How to Fix a Broken Nail at Home — Expert Tips

Nail, Nail polish, Lip, Pink, Manicure, Nail care, Red, Skin, Cosmetics, Beauty,


The dreaded broken nail. It can ruin a day and alter a well-planned outfit. The good news is that with a few hacks, a bit of patience, and some expert tips, it doesn’t have to completely upend your manicure. Chances are, you have all the essentials needed to repair a broken nail within reach. If not, no biggie, not all is lost.

First thing first: It’s important to take proper care to prevent infection and treat the wound. It may sound overly dramatic, but a broken nail should be looked after similar to a cut on the skin. We reached out to Dr. Dana Stern, a dermatologist specializing in nail care, to discuss what exactly you should be doing to repair your broken nails. Ahead, Dr. Stern, MD, shares her best tips and tricks for combatting broken nails. Plus, we included some of the best YouTube tutorials for the different methods of broken nail care.

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Clean Slate

Even if the tear in your nail isn’t super deep or there’s no sign of blood, it’s important to carefully clean and disinfect the area first using an alcohol swab, hydrogen peroxide, or antiseptic cream. This will keep the area from becoming infected and also help to remove excess oils from the nail bed, which can keep the polish you’ll apply later from setting properly.

Check out this step-by-step for both deep or shorter nail breaks.

Neosporin + Pain Relief Cream,



The Tea Bag Method

Step 1: Clip the broken nail as close to the fingertip as you can.

Step 2: Using a glass or crystal file, gently file any snags, but be sure to avoid the split itself.

Step 3: Trim a tea bag or paper coffee filter to the size of a small patch that can cover the break in the nail.

Step 4: Paint the broken nail with a generous coat of clear polish.

Step 5: While the clear polish is tacky, use a pair of tweezers to gently place the trimmed tea bag/coffee filter over the broken part of the nail. Press the patch into place using the tip of the tweezer.

Step 6: Allow it to dry. Then cover the nail with one or two more coats of clear polish.

Step 7: After the clear polish has dried you can polish with the color of your choice to camouflage the teabag.


Mending With Glue

Dr. Stern, MD, is not a fan of nail glue as most contain acrylates. “Acrylates are chemicals that commonly cause irritant and allergic dermatitis,” she explains. Acrylates are common culprits of these skin reactions, so much so they were named Contact Allergen of the year in 2012 by The American Contact Dermatitis Society. Who knew there was such a thing?

If you think glue is the only option for you, please proceed with caution and make sure you don’t have any allergies.


The Fake Out

Au natural is great, but when it comes to breakage sometimes you’ve got to fake it until you make it. This tutorial will show you how to easily apply and rock a full fake nail and make it look natural.


The Gel Silk Method

When in doubt, grab a silk wrap. The silk wrap, which comes in liquid and pre-cut strips, will bind to the nail like a band-aid or first aid wrap. Top with a coat of gel nail polish to reaffirm the bandage and provide extra protection. It’s that simple. Don’t believe us, watch this video.

ORLY Nail Armor Liquid Wrap, $8.29,



The Dip Powder Method

If the crack in question interferes with your dip powder mani, this tutorial gives you a step-by-step fix. This process involves applying nail glue over the spot where the nail is broken, before prepping the area for the dip powder. Next, you’ll add two to three layers of the base to cover the entire nail plate. Then, you’ll finish off with seal protect to harden the area, before finalizing the nail with the desired polish.

Kiara Sky Lightweight Dip Powder, $18.99,


Kiara Sky Dip Powder Seal Protect, $10.85,



The Household Approach

In a process that’s similar to using a tea bag or dip powder, this tutorial shows how utilizing household items can repair a broken nail. For this quick fix, you’ll need hydrogen peroxide, nail glue, baking soda, a toothpick, a towel, and a nail file. Looks like a trip to the corner store is just what the manicurist ordered.


Preventative Tips and Products

Broken nails could signal that it’s time to cut them. “Keep nails shorter,” Dr. Stern advises. “Shorter nails are less likely to split and snag.” Also, invest in some smart nail care tools like a glass or crystal file. “Glass files don’t cause the microscopic tears in the nail that typical emery boards do,” Dr. Stern adds.

OPI Crystal Nail File, $12,


Bona Fide Beauty Glass Nail File, $9.99,


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