How to thin out nail polish? Sometimes you can find that your favorite nail polish or a nail polish that you haven’t used for some time has become too thick and difficult to apply. So you’d like to make nail polish thinner. You may also want to revert a polish that you have thickened for stamping back to its thinner state to be able to coat your nails with it.
Don’t throw away polish that has thickened. You can still thin your nail polish out with a few lifehacks. I’ll show you how to do it
Let’s jump right in!
How to thin out nail polish?
There are methods for making nail polish thinner — from using a special thinner liquid to some DIY methods that you may have never even heard about.
How to thin out nail polish with a nail polish thinner?
OPI Nail Lacquer Thinner
Of course, the best way to thin out nail polish is by using a special thinner liquid.
It’s usually very budget-friendly so it makes sense to invest in this product instead of using DIY methods that can yield mixed results.
What is a nail polish thinner?
A nail polish thinner is a special liquid that you can add to nail polish to thin it out if it’s become thick and sticky with time.
This product is formulated to blend well with polishes without ruining them or making them change color.
Some nail polish thinners work well with regular polishes, some blend with gel polishes, and some are suitable for water-based polishes.
So you’ll need to select a thinner that suits your polish of choice best.
Nail polish thinner even lets you increase the volume of your polish so one bottle will last you longer.
How to use nail polish thinner?
Use it according to the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.
In general, you should pick up 2 drops of thinner liquid with an eyedropper and add them to your polish.
Close the bottle tightly and roll it gently between your palms to let the thinner mix in with the polish.
Avoid shaking the bottle because it may cause bubbles to form inside the polish and ruin its texture.
If the polish is still thick repeat the process until you get the right consistency.
DIY nail polish thinner
If you don’t have a special thinner liquid at hand but you need to paint your nails ASAP don’t fret.
Here are a few DIY methods of nail polish thinning that can still save the day for you and let you get your manicure done.
Use 99% Isopropyl Alcohol as a nail polish thinner
Belle Chemical Medical Grade 99% Isopropyl Alcohol
99% Isopropyl Alcohol is often used in the nail industry. For example, for wiping the sticky layer off gel nail polish.
It’s also one of the solvents used as an ingredient in nail polishes and gel nail polishes.
So you can use it to thin out thick and clumpy nail polish when you don’t have a special thinner.
How to use it this DIY nail polish thinner?
The method of adding Isopropyl Alcohol to your polish is pretty much the same as the process of using a professional nail polish thinner.
Add a couple of drops of Isopropyl Alcohol with an eyedropper to your polish bottle.
Close the bottle, and roll it between your hands but avoid shaking the bottle.
Repeat the process until you get the right consistency.
However, the use of Isopropyl Alcohol has a few downsides.
Even though manufacturers do use it as a solvent agent in their polishes, it may not blend well with the formula of your polish.
So the polish may become too thin, won’t cure properly, or can even change color.
That’s why there’s a risk of ruining your polish with the use of Isopropyl Alcohol.
It’s always best to use a special nail polish thinner, which is more universal.
Use acetone to thin out nail polish
Pronto 100% Pure Acetone
You can use acetone as a nail polish thinner too.
Acetone is a powerful solvent.
It’s mostly used as a nail polish remover and it can even soften and soak-off gel polishes and super-durable acrylic nails.
How to use acetone to make nail polish thin?
Add just one drop of acetone to the polish and roll the closed bottle in your hands.
If the polish is still thick add another drop but don’t use too much acetone.
It can change the formula of your polish and it may become unusable.
How to thin out nail polish with micellar water?
Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water
Micellar water is a gentle cleanser that consists of pure water and hydrating ingredients and is formulated with micelles that help you remove makeup and oil-based impurities from your skin.
So it works as a very mild solvent.
You can thin out goopy nail polish by adding 1 teaspoon of micellar water to 1 bottle of polish.
Mix the two substances thoroughly together with a nail art brush or the product’s own brush.
After that, close the bottle and leave it to stand for 8-10 minutes.
Micellar water is absolutely harmless for your nails and won’t discolor the polish.
It’s also good for thinning out dried mascara and eyeliner.
How to thin out nail polish with water?
If you have no rubbing alcohol at home you can try to thin your nail polish out by placing your polish bottle in hot water.
Take a bowl and pour some hot water into it.
After that, shake the polish bottle well and place it into the water.
Of course, the bottle must be closed tightly to prevent the polish from leaking out into the bowl and to prevent the water from getting into the polish bottle.
The water that you use should be warm enough but not too hot to cause injury to you. After all, you’ll have to pick the bottle from the bowl. It mustn’t cause burns to your hands.
Keep the polish in the bowl for a couple of minutes and take it out after that. Pat the bottle dry.
Hot or very warm water softens the texture of the polish making it slightly thinner.
This method only works when the polish is not too thick. You can only use hot water for making nail polish thinner right before you use this polish for painting your nails.
It’s a one-time method that you’ll have to repeat every time you need to use the polish because after the bottle cools, the polish returns to its original thickened state.
Also, a word of caution: NEVER try to heat your polish by placing it near a direct heat source or a flame!
Nail polish is a highly flammable product and this can lead to a disaster.
Please be careful and stay safe!
Why does nail polish become thicker instead of staying thin?
Nail polish has solvent agents mixed in that help it stay liquid while it’s still inside the bottle.
When you apply a thin layer of polish to your nails these solvent agents evaporate and the polish becomes solid.
They can also evaporate if you keep the polish bottle open. That’s how the polish thickens.
Keeping the bottle open for some time is actually one of the methods for making nail polish thicker if you need to use it, for example, for nail stamping.
If the polish bottle’s cap stays tightly closed the solvent agents inside it will evaporate slower and the polish stays runny for quite a long time.
However, no polish bottle stays completely sealed. Air can still find a way inside the bottle. So the solvents will slowly evaporate over time and your polish may become thicker and goopier.
Depending on the construction of the bottle, storing conditions, and how well you’ve screwed the cap on, the polish can thicken in a few days or weeks, or even years.
If you want to continue using this thickened product you may want to make your nail polish thin with one of the methods I’ve outlined above.
How to keep nail polish thin?
If you don’t want to thin out nail polish ever again you can take a few steps to keep your nail polish thin for as long as possible and to extend its shelf life.
Keep the polish bottle tightly closed
Since the main reason why nail polish no longer stays thin is the evaporation of the product’s solvent agents, you should limit the airflow into the polish bottle.
Just keep the cap tightly shut so not much air gets in.
After you’ve done your manicure, don’t let the polish bottle stay opened for too long.
The solvents inside the polish can evaporate really quickly if you forget to screw the cap on or don’t close it tight enough.
So check the polish bottle’s cap after you’ve done your manicure and screwed it back on.
Of course, the bottle can’t stay perfectly sealed.
But every brand’s bottle construction is made with the evaporation issue in mind and if you keep it shut and store it properly it can stay thin enough for about 2 years.
Keep the polish in a dark and cool place
To make nail polish stay thin for as long as possible you should keep it away from direct sunlight and all heat sources.
Heat and light make the solvents evaporate faster and thus make the polish thicker.
In addition to that, UV rays from the sunlight can make your gel nail polish cure and harden inside the bottle.
You should also avoid storing your polish bottles in the bathroom because it’s too hot and humid there for polishes and other beauty products.
Use the polish before its expiration date
Probably the most important rule for getting the right consistency of your polish is using it while it’s still fresh.
There’s a reason manufacturers put expiration dates on their products.
They expect enough solvents to evaporate by this date that the polish becomes thick.
So try to use up the whole bottle before that date.