Thinning out your Nail Polish

Yesterday I posted a tip in my “Halloween Nails How To” about adding a couple of drops of nail polish remover to caked up shatter effect nail paint.

 Today I had a comment from a reader about how she had heard that this was a big no-no and I was asked why this was. I also received tweets about the pros and cons of this method too so I thought I’d write another post about it.

 1. I only add a couple of drops to shatter/crackle effect paints and not regular polish unless they are really caked up.

 2. I only do this with cheap polishes as there are cons to doing this as I’ll explain below 

3. There are specified products designed to thin out gloopy, caked up polishes…I just don’t want to run out and buy them when I can use remover.

 The Problem


After a while the brushes and bottles of polishes that aren’t used become gloopy and caked up with thick, drying nail paint. Some people prefer to just throw the bottle and buy a new one…the more thrifty of us will try to remedy the situation and try to salvage as much as we can. 

There have been tons of blogs and articles written about how to do this…half of them go with the remover solution and the other half cry out in horror if you even try to suggest it. Rather than tell you that my way is the best way I’ll just list the pros and cons and let you decide for yourself!

 The Pros 

  • Remover is cheap, you can get it for under £1 and everyone usually has a bottle lying around somewhere. 
  • Adding a couple of drops to the bottle and shaking the bottle thoroughly is usually enough to turn the polish fluid again. 
  • Brilliant for cleaning the brush. 
  • If your cheap polish is really gummed up then adding a few drops isn’t really going to ruin anything is it? 
  • Best method if you plan on throwing the bottle sooner rather than later. 
  • Don’t use on metallic/hologram polishes as the glittery pieces will just disintegrate. 

The Cons


  • Add too much and you’ll ruin the consistency of the polish…only add a couple of drops, carefully! The high water content and other ingredients can cause the polish to separate in the bottle. Shake and test the polish between each drop and stop when you get to the right consistency. 
  • Some people find that it dulls the finish of the polish (though adding topcoat to your nails makes it look shiny and glossy again) 
  • Add too much and you may find that the polish turns lighter. It’s all about adding it carefully and slowly! 

The Alternatives.


  • You can buy Nail Polish Thinner from places like Sally’s and most beauty/drug stores. The method remains the same: add a few drops and shake well. 
  • I’ve heard that cleaning the brush and then rubbing Vaseline on the threads and edges of the lid stops polish from clogging the handle up. 
  • Some people swear by adding clear polish to the bottle you’re trying to repair. 
  • Try warming the bottle up by rolling it in between the palms of your hands.


No polish lasts forever, at some point you will have to give up and throw it away. 

Store your polishes correctly in a dry, cool place…NOT THE FRIDGE! Storing polishes in the fridge can make them thicker and more unusable. 

Dark coloured polish will clump up sooner because they are more heavily pigmented than light colours.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: