Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Apothecary: Using nail polish thinner for topcoats

Hello ladies,

I recently purchased a bottle of Beauty Secrets Nail Polish Thinner in an attempt to solve my bubbling issues with Konad topcoat and restore my bottle of CND Air Dry to like new consistency. I am thoroughly pleased with the results.

The purpose of polish thinner is to return the chemicals present in the original product at time of manufacture. Because these chemicals are volatile and evaporate easily, standard use or even shelf time can change the consistency of polish or topcoat. It isn't recommended to use polish remover as a thinner because it functions as a solvent, breaking down the key ingredients over time. Polish thinner simply adds back the ingredients lost through evaporation.

The recommendation for usage is a few drops. This may be true for changing the consistency of nail polish, but I found I needed far more for thinning top coats. Looking at the photo, you can see there is missing product from the 4 oz. bottle. Filled to the neck at purchase, the amount of thinner missing is now within my bottle of Konad topcoat in the Princess size.

My Konad topcoat was so viscous that the bottle is now proportionately filled with one third Beauty Secrets Nail Polish Thinner and two thirds of the original topcoat. Previously, I had used the Konad topcoat in the special polish size and had no need for thinner. Whether there was a manufacturing issue with the larger bottle of Konad topcoat or if with my frequent use of the topcoat caused the formula to thicken is unclear. My bottle may have been getting too much exposure to air, causing undue evaporation of necessary chemicals.

I will note that I had never before experienced severe bubbling with any other topcoat after using only a third of a bottle. Clicking on any of the pictures in my review of Color Club's Uptown Girl, will give evidence to the issues I was having. The creme formula of the polish makes a thorough showcase. There was almost enough bubbling to call it lather.

Kathleen from OC Nail Art was amazing in sending me a replacement bottle immediately after I reported the problem. However, I had the same issues with the second bottle of Konad topcoat. Although with her excellent service, I think she would have replaced the bottles into infinity, I wanted to be proactive and see what I could do to restore the formula on my own.

I was pleased that the Beauty Secrets Nail Polish Thinner did not disrupt the formula from it's original purpose of sealing Konad designs. I noticed I have to be more careful now not to go over the same spot in the design twice. I also use a light touch when stroking the brush across the nail. These recommendations are standard with application of Konad topcoat whether or not thinner is used. As an additional bonus, thinning the top coat sped up drying time significantly.

Beauty Secrets Nail Polish Thinner contains the following ingredients: Butyl Acetate, Ethyl Acetate, and Heptane. I can't guarantee that every thinner would produce the same result with Konad topcoat, but the Beauty Secrets brand worked without altering the formula. My Konad manicures are free of bubbles and smearing.

I also tried Beauty Secrets Nail Polish Thinner with CND Air Dry. It worked beautifully with the newer Big Three Free formula. I haven't used it with the older formula. The flip spout on the Beauty Secrets cap will dispense a few drops at a time. If you are using this thinner for careful altering of a nail polish formula, I would recommend working with an eye dropper or a pipette instead. It's hard to see exactly how many drops of thinner you are adding. The cap design doesn't allow for precision dispensing. I had no problems using larger quantities than a few drops.

When using thinner, allow time for the ingredients to dispense into the polish or topcoat. When I first added Beauty Secrets Nail Polish Thinner to my topcoats, it sat on the surface. Shaking the topcoat bottle caused a rather disturbing amount of bubbles. This will settle over night and you will awaken to find your topcoat very close to it's original formula. It's like magic.

Beauty Secrets Nail Polish Thinner is available for 3.99 at Sally Beauty Supply locations or on-line at

Above are three views of a leaning tree in Silver Lake Park. I was fascinated by the white cherry blossoms, that seemed like snow on the landscape. The sky began as vivid blue and there was a layering of clouds beneath that shared the white beauty of the tree.

Happy painting. ladies!


  1. a 4 oz polish thinner- wow... the bigges I can get here is 10ml

  2. Great suggestion! My Seche Vite is getting a little on the thicker side so I'm looking to thin it abit. Just in case (with Seche) I'll stick to it's "Restore" bottle.

  3. thanks for sharing this.. Iam only new on using konad top coat Princiess bottle...I dont have any bubble issue on the konad TC, thus in some of designs still it smudge, so i just think it's on the stroke or on how u apply the top coat over the stamped design is the best way to lessen smudge designs over any other TC...and I just observed the more thicker the top coat is, its less smudge the design..I always use thinner for my top coat and ur right, "thinning the top coat sped up drying time significantly.."

  4. Thanks for the tip! I've got 2 bottles of Konad top coat that are getting thick! I've tried Seche Restore on them (maybe not enough though) and it didn't do anything. I guess I should try a different brand!

  5. Thanks for the info.. I am recently on the market for a thinner myself! Awesome post! :)

  6. Diana! I just want to kiss you right now. I'm SO glad you made this post - I already love your apothecary series, because I discovered my HG top coat thanks to you - CND Air Dry is by far and away my most favorite - but I've got about a quarter of a bottle left and it's gotten quite thick and hard to work with. I was just wondering if I could thin it, and you answered my question with this post! Ahhh. Thank you so much! ♥

  7. amusedPolish: I saw smaller size bottles at Ulta so I know what you mean. I know Orly makes a 4 ounce size too, but I haven't yet tried it. It does seem like a lot of product. I feel like going around thinning old polishes and top coats just because of the near endless supply!

    Skulda: Thanks! I think it's a good approach to stick with Restore for Seche products. :)

    Thriszha: Application is key with Konad topcoat. The biggest help is to lightly skim the brush over the design and not to brush the same spot twice. My application with Konad topcoat tends to require a little cleanup at the sides of the nail. I should really do a review and tutorial about working with it!

    Your Konad designs always look so beautiful. I've never noticed a smudge.

    I'm glad I finally started using thinner with my topcoats. It's going to be standard practice from now on. :)

    ch3rrycola: Great! I'm glad the information came at a good time. :)

    Nicole: xoxo! I was down to the last third of the larger size of CND Air Dry and something had to be done! I am really surprised how much I like their new Big Three Free formula. It's virtually identical to the older version with all my beloved chemicals. ;)

    I will keep doing Apothecary posts for you. <3

    Wizards of Bling: Thank you ladies! xoxo!

  8. Polish Hoarder: No problem! I was surprised how much thinner I needed with the Konad topcoat. I went back and posted the ingredients of the Beauty Secrets Polish Thinner in the review above. I believe Seche Restore has different chemicals.

  9. When I had the Seche Vite I went through plenty of polish thinner. It's annoying how fast those type of topcoats get thick. Just a few drops was ridiculous. I just ended up pouring some in. Polish thinner is one thing you can never be without. Cherry blossums are gorgeous blowing all over. Like a carpet of snow.

  10. I used so much thinner with SV, I dont even bother using it anymore now. I can't even imagine how many bottles of polish I ruined by putting polish remover in it when I didnt know any better...sad days. Now that I have thinner, I can't live without it!

  11. Lucy: I think fast drying topcoats are like polish thinner eating monsters. :P I love seeing cherry blossom petals adrift in the air. Such a lulling vision.

    Jessica: I wish I could go back in time with polish thinner to save some older bottles I threw away. I ruined an old Borghese mini that was from when the company sold polish at department store make up counters. It was the color of henna. At least we can go forward better informed and equipped. :)


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