Reviving dried-out nail polish: use remover or thinner?

If you google " How do I get to use my dried out bottles of nail polish again", the Internet divides itself in two groups. One says: add a few drops of nail polish remover to the bottle. You have it on hand anyway and it will thin the polish enough to use it again.

The other group, that sounds more expert, says that adding remover will spoil the remaining polish as the remover’s job is to break down the chemical structure of the polish.

That is why they say to use nail polish thinner, like this one, or this one, a more expensive product that is supposed to revive nail polish and make it like new.

Nail remover usually contains acetone,

Nail polish thinner seems to contain different chemicals then remover, but I can’t find out (Googled it for 10 minutes) which chemicals and which properties they have.

Throwing out good but dried out bottles of nail polish is a waste of money. Besides, all those bottles add up to an environmental hazard. So such a nail polish thinner might be a useful product. I just hope that some Beauty Buff Doper has the Straight Dope on it.

It depends on what the nail polish is made of- composition is highly variable.

Sorry to say, some may even contain resins that will set and be impossible to dissolve and set again with the same strength.

Your best bet will probably be ethyl acetate nail polish remover.

The thinner you linked to probably contains mostly ethyl acetate or another solvent in addition to some kind of resin (I don’t see an ingredients list).

The only way you’ll know for sure is to try it- there’s too much variation between formulations to give a definitive answer.

Super short answer: use nail polish thinner, remover regardless of acetone will ruin your polish.

I think I’ve been involved in a discussion on this board about this. I have an unnatural love of nail polish and I can confidently say: use nail polish thinner. Nail polish remover, with or without acetone will ruin your polish. It might work at first, briefly, but it will ruin it (dry out, goopy mess, ect, the horror, the horror). If you go to a salon (in the states at least and I know you’re not here) you’ll generally see manicurists using nail polish remover to thin out thickening polish, but what do they care? They’re in a hurry, its right there and they get an awesome deal on polish.

I don’t know what’s available where you are, but I usually use OPI Lacquer Thinner or Beauty Secrets Nail Polish Thinner (from Sally Beauty Supply). Orly also makes a thinner (but I haven’t tried it).

OPI and Beauty Secrets have almost the same ingredients. Both have Butyl Acetate and Ethyl Acetate, Beauty Secrets has Heptane as a third ingredient.

MakeupAlley is an awesome place for information on all things makeup and I have gotten amazing advice concerning all aspects of nail care, beauty, what have you. If you want more information you might want to check them out. I believe DiossaBellisima posts there (at least she used too).

I have polishes that are over ten years old that still look awesome thinks to nail polish thinner.

What polish are you working with, anyway? Good luck, whichever method you decide! :slight_smile:

Thanks, thursday next and DelightfulExperiment ! I use a rather expensive nail strengthener polish, Herome nail hardener strong. I also use that bitter Mavala anti-nail bite stuff - polish. Both only weekly, so they dry out faster then I use them up. And nail polish bottles are not designed to get the most out ouf you nail polish anyway, with the brushes not reaching the bottom of the bottle.

Mavala also sells a thinner in my local cosmetics shop, so I think I’ll try that.

I bought the Mavala thinner. It’s a little bottle, the size of a nailpolish bottle. The listed ingredients are Butyl Acetate and Ethyl acetate only.
Odd thing is, you really only need three or so *drops *to revive a bottle, no more. I would have thought the bottle would need to be refilled to the original level.

It cost 8 euro’s that is about ten bucks. So far it seems like money well spent.

What I mean is, that I thought the thinner would need to replace the lost (evaporated) solvent, so rather more of it would be needed. Instead, it seems to work differently, more like an catalyst.

Odd. Anyone know how that might work? I have no practical reason for asking, just curious.

I have had some success by using clear varnish to thin out thickened or lumpy coloured stuff.