Simple DIY Ways To Fix Nail Polish That’s Old & Thick!

We’ve all been there. You’ve not used that striking, pastel summer nail polish in ages. You open the cupboard drawer to find your best nail polish has turned into a bottle of gloop.

Akin to smashing your most expensive bronzer or finding out your favorite lipstick has been discontinued, it’s pretty devastating.

But don’t fear; knowing how to thin nail polish will save that beloved nail polish bottle from ending up in the trash.

Continue reading for some simple and quick fixes to save all your old nail polishes.

2  DIY ways to fix gloopy nail polish

Look no further. There are so many ways to turn that gloopy nail polish into a smooth blend that glides effortlessly onto your fingernails.

Try these two quick fixes;

1. Turn the bottle upside down and back again until the color pigments start to blend back together.

This should take roughly two to three minutes. But, it can be all that’s needed to fix the thick bottle of nail polish.

Never shake the bottle, though. Shaking will create tiny air bubbles which will end up on your nails.

2. Heat is your friend when trying to repair a gloopy nail polish bottle.

You can add heat to nail polish by rolling the bottle between your palms for a few minutes. Alternatively, try holding the nail polish bottle under hot running water for two minutes.

The heat from both options often creates a thinner and easier-to-spread consistency.

How can I make my nail polish thinner at home?

Knowing how to make nail polish thinner at home involves different techniques. You can use the quick fixes mentioned above or try some more permanent but equally effective solutions.

One of these top options includes using a professional nail lacquer thinner.

Tachibelle Nail Polish Thinner
Tachibelle Nail Polish Thinner


This method is probably one of the most effective ways to create long-lasting, smoother nail polish.

  • Using an eyedropper, pour two to three drops of the nail lacquer thinner into the nail polish.
  • You’ll want to use an eyedropper to ensure you don’t add too much thinner at once.
  • Once you’ve screwed the cap back on, roll the bottle between your palms to mix the two products. Again, do not shake the bottle, or you’ll end up with bubbles.
  • If the thinner doesn’t seem to be mixing into the polish, try turning the nail polish upside down a few times.
  • Check the consistency by swiping a finger. You’ll soon know if it’s too thick. If it doesn’t flow smoothly from the brush, you’ll need to add more thinner to get the desired consistency. Then test it again and repeat the process again, if necessary.

Always check if you’re nail polish is a gel or standard polish. You’ll need to use a thinner especially designed for gel nail polishes or acrylic nail polishes with gel polish formulas. These are usually available in most beauty stores.

If you’re still having trouble getting the nail polish thinner to blend with the nail polish, or the nail polish is very thick, try letting it sit in the nail polish before mixing it.

Add the two to three drops of thinner as above, but instead of mixing immediately, close the bottle and let it sit for one hour before rolling the bottle to mix.

What happens when you put acetone in nail polish?

Acetone nail polish remover can be your answer to how to make nail polish thinner. It shouldn’t cause any issues to already gloopy nail polish. Instead, adding acetone to nail polish is a favorite method to thinning thick nail polish.

Just as you should be careful with nail lacquer thinners, you only want to add one drop of pure acetone to your nail polish at a time, and then if it’s too thick, you can add another drop.

Pronto 100% Pure Acetone
Pronto 100% Pure Acetone


Roll the bottle between your fingers, or turn it upside down for a couple of minutes until the two are blended.

Remember, less is definitely more when adding acetone to nail polish. If you add too much acetone to nail polish, it will break down the makeup of the nail polish, which will then reduce its durability and lifespan.

How can I thin my nail polish without using a thinner?

Yes, nail polish thinners and acetone can be an effective way to save your best-loved summer color. But they do come with their problems.

Eventually, adding them to your nail polish can do more harm than good by creating brittle, splitting, breaking nails, and peeling nail varnish.

Ideally, knowing how to thin nail polish starts with learning how to reduce the chances of your nail polish clumping in the first place. You know what they say; prevention is better than cure.

Try following the below tips to prevent gloopy nail polish;

1. Always find a cool, dark place to store your nail polish.

Doing so lets your nail polish keep a consistent temperature. You might want to try the fridge for those living in a hot and humid climate.

Always keep your nail polish bottles away from direct sunlight, and never keep them in the bathroom.

2. Keep the lids tightly sealed

It’s so easy to forget to tighten that nail varnish lid, especially if you’re in a rush to get ready to go out. But, remembering to keep the bottle upright and sealed when you’re not using your nail polish is the easiest way to keep it spreadable.

You even need to close the bottle between coats. Trust us, the minute the air hits the polish, you’ll notice it starts to thicken.

3. Knowing when to say goodbye

Everything has an expiration date, and nail polishes are no different. Keeping your nail polish spreadable and consistent often means checking the inspiration date.

Plus, you need to know when to toss that nail polish bottle, even when it’s your favorite.

If you’ve tried all the methods above, including adding acetone or nail polish thinner to your polish, and it’s still clumpy, take this as a message that it’s time to part ways with the nail polish.