How to Thin Out Nail Polish: Fix Thick Nail Polish

Fix Thick Nail Polish

It would interest you to know that you can easily return your nail polish to its smooth and creamy consistency by using a nail polish thinner, leaving your nail polish in a bowl of hot water for two minutes, mixing your nail polish with acetone or nail polish remover, or simply mixing it by gently rolling the tightly sealed bottle between your fingers or palms.

Nail polish is undoubtedly a beauty item that almost every girl has, there is always a favorite shade that you want to keep as close and safe as possible. If you paint your nails yourself or you have tried to a couple of times, you would know how frustrating and unpleasant it is when your nail polish thickens.

Thick nail polish makes application on the nails hard and uneven. How much worse when it is your favorite shade that clumps up? You would undoubtedly be on the lookout for ways to return the nail polish to its normal consistency.

There are a couple of tricks that would come in handy in that aspect, all you have to do is read further as we share some tricks to fix thick nail polish with you.

How To Thin Out Nail Polish

One of the most recurring problems with nail polish is when it gets very thick and almost impossible to put on.

Nobody enjoys having to struggle to get nail polish on smoothly especially when you’re trying to get it done yourself because thick nail polish just makes the entire process a demanding chore, well quit having to struggle aimlessly, below are five easy tricks that can be used to thin out your nail polish;

best drugstore nail polish
Image: Envato Elements

1. Mixing The Nail Polish

Mixing the nail polish should be the first thing you try, especially if your nail polish has only thickened a little or you just noticed it begin to thicken.

You would have to gently mix the nail polish for it to even or thin out in the bottle. Do this by properly closing the bottle of the nail polish and turning it upside down, then rolling the bottle in between your fingers for a few minutes. By doing this, you are warming up the nail polish allowing it to gradually get thinner.

Most people’s initial instinct when they grab a bottle of nail polish and realize it has thickened is to begin to shake the bottle vigorously in an attempt to restore it to its former state. Almost every lady that has had her nail polish thicken can agree that they tried to shake it to make it better.

Unfortunately, that is an option you should completely avoid because it creates air bubbles that eventually cause the nail polish to chip off easily when made use of. Asides from making the nail polish chip off, shaking it could also make the nail polish thicker instead of thinner as you had wished to achieve by doing so.

The Best Nail Polish For Winter
Image: Envato Elements

2. Get A Nail Polish Thinner

The most effective way to thin out your nail polish and return it to its normal consistency is by using a nail polish thinner. Most nail polish brands also have nail polish thinners that can be used to remedy thickening nail polish.

Carefully put two drops of the nail polish thinner into the nail polish, be careful not to use too much as it would only make the nail polish too thin, and application would be dissatisfying because the nail polish will hardly stay on.

After putting two drops of the nail polish thinner in your nail polish, seal it tightly and carefully roll the bottle between your fingers, as earlier mentioned shaking the bottle will do more harm than good so it is best to avoid doing so. Although this is the best and most effective way to remedy thick nail polish it is not a readily available option to everyone.

3. Use Hot Water

Of course, there is a DIY method if you can not run to a store to get a nail polish thinner at the moment.

You can also thin out your nail polish with the use of hot water. Get some hot water and pour it into a bowl, place your thickened nail polish into the bowl and allow it to sit for two minutes in the bowl.

After two minutes have gone by, carefully take out the nail polish from the bowl of hot water but be very careful with it because the bottle would still be hot, roll it carefully between your palms so that the consistency of the nail polish evens out, it can not be said too much so make sure you do not shake the bottle in a bid to mix the product.

This method is effective as well and though it may not give results as perfectly as a nail thinner, it is a readily available option and it does not cause any damage to your nail polish.

Purple Polka Dot Bow Nail Art
Image: @bownails // Instagram

4. Mixing The Nail Polish With Pure Acetone Or Nail Polish Remover

As wild as it may sound, pure acetone or nail polish remover can also serve as a means to thin out your nail polish. Acetone and nail polish remover are naturally not supposed to come in contact with nail polish except it is time to take the nail polish off completely.

In this case, it is the last resort while attempting to even out lumpy or thick nail polish. Use a few drops of either pure acetone or any nail polish remover of your choice into your nail polish and mix by rolling the bottle gently between your palms or fingers for it to mix properly.

This is the last option and one that would cause damage to your nail polish in the long run, so use this only when you have no other option or the nail polish has only little left of it and you are prepared to bid the rest goodbye.

When you use either pure acetone or nail polish remover in your nail polish, it will eventually cause the nail polish to break and be impossible to use afterward, try to check the other options off your list before resorting to using pure acetone or nail polish remover as a nail polish thinner.

5. Seal Tightly And Store In A Cool Place

After trying either of the above methods, you would still need to make sure your nail polish does not thicken all over again.

Sealing your nail polish tightly whenever you are not making use of it, it is when air gets into nail polish that it begins to thicken and clump up. If you have other nail polishes that have not yet thickened, you should make sure you always seal them tightly as a preventive measure.

Pointy Nail Designs
Source: Lovenails

It is equally important to store your nail polish in a cool and dark place as constant exposure to heat also allows nail polish to thicken quickly. A place with a consistently cool temperature would be a great way to store your nail polish, finding a spot like this would do you real good and ease your worries of having clumped-up nail polish.

Frequently Asked Questions On Fixing Thick Nail Polish

For all the previously mentioned ways to thin out thick nail polish, these preventive measures would be effective in making sure it does not thicken again, but if you used acetone or a nail polish remover to thin your nail polish, these preventive measures would be in vain because the substance of your nail polish has already been damaged.

Can you use rubbing alcohol to thin out nail polish?

You can use any solution with more than 50% alcohol present to thin out your nail polish, this method is not advised as it would ruin your nail polish just like acetone, but if alcohol is the only thing you have and you are in a hurry, a few drops should do the job.

Why is my nail polish sticky and won’t dry?

Your nail polish is most likely sticky and unable to dry because you did not try to thin out the clumps forming before application, or you applied one too many coats of nail polish at once. You should try using acetone to smoother it a little and a glossy top coat to make sure it dries quickly.


It is safe to say you can bid your worries about thick nail polish goodbye. As unpleasant as having to try putting on thick nail polish is, it is relieving knowing that the ways to thin out nail polish and make it even is easier and can be done in the comfort of your home if that’s where you get your nails painted.

You can use a nail thinner from any brand and this thins out perfectly when used in the right amount, you can place your nail polish in hot water for the heat to thin out the lumps that must have formed, you can gently mix your nail polish by rolling it between your fingers, or you can use pure acetone or nail polish remover to mix your nail polish.

Make sure you do not shake your nail polish as that will cause it to get thick and we do not want that, instead seal it shut tightly at all times and store it in a cool and dark place.

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