How to Fix a Broken Nail — and Grow ‘Em Back Stronger

Just when you think they’re perfect — bam! You get a snag.

You’ve diligently grown, filed, and buffed. Finally, all your nails are the same length. But then you feel a little snag and just like that, your on-point manicure dreams are smashed. Fortunately, we’ve got an oh-so-easy trick to fixing that tear in your nail: a tea bag. Here’s how it’s done, plus pro tips to help your nails grow stronger for next time.

Prep: Start with clean nails.

Make sure your nails are plain — no base coat, no polish.

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Step 1: Cut the teabag.

Make sure you cut it close to the length and width of the break in your nail.

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Step 2: Add a little glue.

Add a drop of glue on an orange wood stick, then dab it over the break.

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Step 3: Use tweezers to apply the teabag.

Place the teabag piece over the break, then let it dry.

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Step 4: Buff it out.

Using a buffer or nail file, lightly smooth out the surface of your nail.

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Step 5: Push back your cuticles.

Once your broken nail is buffed to smoothness, do the same with the rest of your nails. Then, push back your cuticles, “but don’t trim them too much,” says Cherri Phan, a professional manicurist at Nail Poetry in Costa Mesa, California. “Use a fine grit buffer to buff your cuticles after pushing them back, and then apply oil. You can never over-oil!”

Step 6: Cover with base coat, then apply color.

Once your nails are buffed to smoothness, apply a base coat. Phan uses Orly Bonder Nail Treatment ($7, ulta.com) for clients who need extra strength.

“It has a rubberizing effect, so it helps polish stay on longer,” says Phan. “It helps make the surface more flexible.”

And if you need a protective top coat, she suggests the same brand’s Two-in-One Top 2 Bottom Basecoat + Topcoat ($7, ulta.com).

Voila! You’ve got perfect nails once more. Time for some nail art! Or perhaps just a simple shade of pink. This step is totally optional, but so much more fun.

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