Broken nails are a natural part of life if you like having long nails and acrylic manicures, but that doesn’t make them any less annoying! This article explores how to fix a broken acrylic nail, gel nail or natural nail, and when it’s better to just cut your loses and remove and file your length.
Paper Over Small Cracks… With A Teabag
The humble teabag is actually great to fix a broken acrylic nail. Cut a teabag so it covers the entire crack and use nail glue to seal it in. You will need to file your patch afterwards so it looks like the rest of your nails. Paint over it so it matches your manicure, or get an accent nail in a different style.
This fix works for small cracks that haven’t fully split the nail, and will tidy you over for a few days until you can remove your acrylics at home or see your nail technician. If you have broken your natural nail above the free edge you can also use a teabag to fix the crack until your nail grows enough to cut off the broken bit safely.
Fixing Broken Acrylic Nails
A broken acrylic nail is not only annoying, it can also be pretty painful! However, it is not so difficult to fix it yourself if you don’t fancy a visit to your nail salon for a new manicure. You do however need to keep in mind some basic health precautions to avoid damaging your natural nail or trapping bacteria or fungus under your acrylics. Here is the low down on how to fix a broken acrylic nail at home so your nail stops hurting.
Broken Acrylic Nail Below The Free Edge
If you have a broken acrylic nail that also affects your natural nail then you may not be able to repair it without actually removing that nail. First of all, get yourself some ice and a painkiller because that sort of breaks are really painful!
It does sound less than pleasant, but if you want to avoid an infection you should remove your acrylic nail fully to avoid infections. If your real nail is also broken or ripped you’d be inviting bacteria or fungus to enter the wound and cause an infection. So start with disinfecting the area very carefully first with water and soap, then with alcohol or skin disinfectant.
The reason why you shouldn’t apply another acrylic nail on top of a wound is that you risk trapping bacteria or fungus in between the acrylic and your natural nail, and end up with a green, infected nail. If your nail feels hot or you feel a throbbing pain that doesn’t go away, get yourself to a doctor in case there is an actual infection there.
Cracked Acrylic Nail But Natural Nail Is Fine
If your acrylic nail is broken, but your natural nail is not then you should be able to just cut and file the acrylic bit, as close as possible to the crack. If the crack is below the free edge, you can use acetone to remove the acrylic that is near the crack, leaving the tip of your natural nail visible. Be careful when you do this, as acetone on an open wound will sting!
Afterwards it really depends on what you want to achieve. You can prepare your natural nail and apply a form to extend the acrylic back to the length of your other nails. Or you can just leave that nail shorter or shorten all your other nails to match. If you aren’t experienced building acrylic nail extensions yourself, your best option is to get to a salon for a fix.
How To Repair A Broken Nail
If your natural nail has broken or you got a crack on it, you can fix it using a special kind of glue called nail glue. As its name indicates, this sort of glue is specifically designed to safely glue nails together and it’s a good thing to have in your nail art box for this sort of situations. You can repair a broken nail with nail glue in three steps.
1. Buff your nail, very very gently, around the crack. Don’t go overboard as you don’t want to make it worse.
2. Apply two or three layers of a quick drying nail glue and let it dry.
3. Paint on top with clear nail polish.
This is by no means a long term fix, but you can keep using glue in your nail until your natural nail is long enough to cut and file below the crack.
How To Fix Acrylic Nail That Has Lifted
If your acrylic just popped off your finger and still looks good, you can use nail glue to re-attach it to your nail. Sometimes installation isn’t perfect, and the nail is not fully adhered to the natural nail which means it can lift when you apply pressure to the tip.
Be very careful to avoid the new nail glue overflowing and getting all over your cuticles and fingers, but otherwise this is as easy a fix as it looks.
Broken Nail Bed? Disinfect It, and Then Fix Your Nail
How to fix a broken nail when the breakage reaches the nail bed? Start with making sure you disinfect the nail, and if you are bleeding (OUCH!) please don’t do anything until the bleeding has stopped and your finger is perfectly clean. This is to avoid trapping bacteria or fungus between your nail and the repair, which could lead to a serious infection.
