Skip to main content

How to Avoid Bubbles in Nail Polish

How to Avoid Bubbles in Nail Polish

There's nothing as annoying as seeing pesky tiny air bubbles in your nail polish. This can ruin your manicure in no time. These bubbles are formed as a result of air trapped in between layers of nail polish. Bubbles are not easy to get rid of with fast fixes; thus, we've compiled some guidelines to enable you to achieve the smoothest, shiny manicure. Dear nail art warriors, let's go burst some bubbles! Before we get down to business, let's consider how bubbles occur.

How to Avoid Bubbles in Nail Polish

What Causes Nail Polish Bubbles?

Bubbles are inevitable and a great concern in manicures. Wouldn't it be nice to find out what causes bubbles and how to beat them? Bubbles occur primarily during the drying process after nail polish finish. Bubbles may arise due to thick polish or expired polish. These tiny air bubbles can result from applying the next coat base to the nail without allowing the polish to dry. Now you know how bubbles are formed! How can you beat these smudges?

Tips for Avoiding Bubbles in Nail Polish

Do bubbles smear your nail polish? Have you noticed bubbles around your nail layers after applying polish? Consider these tips:

Clean your nails

You need to prep your nails before polishing them. The skin produces sebum which moisturizes the body, including the nails. Oil forms layers around the nails and mixes with polish, thus preventing the paint from staying. Wash your hands with soap and water. Allow to dry, then wipe your nails with a cotton ball moistened with acetone. Also, use a soft thistle brush to clean the nail bed to prevent the accumulation of dirt under the nails.

Soak your nails with vinegar

After cleaning the nails with acetone, dip cotton wool in vinegar and clean your nails to strip them of oils left from polish remover. This prevents bubbles.

Dry nails thoroughly

Ensure nails are dried well after using vinegar. Check that the skin folds and nails are properly dried for like 10 minutes before reaching for the nail polish. Make sure you perform your manicure in ample, open space for ventilation as polish can release harmful fumes when applied in an enclosed area.

Inspect your polish

It's best to test your polish before application. Swipe a thin layer on your nail to check if it's the right one. For thick polish, add lacquer to make it thinner. Avoid using acetone or polish remover in thinning polish as it can reduce the efficiency of nail polish.

Apply a base coat

Like putting on primer before foundation, a base coat makes for a smooth finish. It also suppresses skin discoloration and helps manicures last long. Start applying polish from the middle of the nail to create a base coat. Swish thin layers of polish to form thick coats, which are allowed to dry for 5 minutes before applying the main polish. Repeat the same process for other nails but ensure coats are well dried.

Look for a conducive environment

We earlier stated that polish doesn't do well in warm conditions as it can form bubbles. Ensure you paint your nails in a cool, dry environment.

Roll the nail polish bottle

Most people shake the polish bottle, which seems to be a major cause of bubbles. These bubbles are transferred to your nails during manicure. Is your nail polish separated? Roll the bottle to mix the content while holding it in an upright position. Resist the urge to shake your nail polish bottle but if you do, allow it to stay for some minutes before use.

Apply thin layers of polish

A smooth and beautiful manicure depends on the proper application of nail polish. Ensure your brush isn't stained with polish. It's pretty frustrating to clean smudges and bubbles. Put thin layers of nail polish on the base coat. Thick polish can take a long period to get dried; hence it causes bubbles. If you want a shiny and perfect nail finish, apply polish thinly. It's best to apply polish in strokes using the one-stroke technique. You can decide to draw three slow strokes on each nail. Using a brush, apply top coat on the nail to conceal it, while preventing polish overlay and bubbles. Gently swipe polish on nails when painting.

Avoid dipping brush in bottle repeatedly

Frequent dipping of brush in polish can cause thousands of bubbles, resulting in a smudged nail finish. Let in the brush slowly and gently into the bottle to stop air from entering.

Allow the coat to dry

At all costs, avoid touching your nails till they're dry. Polish that doesn't dry on time can stay for a longer time. Also, stop any form of hand movements that can result in bubbles in the bottle. Some polish dries within 5 minutes. It's expedient you allow the first coat to dry well since it influences the look and texture of the final coat. To make your nails shiny, you might need to apply a second coat. If you're using a pastel or neon polish, a third coat may be required.

Strengthen your nails

Do you want to prolong the shelf-life of your polish? Dip your fingers in a bowl or basin of cold water for a short time. If you've just painted your nails, you'll need to avoid hot showers for about two hours as this weakens the bond between polish and nails.

Store polish in a cool, dry place

Ensure your nail polish is covered after use. Polish exposed to air gets thickened, making it prone to bubbles. Keep your polish in your closet or on the dresser. Has your polish been stored in a warm area for too long? Keep in a cool compartment like a fridge for about 30 minutes.

Change your nail polish after some time

Old nail polish gets thick with time. This makes it difficult to notice the bubbles. Is your nail polish up to a year? It's about time you replace it. Get a new one. Do you want to thin out an old polish? Add a drop or two drops of nail polish remover to the polish and shake gently. However, this can lead to chipping and breaking of bonds between the nail polish.


If all else fails after following these steps, use a sticker or nail decal to eliminate bubbles. Ensure you follow the tips mentioned above for bubble-free nail polish. Perhaps you've tried every effort to remove these annoying elements; maybe it's about time you toss your nail polish away.

Do you know any hacks aside from the listed ones? Let's know in the comments box.