How To Handle A Chipped Fingernail

When a fingernail breaks unexpectedly, here are a few tips for patching it quickly and effectively to prevent further damage.

When you've gone to the trouble and expense of having your fingernails done, either through personal effort or professional appointment, a chipped nail can evoke strong disappointment and frustration. But don't let a simple accident ruin your day or preoccupy your thoughts. In a few simple steps you can repair the problem and put it out of your mind. Here are a few tips:

1. Carry a bottle of nail polish that matches the kind you're wearing. If you like a certain color, for example, buy two. Keep one at home for your usual nail work, but carry the other with you for quick repair jobs. To keep it from leaking you may want to place the bottle in a baggie or wrap it in a tissue, storing it in a side pocket of your purse or in a desk drawer at work. If room permits, include a nail repair kit, with trimming scissors, a file, and a cuticle brush.

2. When the nail tears, chips, or breaks, use your trimming scissors to gently snip away the broken edge if it is small. If the torn piece is large, gently remove it with the scissors unless you feel it can be held together with polish. Chances are the tear will only increase, however, so your best bet is probably to remove it and reduce the risk of incurring further damage with another accidental tear or chip.


3. Use your nail file to smooth the edges of the torn nail. Round it to blend in with the rest of the nail's edge. Run the file in the same direction each time to prevent uneven edges from emerging from your filing. Feel the nail's edge with another fingertip to see if it feels even and to be sure no pointed edges stick out to snag on something else and create another nail problem.

4. Take out your polish and place a napkin or paper towel on the surface that you are using. Lay the hand with the broken nail on the napkin or towel. After opening the polish, use the other hand to dip the brush into the bottle and wipe excess polish on the bottle's edge before applying the brush to the broken nail. Avoid spilling drops or letting the polish run down the side of the bottle if possible.

5. Use the brush's tip to apply polish to the nail's edge first. Take special care to daub the top and bottom edges of the nail to strengthen this part. Then apply polish over the entire nail surface. Dip for more polish and wipe off extra once more, and repeat the entire process.

If you have artificial nails and carry replacements with you, take one out and attach it instead of or before polishing. If you have used special sticker or painted designs, make an appointment for a professional nail repair job as soon as you can get to the salon. As a general rule, if you use your hands much for working, you may want to keep your nails relatively short in order to prevent or reduce incidents of breakage or chipping.

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