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How to Thin Dried-Out Nail Polish

How to Bring Your Old Nail Polish Back to Life

We all have that one old, thick nail polish that we can't part with. Instead of tossing it, fix it with Allure's easy tips!

You know that one nail polish that you never get tired of? We have one of those, too. Here's the catch: each time you swipe on that not-too-orange red or that just-perfect blue-purple, you're letting air into the bottle, which little by little thickens the polish. First it becomes harder to spread. And by the time the brush starts to get clumpy, you know it's on its last leg. New York City–based manicurist Miss Pop shares her quick fix for bringing a well-loved old polish back to life.

Start by rinsing out the brush. We're not talking soap and water, people. Dried polish requires acetone. Take a cup (that you will never drink from, duh) and fill it with the acetone. Warning: don't use plastic; acetone melts plastic. "That shot glass you got on vacation in Jamaica that you're never going to take a shot from? Use that." Swirl your brush in the acetone until the clumps of polish loosen and fall off. You can use a paper towel to pull off the more persistent pieces, but don't use a cotton pad or you'll be stuck picking cotton strings out of your polish for eternity. Once the brush is clean, screw the cap back into the bottle, acetone-filled brush and all. The remaining acetone in the bristles will thin out the rest of the polish.


"The good news is this will help refresh goopy nail polish by redissolving the polymers," says cosmetic chemist Randy Schueller. "The bad news is that if you use too much acetone, you could disrupt the way the polish dries, which could make your nail polish crack easily." This trick should be good for a couple times to get the last few uses out of your favorite shade.

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