Why Does Nail Polish Separate?

Nail polish separating is a phenomenon that occurs when the top layer of your nail polish separates from the bottom layer, and you end up with a mess. It’s usually caused by the polish being too thick or too thin or having used an old bottle of polish. However, why does nail polish separate?

Nail polish separates because the colorants-pigmented particles suspended in the formula vary in weight. Heavier ones most times settle at the bottom over time. However, rolling the polish bottle between your hands will re-mix them perfect for use.

In addition, this can be prevented by shaking your nail polish before each use. This will mix up the ingredients, so they all get evenly distributed throughout your bottle. You should also keep your bottle upside down when you’re not using it so that gravity can help keep everything mixed up.

How to Keep My Nail Polish From Separating

The best way to prevent your favorite nail polish from separating is through proper storage, but if your nail polish does separate, you can handle the problem with thinner drops.

Looking at the best way to store your nail polish so that it doesn’t separate, we came up with the following suggestions.

1. Store your nail polish in a cool, dry place

Keeping sensitive products like nail polish in a cool, dry place can never be overemphasized. Humidity creates more chances for nail polish to separate- which is why you should not keep nail polish in areas of your home like the bathroom or kitchen.

Rather, store them in a cool, dry place, like the closet in your living room or the cabinet in your bedroom.

2. Keep your nail polish upright

When you leave your nail polish upside down or on its side, it’s more likely to separate. Always keep them upright, and if you notice the bottle fell over, stand it back up as soon as possible.

3. Close the cap tightly before storage

In addition to separating, nail polish can develop problems such as drying out if you fail to secure the cap. Before storing it, twist the cap tightly until you can’t anymore. And ensure you keep it out of the reach of children so they don’t re-open or keep it in a way it will separate.

4. Purchase a higher-quality nail polish

It is generally known that quality nail polishes can be sustainable, long-lasting, and pay off better in the long run.

Cheap nail polish, on the other hand, is easier to separate and harder to fix. In essence, ensure you buy a more qualitative product, so you do not suffer these problems next time.

How to Fix Already Separated Nail Polish

Fixing separated nail polish is possible. All you need do is follow the steps below and see the magic!

Step 1- Add thinner drops.

You can purchase thinner drops made for nail polish at most beauty or drug stores. If your nail polish has separated, add a small quantity of thinner drops to the bottle.

Step 2- Roll the bottle between your hands.

After you must have added the thinner drops, place the bottle between your palms and roll it back and forth until the colors mix again.

As long as your nail polish isn’t damaged or stringy, this will come out successfully because it is an effective way to fix separated nail polish.

Step 3- Inspect the results.

You can now open the bottle and see if the nail polish has returned to its shape. Suppose it hasn’t, add a little drop of thinner and repeat the same process to achieve desired results.

Step 4- Use a paint shaker.

If, after trying the above tips and the nail polish separation persist, buy a shaker for nail polish- you can order online or at some department store.

You simply place your nail polish in the Shaker and turn the machine on. This machine provides vigorous shaking compared to your hands and can help separated colors run together again.

Signs Indicating That It Is Time to Trash Your Nail Polish

Even with several tips and ways to recover nail polish after it has separated, damaged, or other related issues, there’re times when you need to get rid of nail polish. This comes with signs from the nail polish indicating that it is no longer safe to use and should be thrown away. Here is what to look out for:

1. Polish that is hard to open

If you try different methods to open your nail polish, leaving the body on its side, using hot water and polish remover but yet the cap refuses to budge, then just let it go.

2. Nail polish thinned with polish remover

Some blogs claim that you can thin your old nail polish with remover. However, we stand in opposition.

This is because many nail polish removers contain acetone capable of breaking down the formula of your lacquer, thereby ruining it. Use the original thinner instead.

3. Nail polish that doesn’t blend easily

Originally, nail polish lasts up to two years once opened, but if it is still separated and refuses to blend after a quick shake, toss it.

4. Nail polish that is crumbly

If you fail to screw the cap well enough after your last manicure, the solvents in your polish will evaporate, thus leaving you with a bottle of semi-crumbly dried-out polish that no amount of thinner can restore.

5. Glitter nail polish that is globby

Normally, glitter polish tends to be a little goopier than its less sparkly counterparts, but it should be trashed if it becomes thick and un-spreadable.

If Nail Polish Separated, Is It Still Good?

Yes. It’s still good. The separation of ingredients in nail polish is a natural process that occurs over time. This separation does not mean the polish is bad. The ingredients will remain safe for use, and your nail polish will still be able to protect your nails from discoloration and other damaging effects.

Can You Still Use a Nail Polish That Is Separated?

In most cases, yes. The reason nail polish separates is the difference in weight in the chemicals used in the cosmetic, which allows the heavier ones to go down to the bottom.

However, this problem can be solved by shaking the polished bottle or mixing it with your hand. In a nutshell, there’s nothing wrong with using different nail polish.


Separated nail polish can still be used. It just means that the oil in the polish has risen to the top and is floating on top of the base coat and colored polish. This may make your finished manicure look weird, but it doesn’t mean you need to throw out your polish; stir it up again before using it.

As good as it may sound, separated nail polish usually doesn’t mean it is expired or nonstandard. All you need do is apply the logic provided in this article, and voilà, your nail polish is ready for use.