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Tips on Broken Tips — Our Guide for Fixing Broken Nails

Nothing’s quite as frustrating as a broken nail — it’s uncomfortable and ruins the DIY manicure you spent hours on. Plus, broken nails can snag on hair and clothing and become even worse. 

Let’s combat this small yet mighty inconvenience by learning how to fix a broken nail and exploring ways to prevent future breaks.

October 25, 2022
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Woman showing her nails
Table of Contents

Why nails break

Nails break for many reasons. The most likely culprit is clumsiness — hitting your nail on something hard can cause it to chip or crack. 

If your nails are breaking, flaking, and cracking without any impact, you may have an iron or vitamin deficiency. It’s worth chatting to your doctor about the breakage and getting blood work done. 

Nails are also more absorbent than skin, making them susceptible to chemical and water damage. While they shouldn’t be dried out and brittle, it’s also not good if they’re soft and tearable. Chemicals like the acetone in nail polish remover strips them of necessary moisture, but working with a lot of water has the same effect. 

Nails can also get infected, making them weaker and prone to breakage. To avoid infections, wash your hands regularly and avoid pushing your cuticles back too often. 

How to fix a cracked nail

No matter the reason for the break, nail cracks and chips are uncomfortable and worth fixing ASAP. If your nail’s bleeding, treat it as you would any other wound and bandage it, waiting until the bleeding has stopped and the healing process is underway before trying to repair the nail. 

Here are some broken nail repair methods for both natural and fake nail breaks. 

Tea bags and coffee filters

This hack uses the mesh in a tea bag or coffee filter to make a patch to polish over.

  1. Clip the nail close to the fingertip.
  2. Use a nail file to gently remove any snags.
  3. Trim an empty mesh tea bag to fit the split.
  4. Apply a generous coat of clear polish to your nail. 
  5. Use tweezers to place the tea bag over the break and press it in while the polish is still wet. 
  6. Once the first coat is dry, apply 1–2 coats of clear polish on top. 
  7. Once dried, apply your favorite nail polish to camouflage the tea bag.

Nail glue

Use nail glue to repair a break in your artificial nails. Simply apply a thin line to the broken piece and reattach it, holding for about a minute. Only use glue designed for nails — never use super glue on your nails or skin. 

Fake nails

If you’ve broken a natural nail, place a fake nail on top to cover up the break until it grows out. Make sure to keep fake nail adhesive out of any open nail break — if your nail was bleeding, wait a day to apply the artificial nail. But if you’re struggling with particularly brittle nails, this might weaken them more, so only do this if necessary.

Silk wraps

Similar to the tea bag method but less crafty, you can use liquid, pre-cut silk wraps for broken nails. Apply polish to disguise the seam and strengthen the seal.

Trim and file

If the break’s only at the tip of your nail, use nail clippers and a nail file for a quick fix. Smooth any snags and trim the rest of your nails so everything’s even. 

How to prevent a nail from breaking

The only way to fully fix a broken nail is with patience — time heals all. The best way to avoid this discomfort is by preventing breaks. Here are some nail care tips for enjoying healthy, happy nails. 

  • Give them a break: Applying and removing nail polish and adhesives is harsh on nails and skin and dries them out. We love nail art, but give your nails a chance to repair every once in a while. 
  • Keep them clean and dry: Whether wearing falsies or going natural, wearing gloves while doing potentially damaging activities like dishes or gardening saves your nails from potential breaks and infections. 
  • Moisturize with cuticle oil: Regularly applying cuticle oil hydrates and moisturizes your nail bed and skin. 
  • Apply a nail strengthener: Increase the benefits of your manicure and polish break by applying a nail strengthener. Your nails will become healthier and stronger, making it less likely they’ll crack under pressure. 

When to see a professional

Quick fixes are great, but see a physician if you notice the following symptoms. 

  • An increase in redness, pain, or swelling
  • Pus (yellow or white fluid)
  • Fever
  • Continual bleeding

Enjoy beautiful, healthy nails

No need to wait for a break to care for your nails — check out product reviews on Flip and find everything you need for your next mani-pedi. Our community tries out the beauty industry’s most popular products so you can find something perfect for your nail care concerns.

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