How to Fix Your Broken Nail at Home

Well now you’ve done it. You broke a fingernail. You don’t want to cut it off because then you’ll have one stumpy nail and it’ll look and feel weird.  Let me show you how to fix that broken nail.

A woman's fingernail being lifted up with a nailfile at the point that it's broken.

Here’s the scenario:  You’re about to embark on a weekend filled with glamorous activities including going to the theatre, attending an art gallery opening, shopping for a new Mercedes, getting custom fit for a wig made out of hair sheared from a cross between a Himalayan Yak and Goldilocks, followed by drinks with a one eyed Count, and shopping for solid gold polo ponies.

Then you break a nail.

Now what?  Your manicurist is having her elbows liposuctioned and her assistant is doing a week long “cleanse” that’s left her incapacitated and confined to one specific room in her house. Also – pandemic.

Well lady, you’re gonna have to repair your own nail.  Buck up.  You’ll be throwing your head back in fake laughter at any one of your upcoming events in no time.

So long as you follow these steps to fix that crack or break.

If you want your nail polish to last FOREVER, use an LED light. They actually do work and the work well. Read this post I did a while ago on where to buy and how to use one.  I use an LED light with either shellac, or gel nailpolish.


How to Fix a Broken Nail

(if you’re bendy enough you can use this same technique to fix a cracked toenail.)

  1. Gather this stuff. Scissors, superglue, a teabag, tweezers and a nail file. (also a buffer if you have one)

Everything you need to fix a broken nail laid out on a wood table including scissors, glue and a teabag.

 

2. Cut your tea bag to the size of the nail bed that’s broken.  In my case it’s the teeny, tiny pinkie nail.

A small circle of teabag set in the palm of a hand.

 

3. Apply a small drop of Super Glue to your nail.

The tip of a small superglue bottle on a woman's pinkie fingernail.

 

Like so.

One drop of superglue on a woman's small fingernail in preparation for a nail repair.

 

4. Swish it around your nail so it covers the whole thing.

The tip of a small bottle of superglue being used to disperse a thin layer of glue on nail.

 

5. Using your tweezers, place the tea bag on your nail bed.

A small piece of teabag is held by tweezers over a fingernail.

 

It’s a bit messy but that’s O.K.  It’s all getting covered up.  Also, if your break is a bit further up on the nail than mine, you can cut your tea bag slightly larger so you can wrap the tea bag onto the underside of the nail as well, creating a stronger mend.  My break was right down to the quick so this technique couldn’t be used.

 

A teabag glued on top of a fingernail to repair it, looking a bit messy.

 

6. Grab your Super Glue again and put another drop of glue on.  Spread it around.

Tip of a superglue bottle apply a drop to a fingernail with a teabag on it for repair.

 

Now your broken nail is technically mended.  Kind of like fibreglassing a boat.

A pinkie nail mid repair after a teabag and 2 coats of glue have been applied.

 

7. Using a buffing stone if you have one, buff the nail smooth once your glue is dry.  Do this gently, you don’t want to tear through the tea bag.

The rough, smoothing side of a nail buffer.

 

8. Follow up with the polishing side to make your nail bed as smooth as you can get it.

The shining side of a nail buffer.

 

9. Apply a coat of clear nailpolish to only the mended nail.  While you’re at it, do your best to avert your eyes from the horror of your cuticles. 

Applying a base coat of clear nail polish to a repaired fingernail.

 

10. Once it’s dry, apply another coat to the mended nail, plus the rest of your nails.  You’ll therefore end up with 2 coats of base on the mended nail.  This will help make it smoother for your nail polish application.

Two coats of clear polish on a nail repaired with a teabag.

 

11. Apply whatever nail polish you think will be The Count’s favourite.  If he is the much sought after one-eyed Count, you can probably get away with only putting nail polish on one hand.   Resume your super glamorous activities as planned.  Phew.  Disaster and embarrassment averted.

A woman's hand with white nail polish resting on a wood surface.

How long does a broken nail take to heal?

First of all nails don’t heal. As much as we’d like them to a broken nail can’t magically heal itself like skin can. 

Nails take a month to grow 3-4 mm.  If you took 2 sticks of dry spaghetti and stacked them they would be around 4mm wide.

If your nail has fallen off completely it’ll take 6 months for it to fully grow back.

How do you fix a broken nail without glue?

If you don’t happen to have crazy glue or nail glue around there are 2 other ways you can fix the nail.

  1. Instead of sticking the tea bag with glue, use regular clear nailpolish. It won’t be as strong as the glue, but it will do a good job of making the tea bag stick.

Just apply a base coat of clear polish to your nail where the crack is, place the tea bag on top, and coat with clear polish again.  

TIP

This above technique with nail polish will work even better if you use gel polish and cure it under a UV light.

2. If you’re just looking to make your nail last a few days you can also stick a fake nail on top of it.

How to Fix a Broken Nail.

How to Fix a Broken Nail.

Fix a broken nail with a teabag and glue. This fix will last 1-2 weeks while your nail grows out.

Materials

  • Scissors
  • superglue
  • a teabag
  • tweezers
  • nail file
  • nail buffer

Instructions

  1. Gather this stuff. Scissors, superglue, a teabag, tweezers and a nail file. (also a buffer if you have one)
  2. Cut your tea bag to the size of the nail bed that’s broken.  In my case it’s the teeny, tiny pinkie nail.
  3. Apply a small drop of Super Glue to your nail.
  4. Swish it around your nail so it covers the whole thing.
  5. Using your tweezers, place the tea bag on your nail bed.
  6. Grab your Super Glue again and put another drop of glue on.  Spread it around.
  7. Using a buffing stone if you have one, buff the nail smooth once your glue is dry.  Do this gently, you don’t want to tear through the tea bag.
  8. Follow up with the polishing side to make your nail bed as smooth as you can get it.
  9. Apply 2 coats of clear nail polish to the mended nail.
  10. Apply colour polish.

Notes

It’s a bit messy but that’s O.K.  It’s all getting covered up.  Also, if your break is a bit further up on the nail than mine, you can cut your tea bag slightly larger so you can wrap the tea bag onto the underside of the nail as well, creating a stronger mend.  My break was right down to the quick so this technique couldn’t be used.

Your mended nail will last and look good for weeks!  Unless you’re a peasant and partake in things like cleaning up chicken coops.

A woman's hand using an old rusted pan to scoop up shavings in a chicken coop.

 

If, in addition to chicken coop cleaning, you also partake in gardening, building, mixed martial arts, dish washing, and general real life stuff, your nails will probably look a little more like this after the weekend.

Fingers displaying an absolutely mangled, chipped, mess of a manicure after a few days.

(unless of course you’re using the magical LED light in which case your nails don’t even chip for weeks)

Notice however, how the mended pinkie nail is still in (relatively) perfect condition.   In my opinion, by and large, these hands are still perfectly acceptable for a night out with royalty.  Provided the royals are drunk.

And blind.

And don’t have any sort of intuitive cognitive abilities.
 

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How to Fix Your Broken Nail at Home