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Last Updated on by Carly

One of the best things about being a beautician is learning how to fix common nail polish problems. There’s nothing worse than realising your freshly painted nail lacquer has bubbles in it or that the varnish is chipping off. That said, there’s always a reason for these kind of issues and today I thought I would share some of the solutions I’ve learnt over the years….

How to Fix Your Nail Polish Problems

Toe Separators: From my Salon (similar available here at Wilko) | Orange Sticks: From my Salon (similar available on Ebay here) | Cuticle Nippers: From my Salon (similar available here) | Nail Lacquer: OPI | Buffing Block: From my Salon (this looks similar) | Pusher Plus: From my Salon (but they have them here on Ebay).


The lid of your nail polish is stuck on.
If this happens try popping your nail polish in some hot water for about 5 minutes. The heat will cause the nail polish to become tacky and the lid will soon release. Make sure the water is covering the area where the bottle meets the lid. This won’t effect your nail polish in any way. Trust me on this one – I used this technique in the salon on a weekly, if not daily basis. To avoid the problem in the first place you need to keep your polish upright. It really is as simple as that. Try not to use any storage that means your bottles will be on their side too.

You’ve painted your nails and there’s bubbles in the polish
There could be several reasons for this:

~ Your nail polish might be too thick due too being old, being left open or simply being used many times. If this is the case you need to either thin the polish (see my next tip) or throw it away.

~ You may have used two different nail polish brands (e.g. one brand as a base coat, then another as the main colour). Sometimes different branded nail polishes don’t mesh together due to a clash of ingredients. For this reason I would only stick to two different branded polishes in the salon (which I knew worked together well). That was OPI (the best nail polish brand in the world as far as I’m concerned) and Jessica Nails.

~ The room temperature where you keep your nail polish could be too high. Heat makes nail polish tacky and if it becomes too hot over prolonged periods of time this can cause bubbles. The hairdressers that worked in the same building where I had my first salon thought it was funny that I kept some nail polish n the fridge. But it was the perfect place to keep all the lacquer that was getting a little old.

~ Are you someone that shakes your nail polish before you use it? This is a massive no no, and could be the of cause bubbles. OPI are absolute geniuses because they shaped their bottles so that you can easily roll them between the palms of your hands to mix up the polish. This helps to prevent bubbles and will also stop the lid from getting stuck on because you’re not shaking the polish into it.

Your nail polish is too thick.
My advice is too use a couple of drops of OPI’s Nail Lacquer Thinner. You can get this from Feelunique here, or ASOS here. A 60ml bottle will last you a very long time and it’ll make your nail polish go back to the consistency it should be.

Another trick is to put some nail polish remover into your nail polish, however this isn’t all what’s cracked up to be (excuse the pun) as your nail polish is more likely to chip off. The nail polish remover’s dissolving capabilities mean that your polish isn’t going to last as long. It’s a great quick-fix solution though if you have nothing else.

You need your nail polish to dry fast / it won’t dry.
Try running your nails under cold water. They’ll dry in no time! I wrote about this in my first ever blog post. It’s a really good technique because lacquer drys when it becomes cooler. So many people think the opposite but polish goes tacky when exposed to heat.

Your nail polish chips off.
This isn’t the easiest of nail polish problems to solve as there could be many different reasons why this is happening. Here are a few:

~ You might be painting your nails on an uneven surface. In other other words you possibly have dry, flaky, peeling or broken nails. The nail polish could be struggling to stick to the nail plate. Using a base coat such as OPI Start to Finish (available here) could help, but the real solution is to get your nails in tip top condition. Why not try giving yourself a mini manicure once a week?

~ Maybe you have some residue left on your nails from using a lotion of some sort just before you painted them? This usually causes the nail polish to slide off straight away, which to you would probably just seem like they have smudged. Make sure you remove all traces of lotions thoroughly with nail polish remover before painting your nails. Also it’s worth noting that some lotions will leave a residue no matter what you do, so avoid those.

~ It could be that you need to apply a top coat more often to help preserve your nail polish. Try doing this every two or three days, depending on your lifestyle.

~ You’re using cheap / rubbish nail polish. It’s such a common problem. As I said previously, OPI and Jessica Nails are my holy grail products because they’re so well made. I’m starting to try other brands because of blogging, but my goodness there are some rubbish ones out there! They say a bad workman always blames his tools, but lets face it – sometimes the tools are just not up to scratch.

~ You’ve been doing the washing up. Yep – you read that right. So many clients of mine admitted to doing the washing up by hand. Then their nail polish would chip off and they still didn’t know why. Washing-up and nail polish just doesn’t mix I’m afraid. The same goes for other house-hold chores!

You’ve smudged your nail polish.
Try licking your finger and gently smoothing down the nail polish. It works a treat!

The nail polish ends up on your fingers / in your cuticles.
Try wrapping cotton wool around the end of an orange stick and dipping it in your nail polish remover.  Then gently remove any excess nail polish. Alternatively you could invest in a polish remover pen such as OPI’s Correct & Clean Up, available here.

You struggle to take your nail polish off.
The trick here is to soak a cotton pad in nail polish remover and hold it on the nail polish for a few seconds. Remember the remover is dissolving the polish so it needs to have the chance to soak in. Again, some nail polish removers are much better than others and the best one I’ve ever tried is OPI’s Original Polish Remover, available here. There are also loads of people selling it on Ebay (check out these listings), but I always advise to do your research first. The aim is to avoid buying counterfeit goods.

You want to remove the polish on your toe nails but your finger nails are painted.
Fear not, I will share the technique that I used in my salon. My nails were always painted when I worked there so I came across this problem every day. Here’s what I did – I took a small round cotton pad and folded it in half. I applied the tiniest amount of nail polish remover to the pad. This gave me full control and I could easily remove the polish from my toe nails without touching my finger nails.

These are all of the problems that I can think of at the moment, but I know there are about a million more. Do you have any nail polish problems or solutions that you would like to share?

Carly x


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My Top Tips For Painting Nails


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