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How to revive old nail polish that has thickened

We’ve all had this manicure fail. 

You’ve set aside the time to do an at-home mani. You’ve scrubbed and buffed your nails, done your base coat, found a magazine to lean your hands on, and chosen a color. Then… you can’t open the bottle. The nail polish has turned thick and goopy. Now what?

We don’t want anyone to have to turn back once they’ve chosen to paint their nails, so we spoke to Katie Jane Hughes, butter LONDON Global Colour Ambassador, about the best way to get an old bottle of polish up to the task again.

If you have the tools at hand, the job is simple, says Hughes. “Try adding a few drops of nail polish thinner. You can find it at any beauty supply store. It’s a cheap and simple way to get the most out of your favorite shade.” ZOYA manicurist Naomi Gonzalez-Longstaff recommends Mavala Nail Polish Thinner or Seche Restore .

If you don’t have nail polish thinner on hand, dip your polish brush in acetone before sending it back into the bottle. Don’t use more than a few drops or you’ll get your polish too thin and it won’t stick to your nails for long. If your polish is 5 Free, says Gonazlez-Longstaff, acetone will change the formula and make the pigment change. If you’re treating your nails right, it’s best to re-buy your favorite healthy shade.

Eventually, all good shades must come to an end and if you have to shake the bottle to get lacquer to the brush, Hughes warns that you’ll end up with bubbles on your mani. Better to toss and start over with a new, smooth polish.

How to revive old nail polish that has thickened
Image: Tiffany Egbert/SheKnows

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