How To Fix A Broken Nail At Home

Mary WroblewskiAug. 12, 2022 4:45 pm EST880

This is no time to debate the details. A broken nail is hanging in the balance. Let other people debate which has the stronger hold: nail glue or Super Glue. The products are similar, though nail glue may have the edge (via Glue Aid). The most important thing is learning the technique for repairing a broken nail. Then you can carry the basic lesson to other repair methods. 

At this point, you know what doesn't work. It doesn't work (for long) to simply cover the break in clear nail polish, nor does it work to coat the nail and then conceal it under a bandage until it grows back.

Instead, you should first wash your hands and wipe them dry. Then, according to Healthline, run the broken nail under warm water until it's soft. (The pliability will make it easier to work with.) Squeeze a very thin layer of glue right over the break in your nail. Then press the broken piece back into place, holding it there for at least one minute until it doesn't budge. Remove any excess glue with a cotton swab. Then, file the nail, wait for the glue to cure, and apply two thin layers of clear polish.

After building confidence from this procedure, you can start having fun with nail repairs. And who would have thought that a fun nail repair would be hanging in the balance? Nevertheless, there are many more ways you can mend your nail.

Make a repair with a bonding agent

Fixing a broken nail by applying a bonding agent first might start you mulling the possibilities. Some of the more common agents include silk wrap (found in store-bought nail repair kits) and transparent office tape (via Healthline). If you can cut a piece of clear packing tape down to size, it might be worth a try. It holds heavy boxes closed, so you can't beat the bond.

In the meantime, you can apply the same fix-it-yourself concept to a tea bag. If it's sturdy enough to withstand boiling water, you're right to harbor high hopes for using it on your nail. Shape makes it clear that the most time-consuming task will probably be cutting a tea bag segment in the right size to cover the break, plus a little more. But this could be part of the charm of this project, too.

First, cover your nail with a thin layer of glue. Then place the small tea bag segment over the nail. Lock the segment in place by brushing on another coat of glue — a process that might remind you of the découpage projects from your childhood. It's the same process.

As you might remember, once the second coat dries, you may feel compelled to build a third layer. You'll have to judge how bad the break is. But after three layers, the nail should be sufficiently fortified. Buff your nail before you show off your handiwork with rightful pride.

Keep your nails growing strong

It's unlikely that you're always going to have the time to properly fix a broken nail. And as luck often has it, nails tend to break when you're rushing. Special occasions, when you're making a real effort to look your best, are often when a broken nail can help keep you humble.

Press-on nails are made for situations like these. As long as you pick a nail shape that most closely resembles your own, no one should be wiser to the fact that you've "fixed" your broken nail by wearing a fake one.

But if you're a tried-and-true natural nail lover, you're probably watching the recovering nail carefully. You can't wait for it to fully grow back. Some common-sense tactics suggested by Healthline should help, like wearing rubber gloves when you use cleaning products, keeping hand sanitizer off your nails (because it can dry them out and make them brittle), and maintaining shorter nails. 

Of course, if they're short, you may not be able to use them for mechanical tasks, like opening the tab of a soup can. And this bodes well for fewer chips and breaks. One of the best ways to improve the health of your nails is to file them in one direction — up or down, to the left or to the right. Moving the file back and forth can actually harm nails (via Beautician List). And before you know it, another broken nail could be hanging in the balance.