How to Fix a Broken Nail with Nail Polish

We’ve all tried to grow out our nails and we’ve all had the horrible experience of having one break. Which, of course, means filing the whole lot down and starting over again. It’s a labor of love that seems to break hearts more often than not.

But here’s some great news: we’re going to show you how to fix a broken nail with nail polish. Sounds crazy right? But with some nail polish, a teabag, and your wits, you can fix your broken nail and salvage the rest. 

Read on to discover how to fix a broken nail with nail polish and tips on how to prevent your nails from tearing, cracking, or splitting in the future. 

What This Article Covers:

How to Fix a Broken Nail with Nail Polish

Step 1: File the Broken Nail

We’ll start the nail rescue operation by filing the edges of the broken nail. Gently file in one direction until the nail is back to its original shape. 

The goal is to ensure all jagged edges are gone. 

what to do when your nail breaks

If you already have short nails, this might be all that is needed to rescue your nails. But if you have long nails, filing down the jagged edges will help prevent a tear from running into the nail bed, which can be excruciating.

If the nail break was caused by trauma to your finger, file down as much as you can. It’s important to be gentle and patient to prevent any further damage. 

If your nail starts to blacken from the injury, that means there is bleeding under the nail. This might lead to the nail falling off. Don’t stress! If that is the case, we recommend reading what to do when your nail falls off. This guide will tell you what to do and when to see a doctor. 

Step 2: Buff & Clean With Rubbing Alcohol

To make sure the teabag and nail polish adhere to the nail as much as possible, buff your nail and rub the surface with rubbing alcohol. 

Buffing removes edges and raises the grain of your nails. This is to increase the surface area for the polish to attach to. Using rubbing alcohol will remove any oil or moisture that could compromise the adhesion. 

If there is a tear running along the nail bed, be careful to buff gently. You don’t want to snag the nail and have it tear even more. 

Step 3: Measure & Cut the Teabag

Using your nail as the template, measure and cut a piece of the teabag that will cover the broken area. It’s okay if it’s bigger than the broken spot or even covers the entire nail. 

Ensure no tea particles are stuck to the piece you cut out. Keep it clean and ready for the next step of our nail rescue mission. 

Step 4: Apply a Basecoat & Paste

Apply a base coat to your nail and apply the tea bag piece we saved from step 3. Do this while the base coat is still wet. Use tweezers or a toothpick to move the teabag piece until it covers the broken spot. 

how to fix a broken nail with gel polish on

We recommend using ORLY Nail Defense as a base coat. It is specifically formulated for splitting and peeling nails. This nail strengthening treatment can be worn alone or used as a basecoat to provide support for broken or fragile nails. 

When the basecoat has dried, buff the nail until it is smooth. 

what you can do when your nail breaks

If you want a longer-lasting effect, a gel base coat will do the trick. The great thing about using a gel base coat is you can carry on changing your regular nail polish on top without disturbing it. Just remember to use an acetone-free nail polish remover to protect the gel base coat. 

Step 5: Apply Nail Polish

Your nail rescue mission is now complete. Reward yourself with gorgeous nail polish colors for the perfect nail look. Not only will it look great but nail polish will offer added support to keep your rescued nail going for longer. 

Bonus Method: ORLY Nail Rescue Kit

If you want a nail rescue option that is a bit longer-lasting, we recommend the ORLY Nail Rescue Kit. Equipped with ORLY brush-on Nail Glue, Nail Repair Powder, and a Nail Buffer, the Nail Rescue Kit will leave you with flawless and long-lasting nail repair. 

How You Can Fix a Broken Nail with Nail Polish

It only takes three simple steps. 

Brush on an even layer of the Nail Glue, making sure to avoid the cuticles. Immediately dip the nail into the Nail Repair Powder and bump off the excess until you are left with an even layer. Buff the dry Nail Glue and Nail Powder with the Nail Buffer until it is even and smooth. 

Finish off the repair with nail polish and there you have it. A super easy nail fix with super results. 

How to Prevent Nails from Breaking

Prevention is the best cure. Here are some tips to strengthen your nails to prevent splitting and tearing as much as possible in the future. 

Strengthening Nail Polish

Nails need support. Our hands are overworked and are frequently exposed to harsh chemicals, harsh weather, and hard work. Nail strengthening polish will offer support and protect nails from conditions that strip moisture and cause brittleness. 

fix a broken nail with gel polish on

For intense protection against daily life, ORLY Nail Armor is the best for the job. It’s perfect for weak or ridged nails and can be worn alone or as a basecoat. 

Nail Care & Nutrition

Nail care and nutrition are essential to healthy, strong nails. Regular use of cuticle oil will moisturize nails and promote growth from the outside; getting good quality protein and staying hydrated will work from within. 

How to Recover a Broken Nail with Nail Polish

Combine that with nail treatments for quick, visible improvement in nail integrity. With nail treatments, nails will grow faster and grow out stronger. Add in a nail strengthener for support and banish broken and torn nails from the future.


Nail polish has a ton of great benefits. Not only for aesthetic purposes but also for the health of your nails. Some people even use nail polish for warts and nail polish for skin tags but in both cases, we strongly reccomend to see a doctor and discuss with him the treatment options.

You no longer have to dread a broken nail. Instead, with the above guide, you can save and support nail length and work on growing strong, healthy nails that are ready to be customized to your heart's content. 

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