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Nail Polish Fixes for Thick or Sticky Polish

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. We've got a few tricks to salvage your nail polish and storage tips to help prevent the damage from happening again.

See: How To Shape Your Nails

Polish rescue: If your favorite nail polish is thick and hard to apply, follow these dos and don'ts to remedy the situation.

  • Try a nail lacquer thinner. At around $5 - $8 per bottle, this cost-efficient method can be found at any of your local drugstores. Apply 2 to 3 drops of solution to your polish.
  • Roll the bottle to mix. Shaking the polish creates air bubbles. The air bubbles cause your polish to chip quickly.
  • Never use nail polish remover to thin your thick, sticky nail polish. While it may create a quick solution, adding polish remover 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 polish. 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.

Prevention: Dealing with thick and difficult nail polish can be frustrating. Follow these prevention tips to avoid the problem. Here's how.

  • Make sure to store polish in a cool, climate-controlled area. Your bathroom is actually not one of them. It's constantly heating up and cooling off because of your blow dryer and shower.
  • 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 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.

See: The Perfect Hack To Paint The Nails On Your OTHER Hand Without Making A MessĀ 

Katelyn Cheek

Katelyn is an eCommerce Editor for, and by day and the voice behind the blog Katalina Girl by night. Katalina Girl serves as her personal diary where she shares all of the things related to style, beauty, travel, and entertaining about which she's truly passionate. In her spare time, she's a freelance writer + stylist and the design director for her husband's custom home and renovations company, Oakstone Homes. She also has two beautiful fur babies—Dash and Meyer—with whom she is completely obsessed.

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