Bubbles In Your Nail Polish: The Reason & The Remedy

Hey Everyone,

Just a quick post here this morning in case anyone else ever has this problem. I painted my nails last night and when I woke up in the morning I was surprised to see little specks on my nails. Upon further inspection, I saw that they were air bubbles! What a way to ruin a manicure :-/

You’ll probably need to enlarge these… it’s hard to see them.

Those little specks are tiny air bubbles that bubbled up from my Dive Bar polish and settled under my Seche Vite

Why do air bubbles in your nail polish happen?

They happen when air gets incorporated into your polish and then you put it on your nails. The air bubbles can’t be seen at first and slowly come to the surface, and when they do SURPRISE! air bubbles ruining your nails. Another way bubbles appear in your polish is when you apply polish too thick, too quickly. One thick coat is fine, if you need several thick coats and you do them quickly.. prepare for bubbles.

How can I prevent air bubbles from happening?

It’s really easy. You know how you automatically just start shaking up your nail polish when you pick it up? Don’t. If your nail polish needs mixing, roll it between your hands. I like to lay it on its side, hold it by the lid and “roll” it in the air while trying to keep the bead in it in once space. That’s just a fun little game for me, haha. If your nail polish is stubborn and wont mix either buy a bb and put it inside the bottle to help mix it or shake the heck outta it and then leave it alone for a few hours before painting your nails. If the problem is too thick of coats, too quickly you can either apply thinner coats, and/or allow a couple of minutes between coats. I sometimes apply a coat of polish, reply to a couple posts on Twitter, then come back for the next coat. I especially do this if I know I’m going to need multiple coats of polish. The few extra minutes is well worth it. If you’ve ever spent time doing your nails only to find bubbles just when you thought everything was lookin good, you’ll agree with me.

What can I do if I see I have air bubbles?

Depending on how soon they emerge you may be able to smooth them out with a healthy coat of Seche Vite. If you’re too late for that, you can either apply another coat of nail polish to fill them in or remove the polish and try again.

Happy polishing!


36 thoughts on “Bubbles In Your Nail Polish: The Reason & The Remedy

    • I don’t think I’ve had that problem but I would say to try to prevent that, make sure your base polish is dry, try to avoid really plopping the polish into the water (like try to gently let it fall into the water from not too far above), and try to be careful to gently lay your nail into the water so as not to stir up the polish at all. Other than that you may just have to experiment with different polish that doesn’t bubble up. If I hear some info from other bloggers, I’ll make sure to pass it along!

      • The trick is to pull your nail out slowly..i do my nails like this all the time..it takes a few times to get used to how to do it..you will catch on 😉

    • You’re welcome! You can’t totally avoid bubbles every time no matter what but hopefully these tips can help you avoid a complete disasticure. 🙂

  1. Pingback: How To Save Bubbled Up Nails | Polish Me, Please!

  2. After a hiatus of 25 or 30 years, I am polishing my nails again. Bubbles every time. NEVER had this problem before or heard of others getting it. I say it is the maufacturers. But I will still try some of the things I learned here.

  3. Such terrific advice! When I began painting my nails at first, I’d always get frustrated at how they were bubbles in my manicures and pedicures. With time, experience, and so-on, I’ve adopted the same great habits you encourage here, and thank God! lol If I did it, I’m sure many girls have the same problem, and.. a lot of those girls don’t have the time, or just don’t know about this, and would LOVE to have such fantastic, manicure/pedicure-saving advice!!

    In conclusion, this is a fab blog, and this advice is gold. ❤

    • Hey friend!! Thanks for the comment, sorry I’m literally 101 days late. I swear bubbles are the worst!!! You think your nails are going to look so great and then you look up close and BAM BOO BARF!!! BUBBLES!!!!!! Kinda like when you smudge/gouge your nails and can’t fix em after you’ve put all of your nail supplies away. JUST KILL ME!

  4. My issue is that sometimes one particular nail polish will have bubbles right when I open the bottle. Is there any way to get rid of that? I guess I could mix some clear polish in it, but it’s not really thick. I think it’s cause the polish is OLD. But it wasn’t on sale. It was one of the last of that bottle style at the store . . . so I think it was older than the other bottles I bought. 😦

  5. Hey Ukky Chan, give that bottle a couple of shakes.. some nail polishes have a little metal ball in them for mixing the polish, so rolling it between your palms isn’t a sure fix with every bottle. The best advice I can give you is to roll the bottle between your palms a half hour before using it (even if the polish is brand new), make sure there’s no fan or heater near you when you paint your nails, and don’t apply the polish too thick. A few topcoats, and coloured nail polishes, are formulated to go on thick, so you can and should do so, but most base coats and coloured nail polishes will bubble, or have poor staying power when applied too thick. .. Sorry for your hard luck. 😦 I hope youreach success! 🙂

    • Thanks for answering that Joshua. Also, Ukky you could try adding a little nail polish thinner (not remover) and see if that helps it go on more smoothly and therefor not bubble. The fan tip and rolling it are excellent tips. Something here has got to help!! 🙂 Good luck!

  6. Hi I came across you’re post after I had been having issues with loads of tiny bubbles on every single nail and it appeared only AFTER I had put my top coat on. I have to say that I take soooo long to do each coat eg began at 6 finished at 10 with base coat once, colour twice and top coat once!!i used ingot diamond top coat and it was a brand new bottle not shaken not stirred?

    • How frustrating! I’m assuming your nail polish isn’t a giant glitter bomb for this answer, if it is you’ll have to let me know. The only thing I can think of is either your nail polish is too thick and maybe even though you don’t notice, your brush is kinda dragging instead of smoothly spreading, causing tiny little uneven spots that cause the bubbling, in which case some nail polish thinner should do the trick. Or maybe that topcoat just doesn’t get along well with that nail polish. Maybe try something different and see if it’s a chemistry thing. And make sure you aren’t getting anything on your nails in between coats since you do it over the course of several hours. Something on top of the nail could be causing it (oil, tiny debris, who knows). Good luck!!

  7. I read all of the comments here about eliminating bubbles appearing after I’m finished polishing my nails. I already do everything that is suggested and still get bubbles. I went to another link and the one thing that I wasn’t doing was washing my hands after removing the old polish from my nails. I immediately took off my newly painted nails, washed my hands, replaced exactly as I had earlier this afternoon and NO BUBBLES!!!

  8. Secret tip! You can actually use the numbers 3 & 4 on you buffing block to smooth out surfaces (nails must be 100% dry). Use 3 sparingly, if your nails are completely dry you should just be able to use 4 (the shine one) all by its self with a bit off pressure, & viola! No bubbles and shinier than any top coat, but be sure to apply one anyways. 😁

  9. If you end up getting bubbles and do not want to redo your nails (or don’t have time!) you can put a matte top coat or a glitter top coat. The bubbles go away and the new top coat adds for a different effect. : )

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