How to Fix a Broken Nail. (DIY)

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 your nail breaks.

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.

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 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.
 

→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←

 

How to Fix a Broken Nail. (DIY)

128 Comments

  1. Hi Karen,
    I never sit still, either I am cooking in the kitchen for the next Vegan recipe, or working in the yard working on my next project. I’m always behind in my head schedule. So this post was great to me, my nails are very thin and I always break them, now I may not use white polish on my next nail but the clear was a great. Thanks for this post I enjoyed it very much. Gary

  2. Jill Southworth says:

    Brilliant. Used dryer sheets work fabulously too.

  3. Teresa says:

    Great idea, but was wondering if a coffee filter would work as well or be too thick? I know for coffee drinkers that would be a sacrilege, but my husband bought a permanent filter for his coffee and I don’t drink coffee so I have lots of filters not being used at the moment.

  4. Melissa says:

    Superglue also works great on your face when the shovel you were using to pry up a root springs back and smacks you in the mouth. Not even a scar!🥴

  5. Mary W says:

    I garden. My hands are in dirt and gloves just don’t cut it for me. I’ve found washing my hair gets the grime from my fingernails without even thinking but the big question is WHAT ABOUT MY TOES? I’m not bendy enough for them to reach my head to help wash my hair. Dirt goes right through socks and into shoes easily. So of course my toe nails are disgusting. Soak in bleach? Go to nail salon? HELP? I don’t paint my toe nails since I’m the only one that ever sees them but it is still gross. I keep them cut but still the corners are, well, growing seedlings. Surely, as a fellow-ess gardner, you experience the same grossness?

    • Karen says:

      I just scrub em with a nail brush! And use whatever else I can to maintain them, but I’m admittedly bendy. When my hands or feet are really bad I soak them in really hot water with a bit of Oxiclean in it. Just for a minute or so. That’s all you need. ~ karen!

  6. Josie says:

    Hi Karen, first of all let me say I LOVE your blog and look forward to reading it. When I saw the photo of your nails they look just like mine, ridges and weak. I did purchase the LED nail light you recommended as well as the gel polish and top coat. I was very pleased with the outcome. I like this tip for fixing a torn nail. I have a nail that has a ridge and reddish line down the center. As well as unsightly, it’s painful when something gets caught on it and the one half of the nail lifts. I’m going to try this tip. Thank you!

  7. Tommi says:

    I love your writing style! Thank you for your tips, and your wit. 💖

  8. Cassandra says:

    Karen, your personality is everything!
    I loved the advice, and your fun attitude.
    I had forgotten about the tea bag, and when my nails (two of them!) broke below the quick I just glued them. This weekend my husband is surprising me with a trip to Atlantic City, that’s not the surprise, but the hotel and concert are, and I want to look amazing for him, plus he loves his back scratched!
    Loving you from afar!
    Cassandra

  9. Your biggest fan says:

    Your wit is hilarious. I am sitting in a hotel currently where people buy solid gold polo ponies (on credit) and I busted out laughing. Very uncouth of me. I actually tore by big toenail so the tips will be used, but I will read your other blogs just for the humor value – THANK YOU!! :-)

  10. salit2 says:

    cant wait to try this.. How did you know exactly what was happening with all included?

  11. Carlyn says:

    Is there another way of mending your nails without using super glue? Can regular glue work?

  12. Lolita Davis says:

    Karen, the fix is great but your writing is fabulous. You are hilarious! I am reading this first thing in the morning for a quick nail fix and your article started my day out on a funny note. Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hey Lolita. Thanks! That’s what I’m here for. To make you laugh and fix the odd problem. Not that having a broken nail is odd, but … you know what I mean. ~ karen!

  13. BARBARA CRANE says:

    I love your site. This is a good idea….. but seriously Karen you need to tend to your cuticles ASAP!! I keep a couple of shot glasses of organic virgin coconut oil around the house (bed, kitchen, bath). My Mom, who was a long time manicurist, used to remind me all the time “a healthy nail comes from a healthy cuticle”. I can hear her now…

  14. Kali says:

    Thank you for this post! My nail ripped down the center. And it keeps snagging. It gives me that “finger nails on the chalkboard” feeling.

