How to repair broken nails in an emergency


Have you ever been ready for a night out – with say maybe 10 minutes left to spare – only to discover that you’ve broken a nail? It’s probably one of the worse feelings out there because you know that you’ve got no chance of getting it fixed in time.

Yet what if there was another way to solving this problem other than waiting to make a nail appointment? What if you could repair it yourself?

Top tips for repairing broken nails

If visiting a beauty salon is not an option, or you simply haven’t got the cash to get your nails done again; then there are a couple of tricks you can try in the event of an emergency.

Now if it is just cracked and has not completely broken off, then you can try the following:

Tip One: A Tea Bag

Crazy I know, but according to Good Housekeeping you can use a tea bag to repair large breaks or cracks. Admittedly, this can only be performed on bare nails; however if they are prone to being brittle then this trick could help before you get another manicure.

  1. Once your nails are clear of nail polish, cut a tea bag to the length and width of your cracked/broken nail.
  2. Cover the crack/break with a little bit of nail glue and then using tweezers, place the tea bag over the crack.
  3. Leave to dry completely.
  4. Next, use a buffer to smooth out the surface of your nail and finish by applying a base coat.
  5. Once done, you will be able to decorate your nail with any colour/nail art that you fancy.

Tip Two: Silk Wraps

Similar to the teabag technique, silk wraps can be used to reinforce your nail along the break so that you can then polish and manicure it like normal. Nail salons do offer this treatment; however, you can replicate it yourself at home by purchasing them online.

  1. Start with bare, nail polish free nails.
  2. Rub the affected part of your nail with rubbing alcohol and lay a piece of silk strip over it. NOTE: this should start from your nail bed.
  3. Next gently apply nail glue, until you’ve completely covered your nail.
  4. Dip you nail into the nail powder (you will find this in the kit alongside the silk wraps) and brush away the excess.
  5. Repeat again e.g. apply nail glue over your whole nail; dip in nail powder and wipe of the excess.
  6. File your nail down to your desired shape, before gently buffing to remove any bumps off the surface.
  7. Paint and polish your nail like normal.

Tip Three: Apply Fake Nails

An oldie – but a goodie – is applying fake acrylic nails. Not only can they cover your entire broken/cracked nail, but you can buy pre-decorated sets for your whole hand. If however, you fancy painting them from scratch, you can do the following:

  1. Start with polish-free nails, before lightly covering them with nail glue. Press the acrylic nail over the top. NOTE: make sure the acrylic nail covers the entire nail surface.
  2. Allow to completely dry and then paint as normal.

Tip Four: Clear Nail Polish

Did you know that it is possible to fix broken nails without nail glue? This tip is a prime example of an easy fix. For instance, if you’ve got a simple crack you can simply apply clear nail polish as a quick fix.

  1. Get a strong topcoat – clear nail hardeners work best – and brush a topcoat over your entire nail. Make sure you do this in even strokes and that you pay particular attention to your crack/nail break.
  2. Leave to dry.
  3. Apply several more times to help strengthen your nail.

Tip Five: Lightless Gel

Whilst many salons claim to create long-lasting, chip-free manicures, life has proven that this isn’t always the case. Yet there is hope…

According to beauty therapists Lightless gel can achieve the same effect of a gel manicure – and it is something you can do from the comfort of your own home. Lightless Gel can supposedly strengthen nails; repair cracks/breaks and can even reattach broken off pieces of nail.

Available from most beauty suppliers, all you need to do is the following:

  1. Begin with a polish-free nail, before evenly brushing on the gel and making sure you cover the entire nail.
  2. Spray the activating cure spray all over your nail, being careful to keep it even. Tip: spray the underside of your nail too.
  3. Leave to dry until hard, before applying a second layer of the gel and the cure spray.
  4. Buff and shape your nail to its desired shape, and finish by applying polish.

Is there a way to fix a chipped nail without starting your manicure from scratch?

Admittedly, all of the tips listed above, require you starting out with a polish-free nail.

Now, if you’re stuck in the situation I mentioned at the beginning – with no time to spare to start your nails again – it is possible to fix a chipped nail, without having to redo it all.

Here’s how:

  1. If the chip is small or on the edge of your nail; the easiest fix is to file it down a bit. Afterwards dab on some acetone-based nail polish and then reapply a top coat. TIP: use a glass file to reduce the risk of additional damage.
  2. If you’ve done your nails yourself or have got access to the correct nail colour, then you can hide your chip by covering it with some extra nail polish. Leave it to dry before applying another layer as a topcoat. TIP: add a topcoat to all of your nails so they look even.

Now best thing – above all of these tips – is learning how to prevent a broken nail from occurring in the first place. Not only will this save you time and money – from buying nail glue, acrylic nails or paying for salon appointments – it will also stop any last minute stress-outs.

The first step is simply remembering to be gentle with your nails. They are not indestructible and will break/crack if they are pushed too far. For this reason, when you are shaping and filing your nails, we recommend using a fine-grained nail file. This will allow you to control the shaping process without causing any unwanted chips.

Second, don’t file them into points. This may be the current style, but this kind of shaping can weaken your nail ends. Instead, if you really want the pointy nail look, use fake acrylic nails.

Third, when buffing your nail remember to do it gently and in the direction that your nail grows.

Fourth, wearing cotton lined rubber gloves when you are washing or cleaning can protect your nails and skin from the harsh effects of detergents and chemicals.

Fifth, when applying hand lotion, try massaging this cream into your cuticles as well. This can improve their overall health and strength.

Sixth, if your nails are prone to being brittle and weak, adding biotin onto your list of vitamin supplements can help your nails, hair and skin to grow healthy and strong.

Now, if you are really determined to protect your nails – or you simply love the idea of learning more about nail art – then there is another route you can try: online beauty therapy courses via Association of Learning

Many of these offer modules that are purely dedicated to nail care and can really teach you a lot on how to protect them. As an added bonus, they can also show you all the latest nail art techniques – perfect.