Tips for Avoiding Bubbles in Wet Nail Polish

Nail polish products are made using complex, proprietary formulas only known to their respective manufacturers. Sometimes, just changing the brand of polish you use can reduce or eliminate bubbles and streaks. If you're plagued with bad bubbling even when using a variety of different products, these tips will help.

  • Clean your nails -- The skin on your hands releases oil and moisture that migrate to your nails, creating an invisible and slightly acidic layer that can mix with nail polish and cause problems. Wash your hands with warm soapy water and brush your nails with a soft bristle brush before applying polish. It's a good idea to clean the underside of each nail, too.
  • Add extra insurance -- After your nails are clean, dip a cloth or swab in white vinegar and rub it on each nail in turn. Vinegar is a natural, safe, oil-busting acid that will help eliminate oily residue.
  • Make sure your nails are dry -- After washing and treating your nails, take the time to dry them thoroughly. Remember, even if your nails look dry, the nearby skin folds may still be moist. Wait at least another 10 minutes before grabbing the nail polish.
  • Close the windows and turn off the fan -- Moving air, especially if it's moist, can have an impact on your nail finish. There's a difference of opinion on this score, and without an expert consensus, you'll have to be the judge. Our advice is to err on the side of caution and create as stable -- and still -- an environment as you can. This doesn't mean you should apply nail polish in the closet, though. Nail polish and other nail products can produce dangerous fumes, so make sure to work in a large, open area.
  • Inspect your polish -- Expecting old, gloopy polish to give you a smooth finish isn't realistic. Actually, it's hoping for a miracle. Always check your polish with a quick swipe across a test nail to see if it flows smoothly. If it looks like it's creamier than it should be, don't even risk it. Wipe your nail clean and move on to the next bottle.
  • Roll the bottle -- When you do find a likely polish candidate, roll the bottle to blend the contents, don't shake it. Those beads inside almost invite vigorous shaking but resist the urge.
  • Secure the cap -- When you've finished, be sure to tighten the cap on the polish securely so it won't dry out before you're ready to use it again.