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How To Make Nail Polish Thicker [It’s As Simple As This…]

Whether you are polishing your nails at home or are a nail professional, thinned-out nail polish is a major dilemma, especially if you don’t have another color to replace it with. So, what do you do if your nail polish is too thin? Here are some tips and tricks and everything you need to know to thicken your nail polish.

So, how do you thicken nail polish? While there are additives you could purchase and mix in that would result in the desired consistency, the best way to thicken your nail polish is by simply shaking and then opening the bottle – allowing the fresh air to naturally thicken the nail polish

Great news, right – It doesn’t sound too tricky!

But there is a little more to it and certainly a quicker way of getting there if time is of the essence.

So let us now explore exactly what you need to do in greater detail.

But first, why is your polish thin, to begin with?

Why Is My Nail Polish So Thin?

Your nail polish is likely too thin for the following reasons; the brand you are using naturally has a thinner formulation. Secondly, it may be that your polish has sat for too long and has started to separate. 

Nail polish is made from a mixture of polymers, resin, pigments, and other chemicals that create consistency and long-lasting and vibrant effects. 

While every polish manufacturer has the same basic compounds of nail polish, the difference can be seen in the viscosity or thickness of the product as well as the colors shades. 

Additionally, if your nail polish seems to be too thin, even though you’ve bought the same color from the same brand for years, this could be due to the settling of the components within the polish or a change in the brands’ formulation, which is common in the cosmetics industry. 

What Do You Need To Thicken Nail Polish?

Well, first, you’ll need to diagnose the problem. It may only need a little shaking around to thicken up or just a little bit of air to help evaporate some of the thinning components. Often, the polish only needs a small amount of thickening to achieve the desired look. 

If you’re a professional and want to have a thickener on hand, you can purchase a nail polish thickener or, better yet, xanthan gum. 

This product can be ordered in bulk and has a decent shelf life that could last you many polishes. 

If you are interested in this approach, this is the product to buy from Amazon: 👇

Anthony's Xanthan Gum, 1 lb, Batch Tested Gluten Free, Keto Friendly, Product of USA
  • Finest Food Grade Xanthan Gum Available
  • Batch Tested and Verified Gluten Free
  • Our high quality Xanthan Gum - Packed in the USA!
  • Extremely Fine Powder - Just Xanthan Gum, no added ingredients
  • Great for plant based, Gluten Free, Vegan, and Keto recipes!

It’s very fine, easy to work with, and will give you the consistency you desire.

Continue reading to see how to use it!

How Thick Does Nail Polish Need to Be?

The answer is that the most desired nail polish consistency depends on the user. While some might like a thinner consistency with more coats added on, others may only want to do one or maybe two coats. 

What is most important about consistency, however, is that it is thin enough to spread smoothly on the nails without too many brush strokes and thick enough that the polish sits on the nail bed without running onto the skin. 

Another thing to note about thick polish is if it is too thick, it will take much longer to dry or won’t dry at all. 

The viscosity of nail polish has been relatively mastered among manufacturers.

However, if you find that your polish is too thin or even too thick, you do have options, and you don’t need to go out looking for another polish to replace it.

How Can I Make My Nail Polish Thicker?

The first thing you need to do before going out and buying a thickening agent for your nail polish is to first do some troubleshooting. 

Check out these steps on how to thicken your nail polish:

Shake The Bottle

If your nail polish is too thin, try this tip: put the bottle between the palms of your hands, rolling the bottle like you’re rubbing it to warm it up on a cold winter’s day. 

The friction of your hands increases the temperature of the polish and can aid in creating a thicker consistency. 

As you move the polish faster between your hands, this also allows the polish to blend, ensuring the components are mixed thoroughly. 

However, shaking the polish too vigorously can result in air bubbles in your polish, which then creates challenging air bubbles on your nails… and you don’t want that!  

Open It Up

After you’ve shaken things up a bit and the polish is still too thin, take the cap off and wipe the brush with nail polish remover. 

This ensures that the brush doesn’t dry out as the polish thickens up. 

Next, set the polish next to an open window or an area where there is plenty of air circulating, but do not set it in direct sunlight, as this could cause discoloration.

How quickly the nail polish thickens will depend on factors such as the temperature and how well the air is circulating around the polish. 

You will want to keep a close eye on it and check the viscosity often. 

Some people find that their polish thickens within a few minutes or hours, while others feel that this can take days. 

The desired consistency also has to do with what you’re using your nail polish for – nail stamping, for instance, requires a rather thick consistency.

Using A Nail Polish Thickener

One of the most common forms of nail polish thickeners is xanthan gum.  

It’s a common food thickener and stabilizer that counters ingredients from separating. 

For nail polish, it is an accepted thickening agent. 

Xanthan gum comes in powder form, and a little goes a long way. 

Start by adding a small amount and ensuring that it is mixed very well before adding more. 

Check the consistency with an orangewood stick or even a toothpick, and only add a small amount more until you have the desired thickness. 

If you’ve added too much xanthan gum and your polish is too thick, adding a few drops of pure acetone or warm water will relieve the problem. 

These steps are not only ways to make your polish thicker, but they can also serve as your source of troubleshooting steps. 

Start with the shake, then the air, and if that doesn’t work, you can count on the polish thickener to get you what you want. 


With all the wondrous colors that nail polishes offer, creating beautiful designs with the most advanced techniques and brush strokes is a sure way to wow your friends and clients. 

Whether your polish is too thin or too thick, we’ve got you covered with the best solutions to your nail problems!

And if you are looking for other tips and techniques to restore nail polish, then check out my following guides: