How to Repair a Torn Fingernail

To avoid nail breakage, moisturize your nails and use gloves when you're washing dishes or gardening. Here's how you can fix those unavoidable nail snafus.

Remove any polish from the nail. Start with clean, dry nails.

Cut a patch from a tea bag, coffee filter or swatch of silk. The patch should be large enough to cover the tear.

Put a drop of fast-bonding glue on a toothpick and apply it to the tear. Use nail glue or a household glue containing cyanoacrylate. If you get any glue on your skin, wipe it off with acetone-based nail-polish remover.

Hold the nail in place with the toothpick for 30 seconds. If the tear is small, this alone will fix it--no need for a patch.

Dab the glue on the patch, then pick up the patch with tweezers.

Use the toothpick or a manicure stick to smooth the patch onto the tear. Act quickly because the glue dries fast.

Allow the glue to dry thoroughly for 1 minute. Then smooth out any rough edges with an emery board and a nail buffer. File nails in a square instead of an oval shape to prevent breakage.

Apply colored nail polish to camouflage the patch.