I have thin, bendy and breakage prone nails. Not ideal for a nail blogger, but I've started looking after my nails a lot better in an attempt to avoid damage. A few weeks ago I noticed a tear on one of my nails, almost half the way down, well into the nail bed and too big to file out. Not only was it going to ruin my nail designs if the tear got any larger but it was also going to hurt a hell of a lot! In desperation I took to Twitter to ask for advice from other bloggers and uncovered a brilliant solution - teabags!
The super simple teabag patching technique has completely saved my nail and although the tear is still there it hasn't ripped off (yet!) You can see below that it's almost grown out now- it's on the left side of the nail, just where the nail leaves the nail bed. I picked up the steps from various places so I've put together my own version and will run through it for you.
You will need the following:
Two nail files - one normal, one super fine (or a buffer)
A small square of paper tea bag - cut to size to fit your nail, it doesn't have to be too precise
Step 1 - Start with a clean dry nail, you may want to gently buff out any rough edges but be very careful around the tear!
Step 2 - Apply a layer of your favourite base coat and leave it a few moments to become tacky. This will depend on your base coat, I'm using O.P.I Nail Envy and tend to leave it around 30 seconds.
Step 3 - Using tweezers carefully place your tea bag square on your nail, making sure it fully covers the tear. Press down to secure it in place but be very gentle as it won't stick fast at this stage so can easily shift around.
Step 4 - Lightly apply another layer of base coat over your whole nail and tea bag square. Leave this to dry fully before the next step.
Step 5 - Once the last layer of top coat is dry use your scissors to cut away the majority of tea bag overhang - don't worry about being too neat at this stage!
Step 6 - Using your coarse nail file file away the leftover tea bag over hang. I found the best way to do this is by holding your nail file parallel to your finger and filing downwards to leave a clean edge. Filing side to side can damage the tea bag and leave a raggedy edge.
Step 7 - Use your super fine nail file or buff to gently buff the surface of your nail, essentially smoothing it all together. This helps to ensure an even and less noticeable finish.
Step 8 - Finally, top it all off with another layer of base coat and you're done - the tear is covered, strengthened and protected and the tea bag is barely visible!
As you can see in the first photo, the tea bag can hardly be seen with bare nails. However, I also wanted to show you that once you've applied polish and top coat it's completely invisible - can you guess which nail is patched? I chose one of Emma's Top 5 Spring choices, Rimmel - White Hot Love*, and applied two coats with Seche Vite on top. You're patched nail will be slightly thicker than the others but other than that it is virtually impossible to spot which nail is patched.
I have been using this method for the past 2 weeks or so and am completely amazed that my nail is still in tact. I've had to reapply the tea bag numerous times as I paint and re-paint my nails so often, but if you just leave it on it will last ages. I've even managed to remove and reapply my polish without damaging the tea bag a few times - if you want to try this I'd use an extra layer of base coat and buff it all together a bit more at Step 7.
You can use this method for tears, splitting nails, or even just if you're prone to breakage. I actually applied it to all my nails for a little while in order to give them a bit of extra strength. They didn't chip at all during the time they were patched!
We're trying to do a few more 'how to' type posts including tutorials and nail care routines. Please let us know if you've found this useful. Also, if you do try this technique we'd love to know if you follow our steps and how easy you found it.
As a new convert to the tea bag patching method I can safely say it gets two big (unchipped) thumbs up from me!!