Friday, March 8, 2013

Formless method to repairing a broken corner

I'm making this post from my phone, so I REALLY hope it turns out ok!  Please forgive any really odd formatting or typos if there are any. My phone makes some strange auto corrects sometimes that I don't always catch!

Have I ever mentioned that I generally  dislike sculpting on forms?  I can do it, but I'm not a pro and not professionally trained in it, so it takes me quite a bit of time and patience. I'm not known fur my patience and I'm regularly short on time. This is why if I break a nail I prefer to just tip it rather than sculpt a tip. So....... I much prefer this method of repairing a corner that's snapped off, though I can also do this with a form. 

This method utilizes self adhesive silk wraps, soak off gel (SOG) and hard gel. The silk wraps are just ones I picked up at Sally Beauty Supply. The hard gel I have us one I've had forever - IBD builder gel. I so rarely use it as I don't break many nails anymore, but if I ever need to replace it ill probably get the Gelish or Entity One hard gel. Use whatever you have/like. This IBD I got at Sally's, so it's locally available. Personally I prefer the pink, I think it looks more natural, but there's nothing wrong with using clear either. 

You could also use this method to add a small amount if length, but not a lot. The repairs are sturdy but remember its just a silk wrap so if you tried to add too much it wouldn't stay stiff enough to be a base for the hard gel. You are basically using it as a non-removable form. 

I have never really had any trouble soaking this gel off using this method, though I do file the majority if it down before I soak off. 

Sorry, no video for this one. It was sort if an impromptu tutorial.  I don't have the opportunity to show you guys many repairs, so figured I'd take this one.  I'm also right handed and this repair is ON my right hand, so forgive the crummy photography!  

The process:
Start by removing any gel/polish from the broken nail.  Prep as you normally would before doing a mani. This mani was only two days old so I didn't need any cuticle work or anything. Here you can see my naked nail and its poor broken corner. 

Next thing to do is cut yourself a piece of silk wrap. I use a piece large enough to go about halfway back on my nail, fill in the corner and just-come-to or extend just a tiny bit past the free edge. The wraps I use are self-adhesive and I can't imagine not using them - they stay where you put them!  Don't worry if the edge isn't completely even. You will fix that later. 

Next you want to get your SOG basecoat. Apply it to the entire nail, including ALL of the silk wrap. Lay it on a bit thicker than you normally would. Not thickly, but not as thin as you normally would do it either for just a SOG mani. You want to really coat the silk wrap, especially where it's filling in the broken corner. 

Flash cure it for ten second in a UV lamp. If you use LED just do a couple seconds to set it. Then gently using your other hand shape it so that the c-curve matches your natural nails. Finish curing it fully for whatever time your lamp uses. 

Next comes the Hard gel!!  Grab a brush (I use a #6 oval gel brush myself) and get ready. 

Apply a nice coat of the hard gel to the nail.  I do a single coat and personally don't apply it super thin.  Not thin like I would a SOG polish.  It's not super thick either.  You could easily do multiple thin layers, but hard gel doesn't really need to be applied that way.  This particular builder gel is thick and doesn't really self-level.  I don't know if others do or not, but try to work it smoothly and evenly, let the brush float into the gel.  You may need to apply a bit of extra and smooth it around over the filled-in corner to make it all even.  

Look at the nail from all angles and make sure it looks relatively smooth and not all lumpy and uneven.  thickness should be even from front to back and side to side.  Cure for the time needed for your hard gel/lamp combo (for me this is 3 minutes in my UV lamp).  
Now it's time to remove the tacky layer and do you finish filing.  You want to file the free edge to the correct shape, then make sure the sides are even and match the natural line of your nail.  File/Buff the top of the gel to make sure it is even and has no lumps, dips or ridges.  If you have any deep dips, remove any filing dust, fill it in with more gel, cure, remove the sticky layer and file/buff again until it's all smooth and even.

You can see here it's a little bit thicker than my natural nail, but not so much that anyone besides me would notice it. 

Now you can finish your SOG manicure!  I didn't redo the SOG basecoat, it's not really necessary.  Just remove any dust with an alcohol wipe from your hard gel, and then do your color coats and topcoat.

This color by the way is Gelish Lady in Red from this years Year of the Snake two-color set.  The other color is a metallic gold.

These repairs always hold up REALLY well for me!  I never have any trouble with them lifting or coming off or bending with the hard gel on them.  I've used just Gelish Structure on very small broken corners before, and it works but it's much more flexible even with several coats of structure, so I much prefer to use the hard gel.  Hope this helps some of you ladies keep from having to file down just because you broke a corner!  Happy Polishing!

Here's a quick overview of the steps:


  1. Your nail looks brand new. Thank you for the impromptu tutorial.

  2. Thank you for the tutorial!! I will have to try this method! Nothing I have tried in the past has worked but this looks like it could!

  3. Great tutorial. I wonder if this would work with the new Brisa lite sculpting gel.

  4. Great idea. Since you used the SOG basecoat, does the repair soak off when you do your next mani?

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