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How to Prevent Bubbles in Nail Polish, According to Nail Experts

Close up of a woman's manicured hand.

The teeny tiny bubbles that sometimes pop up in your manicure are annoying, yes, but may also be an indication that it’s time to replace your polish (or head to a new nail salon, if you chose to use theirs). “Bubbles in nail polish could mean the product is too old or not well taken care of,” says Steph Stone, a celebrity manicurist. And, If the product isn’t well maintained, your manicure will likely also chip early, too.

So, if you’re wondering how exactly to prevent bubbles in nail polish, Byrdie has your back. We spoke to two experts, Steph Stone and Julie Kandalec, to find out not only how to prevent bubbles, but also what the remedies are to repair them, and if it’s possible to get rid of them once they appear. Keep reading for the details.

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Press the Bubbles Out

Although you shouldn’t have issues with bubbles if you shake out the bottle, it’s crucial to press out the brush ahead of application. “It’s important to press out the bubbles from the brush first when you’re pulling it from the neck of the brush to eliminate the air bubbles,” explains Kandalec. This should help prevent them from the start or help you determine if it’s time for a new bottle.

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Roll the Bottle Between Your Hands

“Overshaking the bottle or repeatedly stuffing the brush back in the bottle too many times could also create bubbles in your nail polish,” says Stone. If your polish looks a bit bubbly on your brush, try rolling the bottle between your hands. “In order to mix the polish without creating bubbles, try briefly rolling the bottle between your hands.”

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Make Sure the Polish Formula Isn’t Too Thick

If your formula is too thick, chances are high that bubbles will appear. “When a polish is too thick, it is going to create a bubble,” says Kandalec. She suggests opting for thinner formulas because ‘it won’t pop as easily with thicker formulas.”

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Check Your Brush

While this may seem like a given, checking your brush should be the first thing on your to-do list when figuring out if your polish will bubble. “One way to prevent bubbles from the onset is to remove them from the brush first,” explains Kandalec. She advises pulling the handle from the neck of the brush and pressing out the air bubbles into it to prevent them from forming on top of your nail.

Stone agrees and also advises checking the brush to see if there are bubbles in the product on the brush. “If there are bubbles on the brush they will definitely transfer onto your nails, If you see a bubble on your brush, re-dip the brush into the bottle again before you apply the polish,” she says.

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Paint Thinner Layers

If you just purchased a brand new bottle of polish, it may be your application technique that’s the problem. “You may have painted your polish too thick,” says Stone. When you painted your nails, the polish that settled there could have had bubbles between their coats that made their way to the top, which potentially had been caused by you painting them too thick. “It is best to paint thin layers for better control of the product,” says Stone.

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Keep the Bottle In A Cool, Dry Spot

For the most part, advises Stone, bubbles can be prevented unless the polish in the bottle has been damaged from heat or air exposure. In order to avoid this, it’s best to keep your nail polish in a cool, dry place with minimal sun exposure to extend the life of your polish for as long as possible. “Also, when you paint your nails, be sure to close the bottle as soon as you finish painting as heat and air make your nail polish thick and goopy, which is a prime consistency for bubbles to form.”

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Use a New Bottle of Polish

If none of the above tips help at all, it’s time to snag a new bottle of polish. Your nail polish may be too old or thick, and just like every other beauty product, it’s likely time for a replacement. Keep your polish away from heat or sun exposure to help prolong its life.

  • Do bubbles in nail polish go away?

    Once the bubble has formed on your nail and it has dried, it’s not going away. “If you paint your nail and immediately see a bubble, try swiping your nail again to pop the bubble or wipe it off,” advises Stone.

  • What causes bubbles in nail polish?

    Typically, bubbles in nail polish are caused by thick consistency or old nail polish.

  • Why do I get bubbles in my nail polish when it dries?

    This is because you may have painted your nails too thick or need a replacement bottle. Try pressing out the bubbles with your brush, as per Kandalec’s recommendation, to try to get them out before applying your polish.

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