Oh, the humanity! At work, a bunch of things fell off a tall shelf onto me, and in my efforts to protect myself, I broke a nail. This one was a bad break because it extended into my nail bed, making it pretty much impossible for me to just cut it off.
Obviously I couldn’t repair it right away, so I had to protect it with a bandage until I could get home. If you’re way too lazy to do any of the steps that I’m about to describe below, you can take a larger fake nail and tape it over your own nail so that it keeps objects from pulling the nail off by accident. You would be surprised at how important nails are at protecting your fingers and how much it hurts when the break catches onto something it shouldn’t have! So yes, splint your finger until the break grows out long enough to cut it off, or…
YOU CAN REPAIR IT YOURSELF!
All you need are a few items that you probably already have or can easily acquire.
- A tea bag
- Nail glue (or Krazy Glue in a pinch, although I haven’t tried that)
- A nail buffer (optional)
I forgot to number the photos in the picture below (sorry!), so follow the outer left rim of pictures with the steps listed underneath.
- Start with a bare nail. Remove the moisture from your nail by either swabbing it with alcohol or acetone.
- Use nail glue to seal the crack where the break is. Let the glue dry completely before proceeding.
- Cut a small piece from the tea bag that is big enough to cover the entire area of breakage. Some people prefer to empty the tea and save the filter just for nail break repairs, but I don’t break my nails often enough to justify keeping that around. You can discreetly cut along the part of the bag that is folded over at the top near the staple, and you will still be able to use the tea bag for a nice hot beverage later.
- Apply the tea bag patch you just cut out in step 3 over the break and glue it into place. Be sure to cover it completely with the glue. Let the glue dry completely before adding a second coat of glue over the area.
- Use a nail buffer to smooth out any bumps the glue may have left on the surface of your nail. Don’t over buff or else you will end up removing the patch and will have to start over.
I conditioned my nails with some coconut oil after buffing the surface to bring moisture back. You can also use olive oil, cuticle oil, or plain lotion, but the idea is to keep the rest of your nail healthy while the break grows out to the point where you can cut it off. You can definitely paint your nails as normal, and it will look like nothing happened, but do be careful when using acetone to remove the polish as this will also remove some of the glue.
My nail is repaired for now, but the nail bed underneath is still tender. The nail itself feels hard and strong, though. Now it’s going to be a waiting game while my nail grows out, but I’m glad I didn’t have to settle for a oddly shaped nail in the meantime!