How To Avoid Bubbles In Nail Polish

Written by Esha Saxena

Giving yourself a manicure that’s free of dents, glops, bumps, and spills is far from easy. While there are many things that can go wrong with a DIY mani, there is one specific problem that does not come with fast and easy fixes. We are talking about those pesky bubbles that typically form during the drying process of your manicure.

Unfortunately, once these bubbles appear, removing your nail polish and starting afresh is the only solution. What a total drag, right? In this article, we will explain how you can prevent bubbles from forming in your nail polish in the first place. Read on to achieve the smoothest mani ever.

Why Does Your Nail Polish Bubble Up?

As hard as you try to avoid it, it happens to the best of us. Bubbles appear mostly during the drying process when air gets trapped between the layers of polish. There are a few reasons this happens: your nail polish was too thick, you didn’t wait long enough before going in with the next coat, you didn’t apply a clear base coat, or you are using an expired polish.

No matter what your reasons, here’s how you can beat the bubbles for good.

How To Avoid Bubbles In Your Nail Polish

1. Clean Your Nails


Prepping is a must before you begin applying nail polish. Greasy or dirty nails prevent nail polish from adhering well. Always wash your hands with soap and water first. Wait for your nails to dry completely. Then, wipe them with a cotton ball soaked in acetone to remove any oil or dirt from the nail bed.

2. Always Apply A Base Coat


Much like putting on primer before your foundation, a base coat is necessary for a smooth and even finish. Applying a base coat not only prevents nail discoloration, but it also extends the wear of your manicure. Since your nails emit natural oils that prevent the nail polish from adhering well, a base coat is the best way to seal these oils in.

3. Inspect Your Nail Polish


You can’t expect an old, gloopy polish to give you a smooth finish. It is just not realistic.
Test your nail polish beforehand with a quick swipe across your nail to check if it is the right consistency. If your polish is thick, dense, and sticky, either thin it out with lacquer thinner or throw it away.

4. Roll The Bottle

Shaking a bottle of nail polish vigorously is probably the number one mistake we have all made. Pumping the brush in and out of the bottle’s neck is another blunder. Doing so only traps the air inside the bottle, which creates tiny pockets where bubbles form.

Those air bubbles, when transferred onto your nails, sometimes leave noticeable holes in your manicure. If your polish has separated, the best way to deal with it is to simply roll the bottle between your hands like you are rolling dough.

5. Apply Thin Coats


The key to a perfect manicure lies in its application. If you have too much polish on your brush, you are in for a mess. You will have to deal with smudges, nicks, and bubbles. Besides, thicker layers of polish take too long to dry.

The best way to apply nail polish is in three short and even strokes: the first one down the middle and then one down each side of the nail. Lift the brush as little as possible and always wait for the first coat to dry completely before applying the second one.

6. Always Apply A Top Coat


Once you finish applying your nail color, apply a topcoat. Make sure you swipe across the very edge of your nail. This way, you will be less likely to chip the nail paint.

7. Dip Your Fingers In A Bowl Of Cold Water


To help your nail polish dry quickly and prevent any creasing or bubbling, submerge your nails in a bowl of ice-cold water for about a minute. Also, avoid hot showers after polishing your nails for at least two hours.

8. Store Your Nail Polish Properly


Storing your nail polish upright in a cool, dark place with consistent temperature is essential for the formula to retain its consistency and prolong its shelf life. Always wipe off the neck of the bottle with a remover-soaked cotton swab before putting it away.

Following these simple rules will go a long way in preventing bubbles in your nail polish. However, if you still find bubbles in your mani after taking all these measures, it is time for you to toss that polish out. Do you have any special hacks that keep nail polish from bubbling up? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Esha Saxena is a writer, journalist, and a full-time wallflower. She holds a Master’s degree in Media and Mass Communication and firmly believes that makeup is nothing less than art. Combining her love for writing with her passion for makeup, she brings to you reviews, techniques, and her ever-growing knowledge on this form of art. In her spare time, she loves reading, listening to obscure indie bands, and writing poetry – all of this while being a crazy dog lady.