How to Fix Thick Nail Polish
If you do your own nails, you have probably ended up with an “off” bottle of polish—one that is just too thick to manage. Or, after several months, you might find that your favorite polish has morphed into a coagulated mess. It seems to happen more often with bargain brands than higher quality lacquers. However, even premium nail polishes can go from silky smooth to gloppy virtually overnight.
Just keep these tips in mind and have a few emergency supplies on hand—you’ll never again be caught off guard and will always be prepared to do battle with thick nail polish!
5 Ways of Fixing Thick Nail Polish
- Mix It Gently
- Add Nail Polish Remover
- Use a Nail Polish Thinner
- Make a Solvent
- Take Preventative Measures
1. Mix It Gently
If your nail polish has thickened only slightly, try this trick to get it flowing again:
- First, turn the bottle upside down to redistribute the color.
- Roll the bottle between your palms for a few minutes to warm up the polish. The heat from your hands may work to thin it out.
- If you must shake your polish, do so gently. Air bubbles formed during vigorous shaking will remain trapped in the polish. This can lead to prematurely thick polish.
2. Add Nail Polish Remover
Adding a few drops of nail polish remover will act to thin your polish temporarily and help out in a pinch. This tip is especially beneficial if you are using up the last little bit in a bottle before tossing it.
The ingredients in nail polish remover react with polish to give you good short-term results. Be judicious when adding nail polish remover—you can end up with a runny result, rendering a new bottle of polish useless.
- Purchase an eyedropper, and add acetone nail polish remover one drop at a time.
- Gently agitate the bottle after each drop.
- When you get your nail polish to the right consistency, apply it to your nails as usual.
3. Use a Nail Polish Thinner
If you would prefer to get an actual nail polish thinner, there are many brands from which you can choose. The primary ingredients of most of these thinners are toluene, ethyl acetate, or butyl acetate.
- Add one drop of nail polish thinner at a time to the bottle of nail polish.
- Replace the brush and cap. Shake well and test the consistency on your nail.
- Continue to add one drop of thinner, testing after each drop, until you reach the desired consistency.
Do not add too much thinner—as with using polish remover, you cannot re-thicken thinned-out polish.
4. Make a Solvent
- Take a small amount of acetone (from the beauty supply store) and add an equal part of orange oil to the solvent.
- Blend the mixture well and add two drops to the thickened nail polish.
- Shake the bottle well and let it sit for ten minutes to allow the polish to thin properly.
- Remove the brush from the bottle of nail polish to check whether it is thin enough. If it is not to your liking, add a drop or two and check again.
- Do this until the desired consistency is reached.
5. Take Preventative Measures
- Don't hang on to nail polish for more than a couple of years. Some polishes won't even make it that long.
- Be realistic about the longevity of your favorite trendy colors. You may feel a certain affection for your Tiffany blue nail lacquer, but chances are pretty good the bottle won't survive long enough to be back in vogue.
- Store nail polish in a cool, dry place away from direct sun.
- Do not store nail polish in the refrigerator. Keeping nail polish in the fridge, which many women do, actually makes it thicken quicker. Even when it is removed from the fridge and allowed to return to room temperature, the chemical composition may be forever altered—making that smooth, even flow a thing of the past.
Caution: Dispose of Materials Safely
Remember to dispose of the leftover nail polish thinner, remover, or acetone after use or place it in an airtight container. Store it in a cool, dry place away from potential sources of heat and static electricity. Your city or county has instructions and locations for safe disposal of flammable chemical substances.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Linda Chechar