A split nail can be painful, frustrating, and inconvenient. It tends to snag on fabrics and other objects. When it does, the damage to the nail can worsen. That is why you have to repair a nail splitting vertically quickly before it gets worse.
In this article, we’ll go through how to fix a vertical split nail, and also go over some tips on how to prevent split nails from occurring.
How To Fix a Vertical Split Nail
If you have a split nail, it is important that you treat or remedy it as quickly as possible to prevent it from worsening.
Here are a few methods that you can try:
Glue Nail Repair Method
- Remove your nail polish – If the affected nail has nail polish on it, you need to remove it first with a nail polish remover. Make sure to gently remove it from the nails. Use a piece of cotton with some acetone. Place this on top of the nail to let it soak and avoid rubbing it in to avoid staining the nail.
- Wash your hand with soap and water – The next thing you should do is to make sure that your finger and nail are clean. Do this by washing it with soap and water. This will lessen the risk of infecting the nail.
- Use your nail glue – Nail glue like the IBD Brush-On Nail Glue shown above can be used. Although it is usually used for attaching artificial nails or tips, it can also glue the separate portions of natural nails together. Apply a small amount of glue and gently press the nail back together.
- Let the glue set and harden – Some nail glue easily dries up and hardens, but may take a while. If possible, use a quick-drying glue so you won’t have to hold the nail in place for a long time.
- Reapply nail polish if desired – Once the glue is dry, you can reapply your nail polish. This can also help strengthen the nail and cover the split or crack.
Note that you shouldn’t do this if the split is going into the nail plate or is bleeding.
Tea Bag Method for Split Repair
For this method, you will use an ordinary tea bag or silk wrap to patch the nail and join the two pieces together. Here is how:
- Make sure the nail is clean – The first thing to do is to make sure that the nail is clean. You are going to seal it so whatever is in there will stay in there. You always want to avoid any potential cause of infection, so cleaning the nails is always the first step.
- Cut the silk wrap or tea bag to the right size – Silk wraps like the Kalolary Silk Wraps shown above are specially made to help strengthen the nail. These are thin strips, and some already come with adhesives so you can immediately use them. Cut them to a size slightly larger than the fingernail. If you don’t have silk wraps, you can substitute a teabag.
- Stick the silk wrap or tea bag in place – If you are using self-adhesive silk wraps, you can easily put them in place. If you are using a teabag, you should use an adhesive to stick it in place. You may be tempted to use Krazy Glue, but you shouldn’t.
- Use a gel nail polish to further strengthen the nail – This step is optional but it will help strengthen the nail further. Gel polishes harden so they can better hold the split nail together until it grows out and can be cut. If you don’t have a gel setup, regular lacquer will be better than nothign.
Fake Nail Method for Nail Repair
You can use fake nails not only as decoration but also as a remedy to your split nail. Fake nails can stick the split nails together while creating a beautiful manicure.
Here’s how to do that:
- Clip your nails as short as possible – By cutting and filing your nails to remove as much of the split area as you can, you lessen the risk of snagging. Snagging should be avoided, because it can extend the nail tear until it reaches the nail bed. This can be very painful. Just don’t over-file!
- Make sure your nails are clean – Like the other methods, you should make sure that your nails are clean before doing anything with them. Putting a fake nail over a dirty split nail can reduce the sticking power of the adhesive. Furthermore, it can also trap dirt under it.
- Select the fake nail that fits your nail – There are different fake nails you can use. There are some that already have a design on them like the Kiss Gel Fantasy Nails. However, there are also nails that are plain and thinner like the Nailene So Natural Nails.
- Glue it in place – When attaching a fake nail, make sure that you only use a tiny amount of adhesive so that it doesn’t spill over the cuticles or sides of your nail (you probably don’t want to use Krazy Glue). Place a tiny drop at the center of your nail then press the fake nail against it. The adhesive will naturally spread but don’t immediately let go. Allow the adhesive to dry up so that the fake nail really sticks.
- File off the tip and shape the nail – Most fake nails have a stub-like excess at the edge. Don’t forget to file this off because it can also snag. You can also file the nail to shape or to the length that you desire.
- Decorate the nail as you wish – If the fake nail already has a design, there is no need to decorate it. On the other hand, if you used a plain fake nail, then you can add polish to it, use dip powder, or otherwise decorate it just like the rest of your fingernails.
Pro Tip: When selecting the size of a fake nail, make sure to flatten it over the nail to see how it will look once it’s attached. Many make the mistake of simply placing the fake nail over the natural one and end up having a wider fake nail that looks obviously fake after application.
What Causes Split Nails?
Split nails can occur due to a variety of causes. For some people, these splits are unavoidable because of the nature of work that they do. However, knowing the cause can help effectively prevent it.
Here are a few causes of split nails.
- Moisture – When the nails are exposed to moisture for a prolonged period of time, they can weaken. Excesss moisture makes the nail more prone to bend, break or split. Overexposure to moisture includes some of the everyday chores such as doing the dishes, hand washing, or even too much use of nail polish. It’s a good idea to wear gloves while washing things.
- Nail Biting – Nail-biting is another physical cause of split nails. Whether the person is anxious or if nail-biting is just a bad habit, it can stress the nail and cause it to split.
- Injury – Physically injuring your finger or nail tip can cause the nails to split. This can be due to what you’re working on or certain circumstances or accidents.
- Infection – Due to bacteria, nail fungus, or yeast, the nail bed can be infected. The nail doesn’t immediately split but the texture of the nails changes. This weakens the nails and them more likely to split.
- Diseases – Some diseases may also cause split nails. This may be due to health issues or because there the body lacks a specific nutrient. Some examples of diseases that may cause split nails are liver disease, kidney disease, thyroid disease, or skin cancers.
How To Prevent Nail Splitting Vertically
A split going from the edge to the nail plate is bad, and super painful! So before the problem gets that bad, you should find ways to prevent it. Here are a few tips to prevent nails from splitting.
- Keep your nails clean
- Avoid prolonged exposure of your hands and feet to water or moisture.
- Moisturize your cuticles with products like the CND Essential Nail & Cuticle Oil shown above.
- Try a nail strengthening product like the Kapa Nui Nail Strengthener.
- Stop biting your nails.
- Avoid harsh products for your nails like polish removers.
- Take supplements for better nail health like Biotin.
A vertical split nail can be caused by a variety of events. Knowing them will help you prevent splits from happening again. However, if you already have a nail splitting vertically, the best thing you can do is to immediately find a remedy.
There are a few ways you can remedy your split nail. You can do it immediately at home or you can go to a salon and have some professional care. Salons have lots of nail products that they can use to help with your split nail. If you do your nails at home, you may even have the supplies needed to remedy your nail on hand.
You can use the glue method, tea bag or silk wrap method, or the fake nail method. Regardless, the goal here is to connect the split nail and let it grow until such time that you can cut it out.
Knowing how to remedy a split nail is not enough, you also need to know work to prevent your nail from splitting in the first place.