If your nail is broken and nail glue is not cutting it, the best thing is to use a fake nail to cover and protect it until it grows. Press on nail sets are perfect for this, as they come already prepared with adhesive and won’t require you to use acetone on top of your (probably very tender) nail.
This is a quick fix for a broken nail that will last at least for around a week, at which point you can re-evaluate and either file your nails or apply another press-on nail to keep your broken nail protected. At the usual finger nail growth rate of 3.47 millimeters per month you shouldn’t need to do it for long, but you can give your nails a helping hand by having a protein and vitamin rich diet, and keeping them protected with gloves.
How to Fix a Broken Nail With Gel
You can use gel and a silk wrap to fix a broken nail in a more durable manner than using only nail glue or a teabag. If your nail is nearly fully cracked this method works nearly as well as covering with a press-on nail but you’ll need gel nail polish and a nail lamp.
Start by fixing the nail with nail glue, after wiping the crack clean with nail polish removed and very gently buffing with a nail file. You want a smooth surface that is clean of oil and any old polish. Afterwards follow these steps to fix the broken nail with gel and a piece of silk.
1. Apply a layer of clear gel polish over the nail, but don’t cure it.
2. Cut a piece of silk to the shape of your nail.
3. Smooth the piece of silk over the area, and cure the gel afterwards. The silk will keep the nail together and add a bit of strength to it once it dries down.
4. Once everything is dry, gently buff your nail again and follow with another coat of gel polish (clear or with any color you fancy).
This method to fix a broken nail will usually last for several weeks, but you should still trim and file the broken bit of nail as soon as it’s reasonable to avoid accidental snags.
If you don’t have gel nail polish and a lamp, you can achieve a similar effect with gel strips. They usually last less time than gel and a silk wrap, but it works great as a quick fix for broken nails.
You Can Also Fix A Broken Nail With Nail Dip Powder
If you have the materials to give yourself a dip manicure at home, you can fix a broken nail with them as well.
1. Start with cleaning and gently buffing the nail, then paint a layer of nail glue over the crack.
2. Sprinkle nail powder on top of the glue while it’s wet, and wait for it to dry.
3. Repeat the above steps a few times, until you have two or three layers on top of the crack.
4. Finish with your favourite glue-drying spray and then buff the finished nail with a buffing block.
The end result is similar to a dip manicure in terms of durability, but be careful as your nail will still be fragile until you grow out the break.
Can I Add A Coat Of Nail Polish To Disguise The Fix?
If you have used a teabag or similar to fix a broken nail, you can definitely paint over it with regular nail polish. This will disguise the patch until your nail grows long enough to cut it.
Can I Fix A Broken Nail With Super Glue?
Despite the widely different target audiences, super glue and nail glue are very similar chemically and you can use it (very carefully) to fix a broken nail using the teabag method. Use brush on superglue as that’s much easier to handle, and avoid getting it on your skin or cuticles as you may developer allergies.
My Acrylic Nail Break All The Time, What Am I Doing Wrong?
Having a broken acrylic every so often is quite common, but if it’s happening TOO often that means you need to work out why and change your habits. Acrylic extensions, particularly very long ones, may look very strong but are actually fragile and can pull or crack the natural nail easily. A few things to keep in mind if you want to avoid your acrylic tips breaking are:
- Use gloves when doing dishes and avoid water getting under your fake nails, this will reduce the chances for fungal or bacterial growth.
- Do not use your nails as tools, to open cans, scratch things or anything that puts pressure on the tip of the nail.
- Give your nails a rest between applications. Nails can become very thin if you have acrylics back to back due to the filing process.
In order to avoid broken nails and prevent this from happening again, it pays to keep them moisturised and taking care of them properly. File away any small snags as soon as you notice them, and apply a cuticle oil regularly to keep them flexible and moisturised. To avoid a broken acrylic nail be careful and don’t use your nails as tools to open cans or scratch things, and get them removed and reapplied regularly so there is enough natural nail under the acrylic to lend it strength.