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How to Thin Nail Polish That's Old, Thick or Goopy

Rescue your precious lacquer with this easy-to-follow DIY nail polish thinner

Are you trying to figure out how to thin nail polish that has gotten thick and goopy? Anyone who loves nail polish is bound to have a few bottles of old, clumpy nail polish that is just too precious to toss. Maybe it's an OPI that has been discontinued, or the bottle of Essie you wore on your wedding day, but parting with polishes near and dear to your heart is painful. Rather than tossing your half-empty, beloved bottles, use these tricks to thin out goopy nail polish.

Transform clumpy nail polish into usable lacquer
Transform clumpy nail polish into usable lacquer

Image via Imaxtree

Saving Polish With Nail Polish Thinner
When researching how to thin nail polish, you may have come across a tip that suggests diluting it with nail polish remover. Unless you only want to wear your polish one more time, we don't recommend doing this. Nail polish remover breaks down the polish over time. A better option is to add nail polish thinner to your polish. Mavala Thinner, $10, is a cost-efficient way of lengthening the life of your nail polish. It was designed for the express purpose of thinning nail polish that has become too thick to apply smoothly.

After adding two to three drops of thinner into the polish bottle, mix the nail-lacquer thinner into your polish by rolling the bottle between your hands or on a table top. Avoid shaking the bottle, as this can create air bubbles that weaken the polish and cause it to chip more frequently.

The Hot Water Fix
Here's how to thin nail polish with items you already have at home:
Immerse your bottle of goopy polish under hot water. Place the bottle under running water, or fill a bowl with very hot water and set the bottle of nail polish inside it. Allow the nail polish bottle to remain in the hot water for up to two minutes, and then gently roll it back and forth to mix the polish that's inside.

Just a heads up: The glass bottle will be very hot, so be careful handling it. If your nail polish hasn't thinned enough, re-immerse the bottle in hot water for a few more minutes. You may also want to combine this tip with the nail polish thinner tip. Your favorite polish will be back to its original state in no time.

Keep Polish From Getting Goopy
If you really want to know how to thin nail polish, it's important to remember that prevention is the best cure. We have a few preventative tips that will keep your polish from getting gunky in the first place.

Tighten the lid on your nail polish bottle when you're not using it, and don't ever remove the lid off for longer than necessary. Exposure to air is one of the reasons nail polish starts to dry out and thicken.

Always store your nail polish in a cool place, like a linen closet. Though convenient, the bathroom isn't the best place to store nail polish because things start heating up when you shower or use a blow dryer.

Store the bottles upright. When bottles rest on their side or upside down, it causes drying and clumps at the neck of the bottle. Furthermore, it's a good idea to clean the bottle's neck every time you use it with a cotton swab soaked in nail polish remover.


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