Thursday, June 4, 2009

Growing Out A Damaged Nail

So, over the past couple weeks this topic has come up several times all over the place - I've seen talk on other blogs, I've had readers email me, and last Friday at work I was talking with the receptionist - the lovely lady responsible for introducing me to Konad - who had just torn one of her nails quite low down. Those of you who've been reading for a while may remember when I got a tear in my pinky nail back in February, which I discovered when I took of my Valentines day mani:

I've recently just finished growing out that tear, without having to cut the nail all the way down. In fact, the patches that I used to grow it out worked so well, I've been using them to help me grow out several of my nails that had extremely bad peeling on my not-so-cute right hand:

That said, I bring to you my first tutorial =) So that you too can grow out those damaged nails. I took these pics when I changed my patches on Tuesday.

After 2-3 weeks of wear, here is an example of what they look like when it's time to change them. If you were using them to hold a break I think you could probably buff them smooth & leave another week or so, but for growing out peeling I think it's important to keep the integrity of the patch at the edges:

You can use normal polish remover to take them off, but I keep some 100% acetone for cleaning my Konad plates & I find it makes the job quicker & easier. Soak a cotton ball, hold it for several seconds & then treat it like a stubborn polish. You'll see the edges lift but I recommend against giving it to temptation & just peeling it off.

OK =) Now that I have my old patches off, here's my toolbox for putting some new ones on:

4-sided buffer, cuticle scissors, IBD Gel Resin, Swiss Silk Self-Adhesive Wraps, and tweezers. The tweezers are optional, but I think they're helpful - you can hold just a small edge of the wrap & avoid getting it stuck to your fingers, which leads to less trouble sticking it where you want it to be on your nail.

Make sure your nails are clean. Give them a good wash, make sure they're dry, and even give them a swipe with polish remover to be sure there's no residual oil from you skin. This is my left index finger:

And you can just see the last remnants of peeling at the tip. This might be the last time I wrap it but it will be our model for today's pics because it's easier to take pics of than my right hand =)

The wraps come in lots of sizes - don't worry if you don't find one exactly your size (although you probably will when your supply is brand-new), it's easy to cut the patches to whatever size you need or want. You can see here I'm down to some wider sections:

The wraps are kind of long, I usually use 1 strip for 2-3 nails, just cutting it into sections with the cuticle scissors. After you've got a section stuck to your nail, you can trim the sides to fit & the end to a more manageable length:

Don't worry about being too neat at the end. All that will be fixed after we're done with the gel. Stroke one one thin coat of gel & let dry for 5-10 mins, then do a 2nd coat & let dry:

How long this takes can vary depending on how thick you apply the gel & your environment, but I usually try to wait at least a half hour before I start buffing. Hard to sit still that long but it's not like this is something that has to be done every manicure. It's worth the wait.

Once the gel is dry, you can take the rough side of the buffer (in my case the blue side) & file off the excess silk from the nail edge. Be gentle - we're not actually trying to file the nail, just enough to get rid of the excess. When you're done it will be neat & tidy like this:

This may look pretty smooth - don't let it fool you. The first time I tried to patch my nail, I tried to do a mani at this point & the patch stood out like the proverbial sore thumb. Go a step finer with your buffer (in my case the pink side) & buff the top of the patch. It doesn't take much to get a smooth finish & then it will look like this - you may need to enlarge to see the difference from the previous pic.

Ta-da! You've got a patch. They've helped me finally be able to grow out some of my worst problem nails. And I've got the naked nail pics to prove it =) Here are my nails back when I first started my blog, this past January before I'd ever tried silk wraps:

This set of pics is from 4/16, after I'd had patches on the tear for a while & had decided to start trying them on my peeling nails:

And here are my nails now (well, Tuesday, but you know what I mean):

By my birthday (July 14th), I may just have a perfect manicure. Not to jinx myself, but looking back at how far I've come in a relatively short period of time, I can see it happening =)

Thanks for reading. And good luck growing out your own damaged or problem nails =)



  1. what a helpful post!! I have had this on my mind lately! I have so many of these little tears on what would be perfect length and shaped nails and it is so frustrating! Now i know what to do!! Thank you!

  2. Great tutorial!Do you now where I can find patches like that online?I'm from EU no Sally's here!!

  3. Excellent tutorial, that is something I'd love to try, great step by steps thanks so much!

  4. I need to try this my nails split from ridges. When you change your mani with the silk patch on, do you have to use non acetone remover? How many manis can you remove before it comes undone?

  5. Wow! Just what I need right at the moment. Both my thumb nails keep breaking below the quick. I've had other nails trying to break the same way. And it had begun to get frustrating. To the point of thinking about,taking a break on the whole nail polish and blogging thing! I've rather limped along this week. Feeling like my nails will never grow out. Thank you for your has given me some inspiration and hope. It didn't even occur to me,that I could patch the nail up. And let the break grow out. Before hacking down to the! I have plans of trying this out. Thanks again.

  6. Great tutorial. I have wondered what the peeling nails looked like. I have never had my nails peel like that. they have broken but not peeled, and I was so curious what the "peeling" was I hear people talking about.

    Great tutorial though, full of good info. Next time I get a nail break i am going to give this a shot.

