Nails Care

Bad Nail Job? 5 Things You Can Do To Salvage Your Nails

A bad nail job by an inexperienced technician can range from mildly disappointing to literally painful. A bad nail job can range from mildly disappointing to literally painful. What should you do if your salon delivers an awful manicure? These five tips can save your nails.

The Importance of a Skilled Technician

A bad nail job isn’t just about aesthetics; it can hurt and even damage your natural nails. Research highlights the connection between a nail technician’s skill and customer satisfaction. A study by Park (2022) found that a beautician’s technique directly influences the client’s perception of the service. Choosing a qualified and experienced technician is crucial for both beautiful nails and nail health.

1. Assess the Damage To Decide on Removal

Is the nail salvageable, or is it better to remove the manicure and try again? If the damage is superficial, you may be able to save the manicure. However, the following issues require removal:

  • Major lifting of the faux nail
  • Uneven application of acrylic
  • Infection of the nail or nail bed

If removal is your best option, visit a technician to minimize damage to your natural nails.

2. DIY Touch-Up or Seek Professional Help?

In some cases, you may be able to fix the issue yourself; it all depends on the nails product used. If you choose a regular nail polish manicure, you can touch up any chipping yourself. Doing so requires matching the color and carefully applying it to the bare nail. If you can’t find the right shade, you can prevent your manicure from chipping further by applying a new top coat.

If your manicures involve any of the following, you’re better off seeing a professional:

  • Dip powder
  • Acrylic powder
  • Gel polish

These materials require technical skills to apply, so visit a trusted expert rather than attempting to repair yourself.

3. Invest in Nail Care

Are hanging nails and dry cuticles ruining the look of your newest mani? If so, invest in nail care. Proper care strengthens nails and minimizes dry skin around the nail bed.

For best results, follow these tips:

  • Apply nail oil to cuticles and natural nails daily.
  • Wear clear polish in between manis to protect your nails.
  • Don’t trim or file wet nails.

If you wear acrylics, consider keeping your natural nails short. Acrylics can make natural nails brittle, dry, and more prone to breaking; short nails are much less likely to bend, tear or break than long nails, reducing the risk of major damage after a manicure.

4. Stabilize a Break

Nail breaks can be incredibly painful. There’s also a risk of infection. If your nail breaks high on the nail bed, take these steps to stabilize it:

  1. If there’s nail polish on the nail, gently dissolve it with a cotton pad soaked in acetone.
  2. Apply nail glue to the nail.
  3. Dip the nail into repair dip powder.
  4. Buff lightly to create an even surface.
  5. Apply your favorite nail polish and a top coat to protect the nail.

Once your nail is stable, all you can do is wait for the break to grow out. This can take several weeks, depending on your rate of nail growth and where the break is.

5. Add a Fun Topper

What if your nails aren’t damaged, but you hate how the manicure looks? You can disguise an ugly mani with glittery, holographic, or iridescent topper polishes. These sparkly products are so shiny that no one will notice the color underneath.

High-quality materials can prevent a bad nail job. Don’t be afraid to ask your technician about the brand of polish, nail bond, and top coat the salon uses. After all, you’re paying top dollar for beautiful, protected nails — you deserve to get your money’s worth.


Park, J. S. (2022). The perception of a nail beautician according to the nail treatment technique job efficacy and job satisfaction. Journal of The Korea Convergence Society, 13(3), 301-307.

Rebecca Silver

Hello there! I'm Rebecca Silver, a beauty aficionado with a diploma from the International Beauty Institute. I've devoted my time to crafting articles that break down the world of beauty into easy, actionable tips. Whether it’s about nurturing your hair, caring for your skin, mastering makeup, or pampering your nails, I make sure each piece of advice is simple to follow and effective. My mission? To guide you through enhancing your natural beauty with routines that are tailored just for you. Beauty is a journey, and I'm here to navigate it with you—one fun, confident step at a time. Let's embrace and celebrate the beauty in all of us.

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