish-free nails.
  2. Cut the tea bag to the length and width to cover the crack or break in your nail.
  3. Cover the crack or break with a little bit of nail glue.
  4. Carefully, perhaps using tweezers, place the teabag over the crack or break.
  5. Allow it to dry completely.
  6. Using a buffer, gently smooth out the surface of the nail.
  7. Apply a base coat and whatever polish color or nail art you would like!

Method #2: Silk Wraps

Long pink nails

A silk wrap is similar to the teabag method in that it reinforces your nail along the break so that you can polish and manicure it normally.  You can request it at your nail salon, or purchase it at Sally Beauty supply, according to Myblisskiss.com.

  1. Start with clean, polish-free nails.
  2. Clean the affected nail with rubbing alcohol.
  3. Lay the silk strip over your nail starting at the nail bed.
  4. Gently brush on nail glue over the top of the silk strip, covering the nail completely.
  5. Dip your nail into the nail powder provided in the kit.
  6. Gently brush away excess nail powder.
  7. Repeat steps 4 through 6.
  8. Cut away any excess silk wrap that hangs off of the end of your nail.
  9. File your nail to the desired shape.
  10. Gently buff away any bumps from the surface of your nail.
  11. Paint and polish as usual!
  12. This should remain strong through several polish changes.

Method #3: Fake Nails

Method #3: Fake Nails

If you break your natural nail, sometimes the easiest fix is to just apply acrylic nails over the break. You can purchase acrylic nail sets at any beauty supply store as an easy fix for longer, stronger nails.

  1. Start with clean, polish-free nails.
  2. Lightly brush on nail glue over the entire surface of your nail.
  3. Press the acrylic nail over your nail, covering the entire surface.
  4. Allow to dry.
  5. Polish and paint as usual!

Just make sure you do your research before starting — dermatologist Dr. Dana Stern urges you to learn the potential health risks before applying false nails.

How To Fix A Broken Nail Without Nail Glue

Floral nail design

Nail glue offers an easy fix for broken nails, using the methods above. But if you don’t have any handy, there are also tricks that don’t require it!

Method #1: Clear Nail Polish

Method #1: Clear Nail Polish

Sometimes all that you need to repair a crack is a fresh coat of clear polish. Reader’s Digest claims that clear nail polish can do everything from fix a broken windshield to hide scuff marks — it’s a multifaceted product!

  1. Get out your best, strongest topcoat. A clear nail hardener works as well.
  2. Brush the topcoat over the entire nail with even strokes, paying special attention to the crack or break.
  3. Allow to dry.
  4. Reapply several more times to add strength to the nail.

Method #2: Lightless Gel

Chipped nails

Many beauty outlets like Allure.com praise gel manicures for being long-lasting and basically chip-free. But Lightless gel claims to create the same effect of a gel manicure without a trip to the salon. It adds strength to your nail and can repair a crack, a break, or even reattach a piece that has broken off. It can also be purchased at any beauty supply store.

  1. Start with a clean, polish-free nail.
  2. Brush the gel on evenly, covering your entire nail surface.
  3. Spray the activating cure spray on over the nail, completely and evenly.  You may want to spray the underside of your nail as well.
  4. The cure spray will dry very hard.
  5. Apply a second layer of the gel and the cure spray.  If a third coat is desired, reapply.
  6. Buff and shape your nail.
  7. Polish and manicure as usual!

How To Fix A Chipped Nail

Filing nails

There are a few ways to fix a chipped nail without redoing your manicure.

  1. File away the chip: if it is small and on the edge of that nail, the simplest repair may be to just file it down a bit. SELF.com also recommends dabbing the chip with acetone-based nail polish remover prior to filing. Reapply a topcoat afterwards. Using a glass file instead of a metal or cardboard file will help minimize the risk of further damaging your nail.
  2. If you have the correct nail color, you can disguise a chip by blobbing on some extra nail polish, allowing it to dry, and then going back over it with a smooth layer of polish. Follow up with another layer of topcoat. You may want to reapply topcoat to your other nails as well to make sure that the look is even.

How To Prevent A Broken Nail

Rubber gloves to wash dishes

First and foremost, be gentle with your nails. When shaping and filing your nails, use a fine-grained nail file and avoid shaping them into points, as this can weaken the nail ends. When buffing your nail buff them gently in the direction that the nail grows. The Mayo Clinic recommends wearing cotton-lined rubber gloves when doing the dishes or when cleaning, to keep harsh detergents and chemicals away from your hands and nails. When using hand lotion, make sure to massage it into your cuticles as well.

According to the American Osteopathic College Of Dermatology, if your nails are consistently brittle and weak, consider adding biotin into your vitamin routine. Biotin is a vitamin supplement that aids in the growth and strength of nails, hair or skin.

Lastly, applying nail hardener to your nails may help keep them strong.  You may also want to consider applying the aforementioned silk wraps or fiber resin underneath your manicures to prolong the manicure.

If this article has helped you learn how to repair your nails or how to better care for them, please SHARE it with a loved one who would enjoy it as well!