9 Best Nail Polish Thinners Of 2021 – Buying Guide & Reviews

Written by Chaitra Krishnan
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Are you on the hunt for the best nail polish thinners that can revive your old nail polish and make them look as good as new? You have arrived at the right place! We present to you the best nail polish thinners that every nail lacquer lover should have in her beauty arsenal.

Nail polishes are made of volatile solvents that evaporate at room temperature, causing the lacquers to thicken or dry out over time. There is nothing more upsetting than reaching out to your favorite nail polish bottle only to realize that it has turned into a goopy or flaky mess and is impossible to apply. This is where nail polish thinners come into play. A few drops of thinner can restore the original consistency of any polish and make it smooth to apply. So before you toss out some of your clumpy polishes, we suggest you give one or more of these 9 best nail polish thinners a try.

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Top 9 Best Nail Polish Thinners That Will Restore Nail Polishes

1. Seche Restore Restoration Thinner

Do you have one or many old nail polishes that need to be restored to its perfect consistency? Give Seche Restore Restoration Thinner a try. This good-quality nail polish thinner is capable of diluting any polish and bringing it back to the right consistency without diminishing the color and shine of the polish. Using the included glass dropper, add 2-3 drops (more if required) of thinner directly into the nail polish, mix it, roll the bottle between your palms, and it’s done. This clear and thin liquid not only works with regular nail polishes, but can also be used to thin out top coats.


  • Includes a glass dropper
  • Will easily restore dried enamel
  • Comes in a transparent bottle
  • Adheres to natural nails
  • Works with regular nail polish and top coat


  • The liquid may vaporize when not stored in a cool place. 

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2. Super Nail Polish Thinner

If you want your nail lacquer to have a good consistency so that it goes on smoothly on your nails, what you need is a nail polish thinner such as this one. A couple of drops of this thinner can instantly bring back any clumpy regular nail polish to its original form. A thin and smooth consistency is what you require for an even and easy application. However, this formula contains trace amounts of acetone, which could reduce the shelf life of your polish. So, it’s recommended that you use it only when truly necessary.


  • Easy to use
  • Lasts for long
  • Makes polish smooth
  • Helps maintain the consistency of the polish


  • May have a strong chemical odor

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3. Orly Nail Lacquer Thinner

What is better than a simple nail lacquer thinner? A versatile thinner that is used not only to thin nail polishes but also to clean brushes. One of the best lacquer thinners, this effective formula, can revive a thickened nail lacquer and extend its life. Rest assured, it won’t ruin the quality of your nail polish or make it clumpy. Aside from thinning the polish, it also retains its quality for a smooth application. It comes enclosed in an unbreakable bottle and includes a built-in dropper.


  • Multipurpose thinner
  • Built-in dropper
  • Thins thickened lacquer
  • Increases the shelf life of a polish


  • The polish to which the thinner is added may take a long time to dry.

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4. OPI Nail Lacquer Thinner

When your nail polishes harden to the extent that it’s no longer usable, all you need to do is add a few drops of this thinner to the nail lacquer and wait for the magic to happen. This award-winning product brings back the nail lacquer to a perfect consistency for optimal results and increases the longevity of your lacquer. It is made of butyl acetate and ethyl acetate, which makes it safe to use. With this formula, a little goes a long way, so a few drops of this liquid should do the trick and help you achieve the desired thickness.


  • Durable
  • A small amount is enough
  • Formaldehyde-free
  • Features a dropper lid
  • Extends the life of nail lacquer


  • Might have a thick consistency

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5. BEAUTY SECRETS Nail Polish Thinner

Nail polishes tend to get thick and sticky over time, making it difficult to spread on your nails. But don’t throw them away yet as they are totally fixable with BEAUTY SECRETS Nail Polish Thinner. Adding a few drops of this thinner to your polish can bring it to a perfect brushable consistency and make it easy to use. Plus, it includes a built-in dropper attached to the cap that makes it easy to dispense the liquid. This vegan thinner is a simple formula composed of butyl acetate, ethyl acetate, and heptane, which are ingredients found in regular polishes. It is the best matte blush as it works excellently with all air-drying nail paints.


  • Leak-proof
  • Unbreakable bottle
  • Blends quickly
  • Made of solvents found in nail paints
  • Works with all air-drying nail polish brands


  • Slightly expensive

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6. Glam And Glits Gel Polish Thinner

Wondering how to thin a gel-based polish that has turned sticky? We bring to you a thinner specially designed to fix a clumpy gel polish that has completely become unusable. This formula reduces the thickness and stickiness of a polish and makes it smooth for an even application. Moreover, it does not change the color or quality of the polish. When using this thinner, remember the ‘less is more’ approach, because if you add too much of this liquid, the polish may not cure well.


  • Comes with a small pipette
  • A little goes a long way
  • Suitable for gel polishes
  • Makes polish smooth and easy to apply


  • Slightly expensive
  • Some people may not like the strong smell.

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7. Nail Tek Extend Professional Polish Thinner

Is your limited-edition shade of nail polish getting gloopy? And you can’t buy another one because it’s been discontinued? Well, not to worry, ladies! Fix your polish up with this professional nail polish thinner and make it look as good as new! Nail lacquers tend to thicken at the bottom of the bottle due to the evaporation of solvents. Just a few drops of this thinner will replace the essential solvents, restore the original viscosity, and prolong the life of your limited-edition nail paint. It comes with a dropper that helps you add the exact number of drops, so no more worries about adding too many or wasting a drop.


