How To Repair A Cracked/Broken Nail (The Teabag Trick)

I broke a nail! I had a small crack along this nail this morning and put a dab of nail glue on it intending to hold it together until I got off work tonight and could really work on it, but then it snagged on my patients diaper and tore the nail. I used a piece of tape to hold it together until I got home and then I fixed it! I used the “tea bag trick” that everyone raves about, for multiple reasons, one being that it’s cheaper than using one of those wrap repair kits. Around $5 versus anywhere from $12 to $25, and most people who do their nails regularly have these items at home already. The other reason is I can take this off and change it out as needed until the nail grows out all the way to a length I want by soaking the tea bag and glue off with pure acetone, some of those nail wraps only come off once they’ve grown out and you’ve filed the last of it off. The last time I used one personally, I ended up filing the last bits of it off because it was so stubborn and would not come off even with soaking. Enough of the technical stuff though, let’s get on to how you fix the crack in the nail using this little trick.

Now this is not an image filled post since I did a video on it first and did not think to take a lot of photos with that, so if you’re more of a visual learner and think that would be more helpful then you can watch the video on my channel by clicking here.

First you need to gather the needed supplies, for this you need at least the following in addition a large pair of scissors might also be useful:

  • Tea Bag
  • Cuticle Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Nail Glue – I use IBD Nail Glue because it dries the fastest on my nails.
  • Base/Top Coat
  • Polish – A color you want to wear a while or for a few days at least.

After you’ve got everything you need then you should remove any polish on the nail carefully and make sure you don’t tear the nail more or widen the break, or even break the entire nail end off. I used Onyx Professional Acetone Polish Remover to do this and instead of using a cotton pad, used a makeup sponge since it had no threads to possibly catch on the nail.

Once you’ve got the nail perfectly naked you need to take the tea bag, cut it open, dump the tea out, then cut a piece of it, and size it up the the break/split in the nail. Now this is a kind of preference thing, because when sizing you can either choose to just cover the crack and area around it or the entire nail. I don’t like to cover the entire nail because then it looks thicker in my photos and videos. So I cut a piece the size of the crack and then slightly above and below it to create a good seal.

After sizing your piece of the tea bag you need to make sure one last time the nail is completely clean and then brush the nail glue over the area of the nail you’re going to cover. Be careful not to blob the glue on too thick, but be sure you have enough for the tea bag piece to sink into and soak up. After you do this use your tweezers to place the tea bag piece over the break/split in the nail and allow it to soak up the glue, if needed use the tweezers to hold it down and/or brush on more glue in areas it may be lacking. I usually have to hold it down over the edges to ensure it goes along the curve of my nail, otherwise it doesn’t end up completely covering and going to the edge all the way. Let this dry.

Drying time is very dependent on the nail glue, thickness of the tea bag, and the humidity in your environment; so it can take anywhere from five to thirty minutes to be dried all the way through. My nail glue and the great value tea bags I use generally take around fifteen minutes to be completely dry. Once dry you simply need to file down the edges of the tea bag and the top to smooth it off. Be careful while doing this and don’t buff the natural nail down or off, some people will use a paper grit file to ensure they don’t cause too much nail damage, I still use my glass nail file for this though.

Once that is done simply cover with your base coat, one or two coats of a good polish, and a top coat. Then voila it is fixed and keep it covered until it grows out to a suitable length or to a length you can live with. I’m currently going to a length I can live with versus one I’ll love since my break occurred all the way down past the nail bed and would hurt like hell if it busted off now. It already is slightly painful as is with it only kind of busted in half. Hopefully this helps, if you prefer wrap kits use wrap kits, if you are good with filing the nail off then file away, but if this helps then go for it and use it to save all the nails!