4 Ways To Thin Nail Polish So It's Not Thick And Clumpy

Posted by Ren Wu

How To Thin Nail Polish

Have you ever reached for your go-to nail lacquer just to discover it's turned into a bottle of globby glue? That kind of pain is hard to beat. 😓

However, that doesn't mean your nail polish has kicked the bucket. All it takes is a bit of acetone to revive your once-smooth lacquer - it's easier than it seems!

At a Glance

  1. Use a Nail Polish Thinner
  2. Add a Touch of Pure Acetone or Nail Polish Remover
  3. Always Store Polish in a Cool, Dark Place
  4. Submerge the Bottle in a Bowl of Hot Water

Keep reading to learn four ways you can salvage thick polish and prevent it from clumping.

See Related: 8 Pretty Pink Nail Ideas For Your Next Manicure

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#1. Use a Nail Polish Thinner

Nail art novices and seasoned professionals can all agree that nail polish thinner is the best way to revive thickened nail polish. All it takes is a couple of drops of a thinner like Beauty Secrets' Nail Polish Thinner to help "water down" your formula without ruining the consistency.

Unlike other DIY remedies, nail polish thinner is specifically designed to fix clumpy polish. That's why it's the best choice!

Just be sure not to use too much. It only takes a couple of drops. Add it one drop at a time until you reach the perfect consistency (you can test it on your nail as you go.) If you add too much, it'll be runny and unsalvagable.

Remember to shake the bottle to combine everything. Now, you can get back to fashioning a festive Christmas manicure!

#2. Add a Touch of Pure Acetone or Nail Polish Remover

Most likely, you don't have any nail polish thinner on hand unless you've already dealt with a case of gooey nail polish. But you probably have some nail polish remover!

Acetone or polish remover should only be used as a last resort. It's a much better choice to go and buy a cheap bottle of polish thinner. You might be safe using acetone if you're only trying to use up the last bits of polish.

Add a few drops of acetone to your nail polish bottle to help thin the formula. This will only give you short-term results - it's just a quick fix and nothing more. Though it will thin the nail polish like you want, it may also dissolve the varnish and make it look bumpy or dull.

woman holding a bottle of nail polish remover smoothly chip lose extend solvents drops thinner hands leaving ingredients true dried

#3. Always Store Polish in a Cool, Dark Place

This isn't technically a method for thinning clumpy nail polish, but it is an essential part of Nail Art 101! To prevent your favorite pearly gold polish from thickening, always store your products in a cool, dark place.

This helps keep the product at a consistent temperature. If you live in a particularly hot or humid place, you can even keep them in the fridge. It's a good idea not to store them in your bathroom's medicine cabinet, as the steam from hot showers can cause the product to clump up.

You should also avoid storing your polish in direct sunlight. This can break down the formula, leading to clumps and glumps.

Bonus: 9 White Nail Ideas To Try This Summer

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#4. Submerge the Bottle in a Bowl of Hot Water

If you want to restore your sticky nail polish but don't have any acetone polish remover on hand, sometimes all it takes is a bit of hot water. Run the bottle under hot water to heat up the polish. This will help temporarily thin the product and break up clumps.

Leave it either running under hot water or submerged in hot water for at least two minutes.

Depending on how hot the water was, you might need to wait a couple of minutes to handle the bottle.

When you do, be sure to roll the bottle to mix it up instead of shaking it. Though most of us do shake the bottle, this can make the product stick to the top of the bottle, which can harden and make it impossible to open. You can't go wrong with rolling it.

Final Thoughts

The next time you discover your most precious polish has turned into a clumpy mess, don't fret! Before you toss it into the trashcan with tears in your eyes, try out one of these techniques for bringing it back to life.

You'll be back to creating fresh French tips and cozy autumn nails in no time!

Need more inspiration for your at-home manicure? Check out this YouTube video below for some high-class Bridgerton-inspired nails.

Keep Reading: How Long Does It Take For Nail Polish To Dry?


At Maniology, we believe your nails are opportunities for adventure, fun, and unrestrained artistic expression. Our nail stamping plates and nail accessories are here to help foster your self-expression in the hopes of building a community of individuality. For more nail tutorials, subscription box updates, and designs, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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