This one time (at band camp... no really, it was at band camp) I was marching along, when I stepped in a hole and jammed my longest nail into my clarinet. Luckily, a savvy senior in my squad knew all the ways to fix broken or cracked nails, and she immediately sent me to the mess hall for a tea bag. Twenty minutes later, it was like the break never happened, and I was back to puffing up my bangs and prancing around in my polyester uniform, complete with feathered hat. OK, we didn't wear the uniform at camp, but it makes for a more striking visual.
Anyway, even though a lot has changed since that fateful year in (gasp) 1997, nail repair still operated on the same principals. Some kind of patch. Some kind of adhesive. Except now, we have many more options, especially since gels have made a big splash in the market. It doesn't matter if you have a gaping nail break or a tiny (but annoying... and always catching on my hair!) tear. There's a method for everyone.
Some of them take a little time and finesse to master, and some are as simple as slapping some nail glue on a nail crack. There's something for everyone. Never suffer with short nails again, because one broke so you had to cut them all to make them an even nail length. You're welcome.
1. The Teabag Method
When a piece of ordinary teabag meets ordinary nail glue, it somehow manages to transform into extraordinary nail repair magic. Just remember, if you try this, that acetone will remove your patch and you'll have to start again. Oh, and you can use a sliver of coffee filter, too.
2. The Silk Wrap Patch Method
This is just like the teabag method, but it uses silk wraps as patches, which is technically the correct nail product to use, I suppose. But the teabag works just as well and is cheaper. You can get silk with an adhesive backing, though, which makes repair easier.
3. The Silk and Resin Reattatch Method
If your nail isn't jut cracked, but completely broken, as in, you picked the tip of your nail off of the carpet, this method shows you how to reattach this valuable limb using silk and resin.
4. The Fakeout
Sometimes you break your nail so badly that there's nothing to patch. Just a big, gaping ridge of despair on top of your fingers. This video shows you how to get a natural looking fake in seconds, without having to go to the salon. Win,
5. The Just Glue Method
The right kind of crack or break can be temporarily patched with just a dab of nail glue. Let it dry, buff it out, you're all set. Just remember acetone dissolves nail glue, so be mindful when removing polish. This doesn't work or really bad breaks, but it can hold a crack together for a good long time.
6. The Silk-Reinforced Gel Overlay Method
If you've used the silk and glue (or a teabag and glue) you know that acetone takes it off, which means you have to repair the crack or break again and again. But this method uses UV gel to attach the patch, which we all know is resistant to acetone, to some degree.
7. The Just Gel Overlay Method
If you love the idea of a gel-reinforced patch, but don't have (or want to use) anything to patch it, light tears and breaks can be held together with UV/LED gel. Easy peasy.
8. The Corner Reconstruction Lightless Gel Method
This method creates nail where there was nothing! If you just break a corner, you can use this technique to replace the lost sections of nail. The product is a lightless gel with a curing activator spray (no UV or LED light required). You get hard nails, and you can't tell where the missing chunk was once they're polished. Science! It's a miracle.
9. The Smug "Don't Break It In The First Place" Oil Method
OK, it's not really smug, I'm just super jelly. Look at that magnificent length! This method involves using a jojoba-based cuticle oil at least three times per day to make your nails so flexible that they bend instead of breaking. I'm getting ready to start this experiment as we speak.
And if none of these work out for you, there's always plain old superglue in a pinch.