How To Make Dry Nail Polish Liquid Again in 6 Ways

Have you ever had a favourite shade of polish sitting in your drawer or shelf for a while that you opened only to find out that it has gone dry, thick or sticky, and hard or impossible to apply?

Are you considering throwing out your nail polish because it has dried out? Here’s everything you need to know about how to fix dry nail polish.

You can revive your old nail polish without having to buy a new bottle. With a few easy steps and tricks, you can fix thick and clumpy polishes, so your nails will look great again.

Can You Make Dried up Nail Polish Liquid Again?

Yes, you can make dried-up nail polish liquid again, it is very possible.. It happens to everyone: you forget that you’ve left one of your beloved nail polishes open and the next thing you know, it’s hard and dried up. Maybe you’ve even been there more than once.

So, yes, you can make dried-up nail polish liquid again. There are a few different solutions that work, including nail polish remover, oil and a few specific products made to soften dried-up polish. But the most effective method is the one that doesn’t require any special products or tools: just heat the bottle in hot water for about five minutes and you are good to go.

6 Proven Ways to Fix Dry Nail Polish

Knowing how to fix dry nail polish is essential. If you have one or a few bottles you need help with, here are a few tips and tricks to fix them:

1. Use a nail polish thinner

This is actually the best method to solve your nail polish problems and restore its consistency without destroying the product. Nail polish thinner helps to recover the solvents originally present in the polish that allows it to form a skin and dry correctly.

Many nail polish brands usually have thinners of their own you can choose from. Using the same thinner made by the same brand that made the polish will probably give you the best results. Add a drop in the bottle, screw the polish cap back, rub the bottle in your hands for the formula to mix, and see if the nail polish is as thin as you desire.

If it’s not, you may add another drop of nail polish thinner and keep repeating the process until the nail polish is as thin and wet as you want. Don’t shake the bottle, as this can affect the consistency by creating air bubbles.

You need to be cautious not to add too many drops as this can eventually make your polish too thin and runny, and you won’t be able to re-think again. You can use an eyedropper for the best results.

You can check for effective nail polish thinner here

2. Hot Water “Bath”

This is another way you can try if your nail polish is dry. You have to pour some hot water into a cup or bowl, then place the tightly closed nail polish bottle inside there and let it sit for a few minutes.

The thick consistency will loosen up, and the nail polish will have a much more liquid texture with the help of heat and steam. Then you can shake the formula back to its normal consistency.

3. Mix the polish

This method works very well for your dry nail polish if the product has not thickened too much. Make sure the bottle is sealed and gently roll it back and forth in between the palms of your hands for a few minutes.

This helps the polish to warm up and thin out. You can also turn the bottle upside down just once to allow the colour to redistribute. Always have it in mind as it is mentioned above, that shaking is not an option as it creates air bubbles that can cause nail polish to chip quickly. It can also cause the polish to become thicker, so don’t shake!

4. Use nail polish remover

Nail Polish Remover can be used to re-liquefy nail polish that has become unusable and it is cost-effective, safe and easy to use. Unlike water would, having the same base as the nail polish makes the nail polish remover work perfectly and won’t affect the formula negatively.

In order to liquefy the polish, pour your dry nail polish into a small container and add a small amount of nail polish remover and stir with a mini fork. You have to use a very small amount to make sure that the nail polish doesn’t get too liquid.

5. Using Acetone

This is a common household solvent used in cleaning products. It can also be used to liquefy dry nail polish. Acetone is a liquid that can dissolve many types of plastics, including nail polish which is largely made from plastic.

Nail polish that has hardened only needs to be soaked in acetone overnight to make it usable again. Be very careful not to let the acetone get on your skin because it will cause some serious irritation.

In fact, it should only be used as a last resort when you’re trying to use the last bits of your polish before getting rid of the bottle. It works as a quick fix, but the acetone will break down the formula and ruin the nail polish. It’s probably the best time to part ways with your old nail polish if you’ve got to this stage.

6. Mix the Nail Polish

If the nail polish is slightly thickened, gently mix the nail polish and roll the bottle with your hands over and over. Check and roll again until it becomes thinner.

Tips to Prevent Nail Polish From Drying Out

Nail polish drying out is one of the most anticipated fears of all owners and has one time or the other experienced it. It’s extremely frustrating to take the time and effort to apply it, only to find that it has dried into a clumpy, gooey mess just a few days later.

What usually follows is removing what is left on the brush and throwing out the bottle or jar just to replace it with another.

Here are some simple tips on how to ensure your nail polish doesn’t dry out again.

1. Exposing it to air

One of the major reasons for your nail polish to become thick and dry is by exposing it to air. Your nail polish dries out fast as you leave the bottle open or keep the lid off for longer than necessary.

So when applying nail polish, do not forget to close the cap between coats i.e after your first coat, close the bottle for a while and then start applying the second coat of nail polish. You should also ensure that you always close your nail polish bottle properly after every use so that it is as airtight as possible.

2. Store polish properly

Nail polish usually lasts longer if you store it correctly. It needs to be stored in a cool, dry place in your home.

3. Keep your nail polish away from sunlight

The pigments which are largely responsible for the consistency of the nail polish can be affected by direct sunlight and can alter the consistency or the colour of the polish.

4. Clean frequently

Another aspect which is important is cleanliness if you want to keep your nail polish in perfect condition. Take time to remove excess polish from the bottles and clean the rim of the polish well because a lot of dry product will accumulate and you may not be able to close the cap properly.

This will allow the passage of air into the bottle and cause the polish to dry out much sooner. In order to stop this from happening, you can put a little nail polish remover on a cotton ball and rub the rim clean.

5. Store your nail polish upright always

Do not store your nail polish lying down, upside down, etc because the pigments may have separated a little after a couple of weeks of not using your nail polish and will not be easier to shake back together unlike when the polish has been stored upright.

6. Do not store your nail polish in the bathroom

Showering in the bathroom makes the temperature and humidity to be constantly fluctuating and this can affect the consistency of the nail polish negatively by making it thicker or making the pigments separate.

7. Do not keep nail your nail polish in the refrigerator

It changes the chemical composition of the polish, making it dry out faster.

You may only store your nail polish in the refrigerator if you live in warmer or more humid climates. The nail polish will be in a cool and dark place away from the sun in the refrigerator and the temperature will remain constant. The colder temperature will also better help keep the pigments together.

What Can I Add to My Nail Polish to Make It Liquid Again?

There are a few options for dealing with dried-up nail polish. You could try adding a tiny amount of nail polish remover (acetone), which will get the polish moving again.

How Can I Reuse My Dry Nail Polish?

What do you do when you're running low on nail polish remover, but have a whole bunch of dried nail polish that you don't want to waste? You can use a thinner to dissolve the dried polish and use it again. This makes it easier to apply on your nails.


As you already know, there are many reasons why nail polishes become dry, ranging from the standard reason like the bottle not being properly closed, to the unpredictable reason like strong sunlight. It’s also crucial to recognize the signs of a dry polish: the bottle will feel lighter than usual, and you may notice changes in the texture of the polish. The good news is that dry nail polish can still be made usable again.

Although there is no right or wrong way to restore nail polish back to its liquid form, the tips above can help you apply it properly. What is certain is that your nail polish won’t last forever, but the above tips should get your nail polish back in tip-top shape and make your manicure look fabulous again.

So, the next time you reach for that bottle of dried-out nail polish and think about throwing it out, keep in mind that there are a few ways to make it usable once again. The magic lies in softening the dried polish—not completely rehydrating it, but getting it moist enough to apply easily to your nails.

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