How to Thin Nail Polish – 5 Quick Ways

Every girl has a favorite shade of nail polish in her make-up collection. It can be heartbreaking to pull out your favorite shade only to find the polish all dried up. It is even more depressing when more than half of the polish is still left inside the bottle.

While it is uneven to apply thick or gloppy nail polish; otherwise, you’d end up ruining your manicure or pedicure. The only way out is to find a workable solution that isn’t tossing the product away.

How to Thin Nail Polish

nail polish

Luckily, there are a few tried and tested methods to remedy the situation. After trying these few methods, you’ll know what to do when faced with gloppy or thick nail polish.

1. Use A Nail Polish Thinner

This is one of the best methods tried and tested to thin nail polish and completely restore its consistency without destroying the product. Usually, most nail polish brands have nail polish thinners of their own which you can easily get.

How To Use

Step One

Use an eyedropper if possible to add at least 2-3 drops of thinner into the polish.

Step Two

Screw the nail polish cap back on and roll the bottle between your hands to mix the formula. Be careful not to shake the bottle as it will create air bubbles that can affect the consistency of the product.

Step Three

Test the consistency of the polish on your nail. You can add a drop and repeat the process if it’s still thick. Try not to add too much, as it can affect the consistency of the product, and you might be unable to revive it again.

2. Mix The Polish

Mixing the nail polish can work best if the product has thickened a little bit. To do this, ensure the bottle is sealed and turned upside down.

Go ahead and roll it between your hands for a few minutes. Doing this will help to warm up the polish and revive it. Remember not to shake the bottle to prevent it from getting thicker.

3. Use Hot Water

If you don’t have access to a nail polish thinner, try using hot water. Run your bottle under hot water to heat the polish. After a minute or two, roll the polish between your hands and repeat the process until your nail polish is a good consistency.

4. Use Alcohol

Using alcohol to thin nail polish is a common method; however, you can’t use any alcohol you find lying in your house. Isopropyl alcohol is one of the recommended alcohol to use because it acts like ethyl acetate, which is the solvent used in most nail polishes, meaning you can use it as an alternative solvent if your nail polish gets thick.

How To Use

Use an eyedropper to add two drops of Isopropyl alcohol to the main polish. Gently mix the polish and check for consistency.

If it’s still too thick, add another drop and repeat the process. Once you’re done, allow the polish to settle for about 20 minutes before applying it to your nails.

Note: This won’t work with all nail polishes, depending on the formula and which solvent was originally used.

5. Add A Drop Of Pure Acetone or Nail Polish Remover


If you’ve tried the above methods or run out of nail polish thinner, you can use pure acetone or nail polish remover. Remember to use only one drop; two drops or more will break down the polish and lessen its lifespan. After testing the consistency, it’s time to say goodbye to your nail polish if it’s still thick or gloppy.

Note: This is a temporary fix, and it might break down the formula and ruin the polish.

You might want to check out: How to Remove Dip Powder Nails

How to Prevent Nail Polish From Thickening

The ideal way to prevent your nail polish from thickening is to take precautions.

1. Store Properly

The best way to store nail polish is in a cool, dark place that maintains a consistent temperature. You can also store it in the refrigerator if you live in a warm and humid climate. Do not store your nail polish in the bathroom as the temperature in there constantly fluctuates, and the humidity can tamper with your polish longevity.

2. Seal Properly

Another way to prevent nail polish from thickening is to seal it properly when not actively using it. Make sure you close the bottle between the coats because it’s when the air hits the polish that it starts to thicken.

3. Wipe The Neck Of The Nail Polish Bottle

Gently wipe the neck of the nail polish bottle with a cotton ball soaked in acetone before closing it tightly. This will remove any excess polish; failure to do this will let the polish dry on the neck and make the bottle difficult to close. It can also cause air to get trapped inside the bottle and make the polish dry out faster.