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Fingernails: An Owner's Manual 
by Rita Templeton August 18, 2005

Fixing a Torn Nail

It’s probably the most common complaint, resounding with people everywhere (especially women): “I broke a nail!”  If you’re lucky enough not to have torn it completely off, though, it can be easily remedied.  Remove your nail polish, and make sure your nails are clean and fully dry, before you start.

  • If the tear is relatively large, cut a patch from a coffee filter or tea bag.  Make sure that the patch is going to be large enough to cover the tear.
  • Using a toothpick, apply a drop of fast-bonding glue to the tear and spread it in a thin layer.  Nail glue is ideal, but you can also use household glue that contains cyanoacrylate (Super Glue, for example).  If you accidentally get glue on your skin, wipe it off with a cotton ball saturated with nail polish remover that contains acetone.
  • With the toothpick, hold the nail in place for thirty seconds.  If you have only a small tear, this should do the trick; you won’t need the patch, so skip the next step.
  • Dab a drop of glue onto the patch, and pick it up with tweezers.  Apply it to the nail, and smooth it out with the toothpick.  The glue is very fast-drying, so you should do this step as quickly as possible. 
  • Allow the glue to dry for one minute, then using a nail file, “sand” it down a bit.  Smooth out any rough edges of the nail, filing it square rather than oval to prevent further breakage.
  • Camouflage your handiwork with nail polish, and be careful with the nail until it grows out!

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