How to Fix a Broken Nail

January 17, 2008 by Kristie Leong MD  
Published in Skin

A torn nail can occur at the most inconvenient times. Here’s how to make a quick and effective repair of a damaged nail.

It can happen at the most inconvenient time. You’re getting dressed for an evening out and you snag your nail while putting on your hose. You quickly assess the damage and find a small tear that will likely grow larger over time. What do you do? If you have the right supplies in your house, you can do a quick repair that will allow the nail to remain viable until it grows longer and you can trim off the torn area. Here’s how to fix a broken nail:

Prep your Nail for Repair

Before you start the repair, use nail polish remover to completely remove the nail polish from the torn fingernail. Wash the affected fingernail gently in warm soapy water and dry it thoroughly.

Repair the tear

The most effective way to repair the tear is with the help of a strong, quick bonding glue such as Super Glue. If you’ve ever worked with quick bonding glues containing cyanoacrylate you know how temperamental they can be. They bond almost anything including skin. To repair the torn area without bonding your fingers together, use a toothpick to remove a very small amount of the glue from the container. Still using your toothpick, apply a very thin film of glue along the tear and press the two nail parts together. Apply pressure with the toothpick for at least a minute to bond the torn area in place. Have nail polish remover available along with cotton balls in case you should get glue on your skin.

Hide the Repair

Now that your torn nail is temporarily repaired, it’s time to do a little cosmetic work. Use the rough side of an emery board to gently smooth the repaired area. Follow up by applying a coat of nail strengthener followed by your regular nail polish.

If the tear in the nail is too large, you may have to resort to making a temporary patch which you can glue over the tear using Super Glue. An excellent patch material is tea bag material. Once the tea bag material is glued to the tear, you can trim any excess material that extends beyond the nail and proceed with your light sanding operation followed by nail strengthener and polish.

A skillfully repaired broken nail can last until the nail grows out if you treat your hands with kindness. The next time you discover that broken nail don’t panic, just get out the Super Glue

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3 Responses to “How to Fix a Broken Nail”
  1. Nell Says:

    I used to use the super-glue-and-tea-bag method but this product from Nail Aid is much easier and faster:

    It also works just as well.

  2. Angela Says:

    Bring It Home Beauty has a great DVD that gives awesome visual guide to repair. You can see a preview of the video at

  3. Beth Says:

    Thank you so much! I woke up this morning with my nail partly torn, tried the super glue trick, and it worked beautifully!

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