iGel Academy

Why Nails Break, and How to Avoid Broken Nails

Say it with us: nails are meant to last. This is why it is so painful to witness something you worked so hard for fall apart. No worries, we got you! Read on to avoid broken nails.

Nails 101

A fresh, gorgeous mani looks elegant and makes you appear more put together. You are radiant. It’s all sunshine and rainbows, until your nail (or nails) snap off. Ouch!

Just after a week or so, your nails crack and break. But why? It has something to do with the structure of the nails. It's so much more than the shape of your nails. Durability is mostly about foundation, not form.

If you want to find out why your nails break and what you can do to prevent and fix broken nails, read on!

Why Do Nails Break?

To simply put, your nails continue to grow. A tiny smile-shaped gap will appear between your cuticle and acrylic (or dip manicure) after a week or two. During this growing phase, the product will move towards the free edge of your nails. This will create a pressure on the tip, much like an uneven seesaw.

Around two weeks, cracks will form at the stress points. These cracks will increase in size as your nails grow. Eventually, the stress becomes so huge that your nail snaps off.

However, if the whole acrylic comes off, it is mostly due to a lack of adhesion. If the acrylic has not adhered properly at the time of application, the nail might come off completely

Why Is Structure Important?

The structure of your nail is the most important thing. If the nail technician has not made the right or accurate structure, the nails will break. It's hard to master, but we'll get there!

First things first, the product needs to be thick in certain spots. But, if the whole nail has a thick layer of acrylic, it doesn’t guarantee durability. Structure holds the key to durability. It will also determine how long your nails will last.

Your nails should be thickest in the center (slightly near the cuticle) and thin towards the tip. It should not be thick at the free edge.

How To Fix Broken Nail Tips

This is painful, whether it be physical or emotional. But don't panic! If you're in a hurry and absolutely got to scurry, do a quick read of the steps below.

First, assess the situation. What kind of crack is it? If it's a simple crack, grab your hand buffer and gently file over it. Filing removes the rough edges, so the broken piece of your nail won’t attach after filing. You can fix your broken nail easily by following these steps:

  1. Take nail glue and apply it on the tip of your broken nail. Be sure to use a small amount of product. If you use a lot of product, the nails won’t stick.

  2. Attach the broken piece of the nail and hold it for a few seconds.

  3. You can add glue (or acrylic if you have time) if there is a missing chunk of acrylic. Remove the excess glue and let it dry.

  4. File the surface of acrylic to remove bumps. Remember to file gently.

  5. Buff the edges and surface of your nails. Remember to dust it off!

  6. Apply the nail polish and voila! You're ready to go out.

Warning: If your nail bed is broken and bleeding, it is best to clean the would and apply skin disinfectant prescribed by your doctor (such as Betadine or Cutasept). Wait for it to heal!

How To Avoid Broken Nails

  1. Get Regular Fill-Ins

Regular fill-ins are necessary to avoid broken nails. They help to maintain the balance of your nails as they grow. Why? Constant wear and tear could cause cracks, especially with growing nails. Imagine a seesaw, one side bare and the other heavy. Completely off balance! Solution: Get regular fill-ins every two weeks. Your professional nail technician will fix the cracks, and your manicure will last longer. 

  1. Don’t Pick Off Your Nail Polish

Products made to last weeks are hard and sturdy. So picking them off would definitely damage your nails. When you peel or scrape nail polish, gel, acrylic, or dip from your nails, it will not be even. Even if you do manage to take most of it off, it would take some of your natural nail bed off with it. Yikes!

Afterward, your nails will eventually weaken, causing a fragile infrastructure for your next nail art and possible wounding.

  1. Wear Gloves

Use protection! Wear gloves every time you do household chores. The chemicals in the cleaning products can damage your nails, and, in turn, your nails will break off. Even if you’re just washing the dishes, wear gloves. It will protect your hands and nails. 

  1. Don’t Use Your Nails As Tools

Don’t use your nails to scrape, open, or peel anything. Your nails are a magnificent work of art. Value it as Mona Lisa, The Starry Night, or Spoliarium, with the utmost respect, care, and appreciation. 

Scraping and snapping will not only scrape and snap off your acrylics but also damage your natural nails. A lot of nail enthusiasts have definitely learned this the hard way. Yes, hello. Us too, no shame in that.

Always use proper tools to scrape and open things. Be sure to avoid putting any pressure on your nails. Lastly, keep your natural nails short. Your nails and your hair, skin, and nails are made of the same components, they all need biotin (B7). Growing them long would be like vitamin tug-of-war. If you keep them short, the fewer the vitamins they will need. This will prevent damage and broken nails.

  1. Give Your Nails A Break

Give them a break to prevent being broken. Let your nails breathe. Wearing acrylics or nail polish for a prolonged period can damage your nails and make them brittle. No, wearing product is not bad, but constantly changing your nails is bad for you. A moment of Zen would be great! Take a break from manicures every two months. Moisturize your nails for a week, or just moisturize them regularly in between manicures. After that, you can get your nails done again. They'll be strong and ready for you.

How To Strengthen Nails

In order to get strong and healthy nails, you should:

  • Stay Hydrated. Apply cuticle oil and cuticle serum to your cuticles and nails to keep them hydrated.

  • Proper Removal. Get your manicure removed by the nail technician.

  • Moisturize. Moisturize your hands and nails using a hand cream.

  • Push. Avoid clipping your cuticles. Instead, gently push your cuticles back.

  • Mind your Nutrients. Take Biotin and Collagen supplements.

  • Never Forget Foundation. Apply nail strengthener and base coat before every manicure.

Still troubleshooting? No worries! We got you. We warmly welcome you to the iGel Beauty Facebook community for more tips, tricks, and inspiration! Alternatively, you may reach out to us at our email cs@igelbeauty.com. We are here for you.♡

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