How To Store Your Nail Polish?




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Once you’ve painted on your favorite nail polish it can be tough to figure out where to tuck it so that it won’t dry out. We’ve all had to deal with clumpy, sticky, nail polish that becomes useless to us once it is ruined. But I will show you how to store your nail polish to avoid this disaster.

Ensure your nail polish is stored in a cool, dry area. Places with sunlight and heat will dry the solvent from its formula quicker, which will allow the formula to thicken and cause it to dry out. Ensure to also stir and shake it occasionally as well as keep the bottle firmly closed to prevent air from getting inside.

I will discuss whether it is good practice to store your nail polish in the fridge. I will also explain different methods to keep your nail polish from drying out, as well as ways to rehydrate the formula should it have already dried out. Lastly, I will discuss what nail polishes tend to dry quicker.

Should You Store Nail Polish In The Fridge?

There are a few reasons why you should or shouldn’t store nail polish in the fridge. The suggestion often comes outside the extra thought of the fact that fridge temperatures and conditions vary from fridge to fridge. With the ideal temperature and condition, however, you can in fact store your nail polish in the fridge.

Like most things in life, nail polish has an expiration date. Once it has been opened, air will enter the bottle and will cause your nail paint to discolor. 

The fridge is a good way to store your nail polish so it can stay at a temperature where it won’t discolor. Also, a fridge will keep the polishes cooler, allowing the solvent to not dry out.

Although the refrigerator is an effective way to store nail polish, I don’t think it is the most ideal method. Especially if you have already opened the polish and are using it frequently. The polish’s frequent exposure to the elements will cause it to discolor or dry out despite your attempts to salvage it through refrigeration.

However, if you have chosen to store your polish in the refrigerator, ensure to allow it to come to room temperature before using it. The cool air in the fridge thickens the solution, therefore you should allow it to restore itself to its usual consistency.

How To Keep Nail Polish From Drying Out

Keep Your Bottle Tightly Closed

Ensure that whenever you open the nail polish bottle, you are taking steps to quickly close it. The more air that gets in the bottle the more likely it will become dry. A great technique is to not stretch your application past two fingers before periodically restoring the cover to the bottle.

 If you’ve finished using the bottle for the first coat, seal the bottle completely while you wait for that coat to dry. When you are putting them away, give your bottles an extra twist to shut. 

You’re also protecting your bottle in this way. If you’ve owned a polish or two then you’re perhaps familiar with some of these covers just deciding one day to no longer fit your polish bottles. It is very common, if the bottle isn’t tightly closed, for the cap threads to eventually slacken and no longer fit the bottle.

Clean Your Bottles

Nicole Miller Mini Nail Polish Set - 15 Glossy and Trendy Colors

Speaking of your thread caps, ensure that they are clean and free from polish. If the threaded cap has paint on it, then when the cap closes the paint can create small spaces for air to push through and dry your polish.

Cool And Dark Places

Ensure you store your nail polishes in cool and dark places to prevent them from drying out. You want to avoid your bottles spending time in the sunlight as this quickens the drying process. Allow it to sit in dark places such as cabinets or drawers. 

Don’t allow it to heat up either. Just as a fridge that is too cool will thicken a nail polish solution, the heat will cause the solvent to dry out of the mixture quicker, causing it to dry up.

Mix It Up A Little

Once opened, your nail polish’s number one enemy is lack of usage. I know you’ve been through it. You’ve used the polish to paint your nails then you tuck it away. A couple of weeks or months later, the mixture has hardened.

There is a way to stop this from happening. Every few days, you have to “wake up” the formula, meaning, you need to give the mixture a few stirrings and shakes so that it doesn’t set into one place too long.

You need to be careful with how much you shake it though. If you shake it too hard, you run the risk of forming bubbles in the polish. 

Do you know what comes with bubbles in polish? A ruined polish. The polish will not lay evenly on your nail plate.

What To Do If Nail Polish Dries Out?

If you do end up having the unfortunate experience of dried-out nail polish, then you can use the methods I’ve described below to restore them.

Adding Acetone

If your nail polish is dried out, it is just that all the solvent has been evaporated from the mixture. So, what you will need to do is add a solvent agent back into the mixture. Add a drop of pure acetone into your bottle and mix until the consistency is restored.

 Be careful not to add too much acetone though, as it will change your polish’s consistency and cause it to last a shorter time on your nails.

PANA Brand 10oz. (Quantity: 1 Pieces) Acetone Labeled Liquid Push Down Pump Dispenser Empty Bottle (Teal)

Hot Water Treatment

You can boil some hot water for your nail polish. Do not, I repeat, do not let any water get inside your nail polish. It will be ruined. 

You will instead be placing your tightly sealed nail polish into the hot water for about five minutes. Give the bottle a gentle shake between intervals. To avoid burning yourself use a towel to hold the bottle during the shaking stages.

What Types Of Nail Polish Dry Out Quicker?

Lacquer polishes will dry out quicker than gel polishes because gel polish needs UV light to “dry”. So, unless you put the gel polish in direct sunlight it won’t harden easily. Lacquer polishes on the other hand are dried once their solvent is evaporated. 

So, greater care needs to be taken when storing these. The thicker the consistency of your nail polish the more likely it is to dry out because a thick consistency means that there is less solvent present in the formula.

More about what to do with thick nail polish you can read here.


With these tips I have provided, you can lengthen the lifespan of your nail polish. Keep it in a cool, dry place, and remember to give it a shake now and then even when you’re not using it. This way, you will avoid dried-out nail polish. 


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