  7. I have the shortest nails ever! They are constantly breaking and spliting and peeling! I'm gonna try this as soon as I can!

  8. LACQUER LAINE - You're welcome =)

    KATIE - I don't know too much about international shipping, but I took a quick look & they do have this brand of silk wraps & the IBD gel resin on Ebay, however while it states worldwide shipping there's no price listed so I'm not sure how much it would run you. Hope this helps =)

    CLOCKWORK - You're welcome =)

    KAE - The remover I normally use does have acetone in it (Studio Tools Strengthening Polish Remover ... it's the purple kind from Target) & I'm sure using a non-acetone remover would probably extend the wear even longer - as it is mine usually last around 3 weeks, and I normally do my nails 2-3 times a week so I guess probably around 7 or 8 manicures? Unless I wear something really stubborn, like glitter, but I've just been saving my glitter for the mani right before I know I'll change the patches anyway =)

    VELVET - I hope it works out for you! The wraps also of course come with instructions, which are what I used to figure this out after reading about the products on other blogs & boards. The gel resin doesn't have much instructions, but the main thing with that I've found is just to be patient for it to be 100% dry before messing with it.

    BROOKE - The worst thing about peeling nails I think is that they're really hard to fix once they start peeling. If you don't pick off the peeling part, your manicure will chip (due I think to air getting trapped in the peeling section) & then your nail will break - and if you do peel it off, it perpetuates the problem, makes your nail weaker, and then your nail breaks. It was a lose-lose situation until I tried these wraps.

    KITTYLUVSCOLOR - Good luck!

  9. Colette this has been enlightening. I only order online. Hope I can find what you use. My nails are peeling and they were near the edge. I took off my polish and now it's moving down further. Plus as you stated your nail gets weak. My nails will break right where there peeling. The only other way I would stop it is to chop the nails off and not wear any polish. I don't like doing that anymore. I will have to try this. Bless you for this post with the pictures!

  10. LUCY - Check out Sally's website ( I think) or Ebay - & good luck!

  11. What a great tutorial! I used these for a tear one time, but the patch felt so weird and awkward, I didn't want to do it again. Now I know a better way to do it - thank you!!!

  12. This is a great post, with lots of details.... Thank you so much. I used to but the kt that came with everyting and do this to my nails years ago and it worked really well.

    Last summer I grew out my nails... I finally had " Trophy-Wife Nails " ( TM Deez-Nailz) So I did the silk wrap, but with paper towels (ewww, I know ) but it worked out really well. my nails were long & strong. BUT I needed to cut them so I could do stiff around the house (crafts & sewing, etc.)

  13. NIVIPA - You're welcome =)

    DEE - I've read of using paper towels before, or tissue ... for me to silk wraps are a lot easier with the adhesive back to stay in place, otherwise I think it would be a lot harder (at least for my clumsy self).

  14. I discovered this post just today: very useful (my thumb nail have both tears and a couple of other are peeling :-( I live in Italy (no Sally here) and am already looking for an e-tailer willing to ship here.
    Thanks, I hope that following your advice I will be able to grow my nails as long and beautiful as yours!

  15. SMALTY - I hope you find a good resource to ship to you & that the wraps work for you =)

  16. wow... this is really helpful... i have a broken nails and i post a blog for a help on how to fix a broken nails like this.. and some send me a link of ur blog post.. thanks for sharing this.. btw, what else i can use if i dont have gel resin? pls email me what other stuffs i could replace if i don have those wraps and gel resins.. thaNKS!!
    hanniz017 at yahoo dot com

  17. Hi! Would you reccommend using the silk wraps on every nail? My nails are natural and kind of long. They are very soft, weak and some split all the time. I do not want to go back to getting acrylic nails because then my real nails are really weak after. I am looking for something to put over my natural nails to make them strong and to stop splitting but not to eat away at them like acrylic. I think this may be it! Thanks so much!

  18. ANON - I don't like it myself, because they do take maintenance & can make your nail almost too rigid in some cases, but if your nails are weak I think they'd be a good alternative to acrylics, or even just a few layers of the gel resin without the silk wrap =)

  19. Hi, I was wondering if there was a way to boost the speed of growing out nails as well as maintaining length since recently I've been inspired to do some of my own nail art (especially water marbling from your video tutorials on Youtube.) And... well... embarrassing as it sounds as well as gross I've been biting my nails for as long as I can remember and have never let them grow out as they just stayed below my fingertips. So yeah I was wondering if there was a way to speed up nail growth as well as a way to... I guess harden my nail and leave them healthy.

  20. ANON - I don't know of any way to make nails grow faster, but you can check out my nail maintenance vid on youtube for how I keep mine healthy =)

  21. Hi there! I've been reading your blog and just wanted to add that Sally's has an "activator" that you can use with the gel. It's right by the silk strips in the store. It will significantly speed up the drying time for you when doing repairs. Just make sure not to have any gel on your skin.

  22. ANON - I've actually been meaning to post an update I have been using the ASP gel with the gel cure that I learned about from a friend on youtube & it makes everything so much quicker!

  23. never new this thing existed!! Thank you sooo much, you've saved me a lot of hassle... mmmwah
    I'm looking at my nails now... half of them are cut like nothing else :( .. so bbaaaaddd :(


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