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How to Fix a Broken Nail: 5 Ways to Save Your Manicure from the Clippers
Kerkez/Getty Images

Nails break, split and tear all the time. We get that. But the most heartbreaking part is having uneven lengths on your gorgeous new manicure. Luckily, we have more than a few tricks up our sleeve for temporarily repairing your nail without trimming it down. Here’s are five ways to fix a broken nail.

1. How to Fix a Broken Nail Using a Tea Bag

What you need: Base coat, a dry paper tea bag, small scissors, a superfine file, color polish and topcoat.

Step 1: Cut the top off the tea bag and empty its contents. Then cut a small rectangular section out of the paper to fit the exact width and length of your nail tear. (Some people cover the whole nail, but we prefer smaller patches.)

Step 2: Apply base coat over the entire nail. While it's still wet, place the patch over the tear and lightly press down to secure it in place. Seal it in with one more layer of base coat (the tea bag should look transparent now). Allow it to dry completely before taking your file and gently removing any excess paper so that it’s flush with the nail.

Step 3: Paint two coats of color polish over the patch job and finish up with a swipe of topcoat.

Watch a tutorial

 

2. How to Fix a Broken Nail Using Glue

What you need: Strong nail glue, a nail file, base coat, color polish and topcoat.

Step 1: Lightly (seriously, lightly) buff the surface of your nail to remove any excess dirt or oils.

Step 2: If your nails are long enough, apply a small amount of glue to the back of the nail before dabbing some onto the front as well. If not, just apply to the front and gently press the broken section to firmly connect it with the rest of your nail.

Step 3: Once the glue has dried completely, take that file again and smooth out any lumps or bumps on the top of your nail.

Step 4: Apply a base coat over the entire nail, followed by color, then topcoat and you’ll be good to go.

Watch a tutorial

 

3. How to Fix a Broken Nail Using Dip Powder

What you need: Nail glue, natural-hued dip powder, a nail dust brush (a clean eye shadow brush will do), seal protectant, a buffing block, base coat, color polish and topcoat.

Step 1: Follow steps one through three above using your nail glue and file.

Step 2: Apply base coat over the nail. While the base is still wet, dip your entire nail into the powder. Brush off any excess and let it dry completely.

Step 3: Repeat this process two or three more times.

Step 4: Apply a seal protectant to finish the dip powder process. Once this has dried completely, use the buffing block to gently smooth out the surface of your nail and remove any stickiness.

Step 5: Finish with base coat, color and topcoat.

Watch a tutorial

 

4. How to Fix a Broken Nail Using Press-On Nails

What you need: Press-on nails, a buffing block, rubbing alcohol, cotton balls and a nail file.

Step 1: Arrange and organize your press-on nails so they are sized and in the order in which you will apply them (this is most relevant if you’re using them for all 10 nails rather than just the one broken nail).

Step 2: Very gently buff your nail to smooth the surface. Then wipe each with rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball to remove excess dirt and oil. 

Step 3: Peel the sticker off the back of the false nail and press it down onto your real nail, making sure it sits as close to your nail bed as possible. Hold it down for 20 seconds before applying the next press-on. (Pro tip: Always apply your thumb nails last.)

Step 4: Wait until the press-on nails have completely set (this may be a few hours or even overnight) to file or trim them.

Watch a tutorial

 

5. How to Fix a Broken Nail By Filing or Trimming It (Because Sometimes You Just Have To)

What you need: Nail clippers and a superfine nail file.

Step 1: Clip all of your nails using straight-edge clippers (better for getting into those side corners) so that they are at a fairly even length. (Psst, always follow the 90-10 rule when trimming your nails, which means cutting 90 percent of the excess nail and then filing the extra 10 percent.)

Step 2: File in one direction at a time (not back and forth which can potentially cause more damage) until your nails are smooth and even.

Watch a tutorial

RELATED: From Price to Quality to Longevity: Here’s Your Official Guide to Every Type of Manicure

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