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How To Thin Out Thick, Old or Goopy Nail Polish (8 Ways!)

    How To Thin Out Thick, Old or Goopy Nail Polish (8 Ways!)

    A beauty hoarder is bound to experience a few product-related tragedies.

    One such tragedy involves thick and goopy nail polish.

    There is nothing worse than finding that more than half of the polish is still in the bottle.

    That’s a total waste of product, isn’t it? What can you do to thin this thick and goopy nail polish?  

    The loss of solvents from nail polish is the primary cause of nails getting thicker and clumpier over time.

    Here, I will explain how you can easily DIY thin your nail polish using methods you can learn from this article.  

    If your beloved nail polish is goopy, instead of throwing it away, use these tricks to thin it out. 

    How To Fix Thick, Goopy Nail Polish

    There is an uneven consistency to thick nail polish. To thin out thick, clumpy, and hard to apply nail polish, follow these steps.

    These 8 methods will make your polish restore its original consistency.

    1. Nail Lacquer Thinner (Nail Polish Thinner)

    If you want to restore old nail polish, the best way is to use a nail lacquer thinner.

    A nail polish thinner is designed specifically for thinning out polishes without altering the color.

    There are Nail Polish Thinners available from most nail polish brands. 

    To thin the nail polish, 

    1. add 2-3 drops of thinner using an eyedropper. 
    2. Reattach the cap to the bottle and roll the bottle in your hands until thoroughly mixed. 
    3. Make sure you don’t shake the bottle as air bubbles form and may affect the consistency of the polish. 
    4. You should be able to use it right away if it flows smoothly from the brush. 
    5. Add more thinner if it doesn’t work and try it again.

    But, ensure that you do not add too much.

    There might be no way to make polish thicker if it gets too runny.

    Gel nail polish thinners are specifically designed for use with gel nail polish.

    Use one of these if you have gel nail polish.

    Thinners like these can be found at most beauty stores.

    Also Read: Tinted Moisturizer: Benefits & How is it Different From Foundation & BB Cream

    2. Mix and Warm

    It will work if the nail polish has slightly thickened.

    Ensure that the bottle is sealed, then turn it over.

    Next, roll it for a few minutes between your palms.

    The polish is gently warmed up and thinned out by this method.

    We have previously stated that shaking nail polish isn’t recommended as it produces air bubbles that can cause it to chip quickly.

    If you shake it too much, the product may thicken even further.

    3. Keep Polish Tightly Sealed

    When you’re not actively using polish, keep it sealed to keep it thin and spreadable.

    You should close the nail polish bottle in between coats in order to preserve the polish.

    It starts to thicken when the air touches the nail polish.

    4. Thin Nail Polish Using Alcohol (Nail polish thinner alternative)

    If you are unable to use a nail polish thinner for some reason, you can thin out your polish with some isopropyl alcohol.

    Isopropyl alcohol and ethyl acetate are two solvents that are lost when nail polish gets thick, and those two constituents are present in most nail polishes.

    The alcohol you add to your polish helps to replace some of the alcohol which was lost.

    This will act as a DIY Nail Polish Thinner making your nail polish the right consistency.


    • To begin with, Add 2 drops of isopropyl alcohol to your nail polish bottle using an eyedropper.
    • Roll the bottle between your palm vigorously to mix it up.
    • Check if the polish is consistent.
    • If it doesn’t turn out right, just add a little more alcohol and mix it up.
    • Let the polish rest for 15 – 20 minutes before applying once it has reached the right consistency.

    (This technique may or may not work for some brands of nail polishes. So, proceed with caution.)

    5. Using Hot Water

    How to thin nail polish if you don’t have nail lacquer thinner.

    Here’s what you can do. To make your polish easier to apply, you can temporarily make it more fluid with warm water.


    1. Fill a bowl with hot water and immerse the dry nail polish bottle in it. 
    2. After about 3 minutes, remove the bottle from the water. 
    3. After that, Shake the bottle in your hands and roll it back and forth between your palms. 
    4. Additionally, this is a great method for loosening nail polish caps that are hard to open.

    It is advisable to handle the glass bottle carefully and with caution because it gets very hot.

    You can repeat the process for a few more minutes if the polish is still too thick.

    Note: Nail polishes are made from flammable chemicals and should never be placed close to the flame. 

    6. Using Pure Acetone

    In case you run out of nail polish thinner, pure acetone can be used as a last resort.

    If you add more than one drop of acetone, the nail polish will break down and its lifespan will be shortened (one drop is enough).

    Although it is a quick fix, the acetone will destroy your nail polish and break down the formula.

    Having reached this point, it’s probably time to part with your old nail polish.

    7. Keep Track of Expiration Dates

    The longevity of your favorite polish can be extended with nail thinners.

    However, eventually, you’ll have to let go of the lacquer.

    When bottles start to get too sludge, it’s best to throw them out.

    Polish, just like makeup, has a shelf life.

    It may help to label the bottle with the date you bought it to keep track.

    Also Read: The 7 Best Eyeliners for Sensitive Eyes in 2021 [Buying Guide]

    8. Store in a Cool, Dark Place

    While acetone solutions and nail thinners can be effective, they are also expensive, have a number of side effects, and are likely to cause your nails more harm than good in the long run.

    The best way to prevent nail polish from clumping is to protect it from the sun and store it in a cool, dark area.

    The refrigerator will even do the trick if you live in an excessively humid or warm climate.

    Do not store your nail polish in the bathroom because the constant temperature fluctuations and humidity will destroy your polish.

    How To Prevent Your Nail Polish From Turning Goopy

    • Maintain a steady temperature for your nail polish by storing it in a cool, dry place.
    • Use a cotton ball soaked in acetone to clean the neck of your nail polish bottle before putting the cap back on. So that the next time you want a manicure or pedicure, you can easily open the bottle.
    • Do not expose your polish to direct sunlight or heat.
    • Keeping your bottles upright is the right way to store them. The problem with storing them upside down and on the side is that they will dry out and cause drying at the neck of the bottle and clumps in the formula.
    • Be sure not to leave the lid off beyond what is necessary. It is common for nail polish to thicken when exposed to air.

    Which of these methods have you tried before? Share your experiences in the comments and Follow us on Pinterest

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