  • Restores nail polish
  • Extends the polish use
  • Suitable for all nail types
  • Includes a dropper with a screw-on cap


  • May not last long as it tends to evaporate

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8. LeChat Gelos Gel Thinner

Struggling with a gel nail polish that has become more viscous and is causing streaks and clumps during application? Then what you need is a gel nail polish thinner such as this one by LeChat. This non-solvent specialized thinner contains monomers and a photo initiator that help dilute thickened polish without affecting its original curing time. It comes with a dropper that allows for convenient and accurate usage. Compatible with soak-off and traditional curable gel polishes, this thinner ensures that your polishes become easy to apply and go the distance.


  • Non-solvent thinner
  • Maximizes the use of gel polishes
  • Works with UV and LED light
  • Features an easy-to-use dropper
  • Does not affect the curing time


  • You may need to use more drops to liquefy gel polishes.

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9. Mavala Nail Beauty Thinner For Nail Polish

Restore your nail polish with this thinner and make them look brand new. A couple of drops of this thinner is all it takes to get back your thickened or gunky nail varnish to its ideal consistency, while also retaining its original shine. Liquefying the nail polish assures smooth application of thin coats of nail paint that last longer as opposed to thick coats that tend to chip or peel within a few days. It features a built-in dropper that makes it convenient to add drops into the polish.


  • Built-in dropper
  • Dilutes thickened nail polish
  • Does not affect color or shine of polish
  • Extends shelf life of nail polish


  • May not work with gel polishes

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Before you decide on a nail polish thinner, it’s essential to go through the points given below so that you pick the right one.

A Helpful Buying Guide To Choose The Right Nail Polish Thinner

What Is A Nail Polish Thinner

Nail polish thinners are chemical formulas used to dilute clumpy or dried out nail polishes and bring it to better consistency. They usually contain isopropyl alcohol, ethyl acetate, and butyl acetate, which are the primary solvents present in nail polish. So when a thinner is added to the polish, these elements act as replacement solvents. A few thinners may also contain other solvents such as toluene, acetone, and heptane. But this liquid does not work with gel nail polishes, so it would be best if you used gel thinners specially designed for gel polishes.

What Should You Look For When You Buy A Nail Polish Thinner

  • Look for a thinner that works with the nail polishes you use. Not all polish thinners are suitable for all nail polish types. Different thinners are used for regular nail polishes and gel polishes. However, if you own a variety of nail polish formulas, you could opt for a multipurpose thinner compatible with every type of nail polish, no matter the brand.
  • Whether you prefer a regular lacquer or gel polish thinner, it’s wise to go through the nail polish thinner’s ingredient list before buying. Make sure that it does not contain ingredients that could damage your nails. For instance, trace amounts of acetone in a thinner are great for thinning out polishes, but it could make your nail weak and brittle in the long run.
  • Opt for a thinner that comes with a separate or built-in dropper, which makes it easy to add the exact number of drops in the polish.

Here is how to thin nail polish.

How To Use Nail Polish Thinner

Step 1: Use a dropper to take 2 to 3 drops of nail polish thinner.

Step 2: Open the nail polish bottle and add the drops directly into it.

Step 3: Screw the cap back on, mix it, and let it sit for some time.

Step 4: Now, roll the bottle between your palms so that it blends well.

Step 5: Open the cap and check the consistency of the polish.

Step 6: If it is still thick, add a few more drops (little at a time) and roll it between your palms again.

Step 7: Once you get a smooth and flowy polish, it’s good to use.

Step 8: You can repeat the process if necessary.

That was our compilation of the 9 best nail polish thinners. With the help of these thinners, you can give your hard-to-apply nail polishes a brushable consistency to achieve thin coats that provide full coverage. But remember that if your nail polish does not get better despite adding too many drops of thinner, it’s best to throw it away and buy a new one. So which of these polishes made it to your nail cosmetics kit? Do you have other ways of thinning nail polish? Let us know in the comments below!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is nail polish thinner safe to use? Does it really work?

Yes, nail polish thinners are said to be safe for the nails as they contain the same solvents that nail polishes are made of. And since these solvents act as replacements to the solvents that were evaporated from the polish, we could say that it does work.

What can I use instead of nail polish thinner?

You could use rubbing alcohol (91% alcohol) or pure acetone instead of polish thinner. But keep in mind that using too much acetone on your nails could break or split them.

What do I do if my nail polish is too thick?

If your nail polish is too thick, just add 2 to 3 drops of nail polish thinner into the polish and mix it well.

Is nail polish thinner the same as acetone?

Yes, in terms of what they do (restore nail polish), they are the same, but their chemical composition is different. While acetone is a solvent in itself, a nail polish thinner contains an assortment of solvents. Moreover, acetone is mainly used to remove polish from the nails and should only be added to polish if you don’t have a nail lacquer thinner, and have no other option.

Is nail polish remover a lacquer thinner?

No. A nail polish remover is a solvent used to remove previously applied nail polish from your nails. In contrast, a nail lacquer thinner is a solvent used to revive and increase the longevity of nail polish.

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