Natural Nails

Your Guide to Nail Repairs & Reinforcements

There are a variety of nail issues, from the everyday bitten-nails to the all-out chip or crack, that require you to call in reinforcements. Whether using acrylic or gel (or even a tea bag), we offer some ways to strengthen nails into long-lasting beauts.

How To…
Repair a Cracked Toenail with Acrylic

Amy Murphy, Castle Nails, Ruston, La.

When nail tech Amy Murphy cracked her own toenail, she used a thin layer of acrylic to repair it. “I kept the acrylic extremely thin because I didn’t put acrylic on the other foot, and I don’t want this acrylic to be obvious. Plus, it makes it easier when it’s growing out, whether I blend it or fill it.” The repair took about 30 minutes. For maintenance, she says, “I will thin it down a bit each week and polish it. If it starts to lift, I’ll just nip that part off and blend it in. The cracked area should be healed or grown out by the time the acrylic comes off.”

1. Take OPI Expansion Tips and alter them so the sidewalls aren’t any thicker than necessary. Murphy chose this tip because she wanted the extra support up the center of the nail and, since she was polishing it a solid color, it wasn’t necessary to use a natural curve tip. To alter it, she cut the sides off with curved toenail clippers, then used a buffer to thin them out.

2. Use nail glue to attach the modified tips to the nail. Make sure the glue catches on the sides of the existing nail.

3. Apply sheer pink acrylic thinly over the entire nail bed, ensuring there are no air bubbles when you lay the acrylic over the tip (where the damage is). (The second photo shows how thinly the acrylic should be applied.) Polish all 10 toenails a solid color.

How To…
Reinforce a Ding in the Nail Plate with Acrylic

Amy Murphy, Castle Nails, Ruston, La.

This client jammed her finger in a car door. Luckily, the injury just dinged her nail plate and didn’t cut all the way through.
1. Remove the existing polish and make sure there is no bleeding on the nail plate.

2. Use an electric file with a sanding band to file down at the ding and all the way across the nail to get out any loose parts.

3. Prep the nail as usual for an acrylic fill with primer.

4. Place a slightly wetter than usual ball of acrylic directly on the ding and let it settle into the groove.

5. Use a drier ball of acrylic to fill in the gap to make it smooth. Murphy placed it in the center, then pulled it down with the brush from the center, and then up from the center, so that the part over the actual ding was slightly humped.

6. After the acrylic sets, gently file the humped area smooth either by hand or an e-file and buff it lightly.

7.  Polish the nail to match the rest of the fingernails.

How To…
Repair a Chipped Toenail with Just a Nail Tip and Glue

Amy Murphy, Castle Nails, Ruston, La.

“Ladies chip their toenails often, and this is a super simple quick fix for someone who might not want acrylic,” Murphy says.
1. Lightly buff the nail to remove the surface shine.

2. Trim a piece of a nail tip to fit. Murphy used the thinnest part of the well for this client. Attach it to the existing nail with nail glue.

3. Gently trim or file the tip to the edge of the toenail.

4. Buff the top of the tip only (not the natural nail) to blend to the nail bed.

5. Polish all 10 toenails a solid color.    

Next page: How to reinforce weak natural nails with a tea bag and base coat

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