Nail Polish Fixes for Thick or Sticky Polish

by Katelyn Cheek and Caroline Harris

Nail Polish Fixes for Thick or Sticky Polish
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Don’t let thick or gloppy nail polish ruin your mani or pedi. We have the tips and tricks you need to rescue tired polish and to prevent the problem from happening in the first place.


If you paint your own nails at home, chances are some of your favorite polishes have become hard to open, too thick, or difficult to apply. But you don’t have to toss out your old favorite polishes. Study up on key techniques for salvaging your nail polish.



Polish Rescue: What To Do When Your Favorite Polish Has Become Sticky and Hard to Apply


It’s a sad day when you reach into your nail polish collection, only to discover that your favorite shade is now a gloppy mess. Don’t despair. Follow these dos and don’ts to remedy the situation.


– Try a nail lacquer thinner. At around $5 to $12 per bottle, this cost-efficient method is the way to go. Apply two to three drops of solution to your polish.


– Instead of shaking your polish, roll it. Shaking a bottle of nail polish creates air bubbles. The air bubbles cause your polish to chip quickly, and you don’t want that.


– Never use nail polish remover to thin your thick, sticky nail polish. While it may seem like a quick fix, adding nail polish will eventually break down the formula and ruin the polish.


– If you don’t have access to lacquer thinner and need a quick fix, try hot water. Run your bottle under hot water to heat up the polish. This will temporarily thin the formula. After a minute or two under the hot water, roll the polish between your hands. Be careful because the glass bottle can get very hot. Repeat this process until your polish is a good consistency.


– After following these tips, you can embrace your best nail life!


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Prevention: How to Keep Your Nail Polish From Becoming Gloppy


Of course, the ideal is to prevent your nail polish from becoming gloppy in the first place. Here’s how.


– Make sure to store polish in a cool, climate-controlled area. Your bathroom is actually not a good place to store your polish. It’s constantly heating up and cooling off because of your blow dryer and shower. These temperature shifts can be costly.


– The easiest way to prevent your nail polish from drying out is by storing your bottles right side up. Don’t store them upside down; it can cause clumps and drying at the neck of the bottle.


– Keep the neck of your nail polish bottle clean by wiping it with a cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover. This will allow your bottle to close properly and prevent air from getting inside.


– Always tighten your polish bottle and never leave the lid off for longer than necessary. Exposing your polish to air is one of the leading reasons your polish thickens.


– Invest in a smart storage solution, like one of these nail polish organizers. Consolidating your polishes in one place will help prevent any possible mishaps. Plus, when it’s mani-pedi time, you’ll know exactly where to find your favorite shades. If you have tons of polishes, consider splurging on a nail rack to display your collection.



Below, shop the best nail polish thinners for restoring the consistency of your favorite nail polishes.


RELATED: Acrylic or Gel Manicure? DIY Perfect Nails At Home


1 of 5 Image Credits: Walmart

OPI Nail Polish Thinner


This product thins your nail polish to restore its smooth consistency. The nail polish thinner also helps rejuvenate your favorite polishes so they last longer. A few drops is all you need.

2 of 5 Image Credits: Amazon

Beauty Secrets Nail Polish Thinner


Amazon reviewers are raving about how well this nail polish thinner restores polishes to their original consistency. As one happy shopper states, "stop throwing away polishes and get this." After three drops and some careful rolling, your polish will be good as new.

3 of 5 Image Credits: Amazon

Seche Restore Nail Polish, 0.5 Fluid Ounce


Paint your nails, apply a top coat, then a few drops of this nail lacquer to get the consistency you want. This product works with all types of nail polishes and helps strengthen your manicure.

4 of 5 Image Credits: Walmart

SuperNail Nail Polish Thinner


Add a small amount of this thinner directly to your nail polish bottle. Close the cap, then mix the nail polish until you're satisfied with the consistency. After using this product, you can get a vibrant mani-pedi even with old polishes.

5 of 5 Image Credits: Amazon

Orly Nail Polish Thinner, 2 Ounce


This nail polish thinner comes with a convenient built-in dropper for added precision as you restore your nail polish. Put six drops of the product into your nail polish, then gently roll the bottle for best results. Turn the nail polish on its side, letting the formula sit for a few hours to ensure the whole formula gets thinned evenly. One Amazon reviewer used this product to rescue forty nail polish bottles, noting the thinner is a "godsend."