Misadventures in Repairing a Broken Nail

FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU I broke another nail. I know how the last one happened, I caught it in the zipper of my pants this weekend. It’s a common catch for me, I just can’t keep my nails away from the zipper teeth. Tonight, however, I’m clueless. I just looked down and it was cracked.

So I figured this would be an opportunity to use my new Orly Nail Rescue Kit and document the process. I’ve actually used it once already, and that broken nail is in at least one of the photos posted below. Can’t tell, eh? I can tell. 😦

So here goes. The Orly kit is a 3 step process. First you paint your nail with glue, then dip it in powder, then file the powder layer down smooth once the glue has dried. Now, to be clear, this shit is GLUE. Like stinky chemically super glue reek, so use it in a well ventilated area.

Broken Nail

Broken nail, just after removing polish with acetone, thus a bit of dryness.

Stat with a clean nail and paint the glue over the whole surface. I’m sure you could spot-repair but the risk is that you’d have a visible ridge. which is already kind of a problem with this product.

Patched Nail

One coat of glue, one coat of powder.

After this photo I touched up the thin areas with another layer of glue and powder. It helped a bit, but it still looked diseased. When J glanced over my shoulder and saw this picture he actually said, “GAH! That’s not yours, is it?” It’s pretty awful looking at this point. Oh, and you have to be careful not to get glue on your skin or the powder will stick there, too. The powder you see here is just clinging with static. It brushes off as long as there’s no glue present.

So then you come to step 3: buff buff buff. The kit includes a fine grit sand paper buffer pad and you basically buff it down until it’s even. You can see in the above photo that it applied thicker where it’s the whitest, so it was pretty uneven. It takes a lot of buffing to get it worn down but it’s crucial to do so. Also crucial is waiting until the glue has dried. If you jump right in and start buffing you’re going to just sheet it off. Which is not good.

Once it’s buffed down the instructions tell you to cover it with a ridge filling coat. That’s their way of telling you it’s not going to ever get truly smooth. So I put down a coat of Gelous in the hopes it would smooth it out. I should have done something more heavy-duty. The Gelous sort of absorbed into the sandy surface, the same way glitter polishes eat topcoat.

Coated Nail

Patched and buffed nail with one coat of Gelous.

I then followed up with three coats of Nfu Oh 61. It wasn’t my first choice but this happened too late to redo all of my nails and I at least need to match for work tomorrow. Tomorrow night I’ll remove everything and do a polish that hides imperfections better. edit: I just touch-tested and confirmed the visible bumps are air bubbles. I rushed the second and third coats. If I’d taken my time I might have ended up with a nearly perfect concealment.

Polished and Repaired

You can see a couple of bumps in the Nfu Oh 61. It's an unforgiving polish, finicky in ideal conditions. Probably not a good idea to use it over a repaired nail.

The verdict: If you can’t bear to cut down a broken nail, this can patch it up until it grows out. It’s a fussy product that takes some practice, but with practice I think it could be a solid answer to occasional cracks. I clearly have more practice to do. We’ll see how well I can improve on these results when I strip down and change colors tomorrow evening.

Edit: Here we go, a better depiction of the final results.  It took a lot of sanding and buffing to get the texture smooth and even.  I did one coat of Gelous, one coat of Orly Bonder, then three coats of Rescue Beauty Lounge’s Scrangie.  There are two cracked and repaired nails on this hand.  Can you see the breaks?  They look pretty seamless to me.

Scrangie Sunlight

Two cracked nails repaired with Orly's Nail Rescue Kit. This is Rescue Beauty Lounge's Scrangie topped with Seche Vite.

Oh yeah, one last parting thought: This stuff supposedly removes with acetone. Maybe that’s true, but it’s going to take a lot of time and soaking and commitment. It doesn’t give up the ghost easily. It’s worth noting, though, so if you don’t want to risk it coming off between manis be sure to use a non-acetone remover.

Okay, that’s it. Let’s finish out with a moment of silence for my poor broken nail. I’ve had lots of cracks and chips since I went super-square. It might be a sign that I need to go back to squoval.


Posted on April 23, 2012, in Misc and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I would like to use this picture:

    in a post on a startup beauty blog I am creating for a school assignment.
    I will give photo credit and link to this page. Please let me know if this is not okay, and I will take time image down.

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