  15. Raven says:

    I love your nail fix soo much!! I live in northern Indiana…the winter weather has been so harsh
    this year so far and last year at this time. Sub-degree weather REALLLLLY wreaks havoc on
    everyone’s nails that I know of. Talk about *Eeep!* For sure!
    Unfortunately, I too am quite ferocious on my nails. Breaks galore!

    ~Raven

  16. laurel says:

    ta for the superglue confirmation.
    its what I used to use some 30yrs ago:-) with tissue or cig papers
    musta been a smart kid back then.
    meeting a special bloke for n yrs after 4 yrs emails:-0
    and yup ripped halfway across a long thumbnail this arvo
    Ive added to your method by sprinkling some acrylic powder over the bonded area and also making sure the underside was glued too
    its a nasty rip but just far enough up, to be able to slide teabag under n wrap.
    its less smooth but I figure a gentle buffing wil sort that out enough for polish to hide it:-)
    hassle is I was and will be picking mulberries
    and reckon I will be forced to wear purple polish for weeks:-)
    the nail was stained and getting the area cleaned without ripping more wasn’t possible:-(

    what is it with nails?
    I can do carpentry garden and all sorts of work that should destroy em
    and yet managed to rip this on a poly sack while chipping rock salt!
    rrgh

    thanks for the site and your humour:-) merry xmas and a Happy new year 2015

    • Karen says:

      Eep. That’s a bad break. The fix doesn’t always look perfect (at all) but it always works well enough to hold it until it grows out a fair bit. Hope you had a good Christmas too! ~ karen

  17. Yvonne says:

    I will SO try this, i botched a ingrown nail home remedy – it worked initially on my big toe nail and i was all happy, but then the nail started to split right in the middle, and i caught it on my carpet today and one half is now split almost all the way back – have it fixed with a bandaid right now, but will try your approach tonight, after work..it will take a while to grow out, so i guess i’ll reapply it . i have a lot of “open toe” events going on in the next couple of weeks, this will be my life safer!

  18. Jessie says:

    Try the Lady Soma Skin and Nail Cream – it has really helped my cracked nails and flaky cuticles. After 1 week I noticed a big difference – My daughter uses the creme on the cuticles of her feet and is amazed how well its worked on her cuticles.

  19. Essence says:

    OMG! you are truly a life saver! Thank you so much for this… I wouldn’t have came up with it.

  20. This is one of the best posts I’ve read in a while. Love your humor! That is exactly how my nails would look after the weekend, but great tip for a broken nail none the less!

  21. beckinstein says:

    Oh one question- sorry if you’ve already covered it, the comments are plentiful. Should I trim my nail down before I do this, or is it OK to leave it long? Thanks again!

  22. beckinstein says:

    Great directions, helpful photos and very amusing! What more can you ask for? Thanks for this, I just tore my pinkie nail a good bit down into the nail bed. Hurts and also damn! My longest nail! Hopefully this will help from the tear spreading across the whole nail bed and causing serious problems. :)

    • Karen says:

      You’re right Beckinstein. You couldn’t ask for much more. Except maybe french fries. Good luck with the nail! ~ karen

  23. Nancy says:

    A used dryer sheet works too.

  24. Chrissy says:

    I am going on a Cruise in 10 days and I have been working hard on growing my nail. Two days ago I cracked one of them. I put a band aid on it to keep from ripping it off but I knew that was not going to work. So I googled how to mend a broken nail and this page come up. I just did it and it seems to be working great. Thank you so much. Of course I had to share it on FB for all my friends.

  25. this post is so well written! t’was an absolute delight to read. oh, and of the course the info is super helpful, so that um…helps too :p thank you!

    xoxo
    twee & honey

  26. Chris says:

    Hmmmmm, there’s a whole lotta red green (ie duct tape forever) attached to this solution which is fantastic!

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