Why does nail polish bubble?

It’s Friday night, and you’ve poured yourself a glass of wine. You’ve got some friends waiting in line, and you’re all set to polish your nails. All of it was soothing…until you apply the top coat and see your manicure is riddled with tiny air bubbles.

Video – How to prevent nail polish bubbles?


What causes bubbling of nail polish?

It happens to the best of us, no matter how hard we try to avoid it. When air becomes caught between the layers of polish during the drying process, bubbles emerge. This may happen for a variety of reasons: your nail paint was too thick, you didn’t wait long enough between coats, you didn’t use a clear top coat, or you used an expired polish.

Some common reasons are –

1. Excess oil or alcohol on the nail

Cleaning the nail thoroughly before applying any layers is one of the most crucial stages in a manicure that many people overlook. When any left-over chemicals, such as alcohol or oil of any sort, come into touch with the polish, they might chemically react, resulting in a sequence of air bubbles. Hand lotions, cuticle oils, and residues of soap are other typical causes.

2. High temperatures

This is frequent in hot regions; when the air temperature is really hot, the nail paint can also be warmed up. This temperature fluctuation is detrimental to the formula and can result in the formation of bubbles. Nail polishes should be kept in a dark, room-temperature location. A chilly environment might cause the polish to get overly thick, which can cause bubbles to burst.

3. Excessive nail paint

When applying nail polish, make sure the amount on the brush isn’t too much. Users must wait a few minutes between each coat to enable the polish to fully set before continuing with the next. Air bubbles can occur when too much polish is applied in too thick layers. Work with thinner layers instead, which will dry faster.

4. Various polish brands were combined

This isn’t always the case, but various polish formulas don’t often mix well when stacked, which might result in a messed-up manicure and bubbles on the top. Instead, use the same brand for the base coat, colour coat, and top coat on the same manicure.

5. Shaking the polish bottle

Many people who use nail paint have a tendency of vigorously shaking the bottle before starting to apply it. This is because the product may sit for too long and require a shake to get the desired consistency. Instead of shaking the bottle, which is known to cause it to bubble, gently rub it between your hands as if warming it. The formulation will gradually mix together, but the consistency will not be affected.

6. Thinning out old polish

Many websites recommend adding a few drops of nail polish remover as a quick remedy to extend the shelf life of an old polish, which is a common misunderstanding in the beauty business. This does not always work, and it might be the cause of your nail bubbles.

How To Avoid Bubbles In Your Nail Polish?

1. Clean Your Nails

Before you begin applying nail paint, you must first prepare your nails. Nail paint does not adhere well to unclean or greasy nails. Always start by washing your hands with soap and water. Allow for thorough drying of your nails. Then, to remove any oil or debris from the nail bed, clean them with a cotton ball dipped in acetone.

2. Always Apply A Base Coat

A base coat, similar to primer before foundation, is required for a smooth and uniform finish. A base coat not only protects your nails from discolouration, but it also extends the life of your manicure. Because your nails produce natural oils that prevent nail paint from sticking properly, the best method to lock these oils in is to use a base coat.

3. Inspect Your Nail Polish

You can’t expect a smooth finish with an old, gloopy polish. It’s simply not possible.

Before you start, give your nail paint a short swipe across your nail to see whether it’s the correct consistency. If your polish is thick, dense, or sticky, then just  discard it.

4. Roll The Bottle

The most common blunder we’ve all done is violently shaking a bottle of nail paint. Another mistake is pumping the brush in and out of the bottle’s neck. This merely serves to trap air within the container, resulting in small pockets where bubbles develop.

When the air bubbles land on your nails, they might cause visible holes in your manicure. If your nail paint has separated, the easiest approach to deal with it is to roll the bottle between your hands like dough.

5. Apply Thin Coats

The application of a flawless manicure is crucial. You’re going to make a mess if you have too much polish on your brush. There will be smudges, nicks, and bubbles to contend with. Furthermore, heavier coats of polish take an inordinate amount of time to dry.

Apply nail paint in three short, equal strokes: one down the centre, then one down each edge of the nail. Always allow for the first layer to dry fully before applying the second one, and lift the brush as little as possible.

6. Always finish with a top coat

Apply a topcoat once you’ve finished painting your nails. Make sure you swipe all the way to the tip of your nail. You’ll be less likely to chip your nail polish this way.

7. Run your fingers in a bowl of ice water

Submerge your nails in a basin of ice-cold water for about a minute to help your nail paint dry fast and prevent creasing or bubbling. Also, wait at least two hours after finishing your nails before taking a hot shower.

8. Properly Store Your Nail Polish

To keep the formula stable and extend the shelf life of your nail polish, store it upright in a cool, dark location with consistent temperature. Before putting the bottle away, clean the neck with a cotton swab saturated in remover.

Following these basic guidelines can go a long way toward eliminating nail paint bubbles. If you still have bubbles in your mani after taking all of these precautions, it’s time to discard that polish.


Keep your nail polish in a cool and dry place, avoid sun contact. After this, if your nail polish bubbles then run your fingers in a bowl of ice water.