A well known feeling; your manicure starts out looking impeccable, and after a while… it begins to bubble. These bubbles are highly problematic since they completely change your manicure aesthetic, and painting over them is not an option since this creates a bumpy appearance. Why does nail polish bubble?
There are many reasons as to why nail polish bubbles, from excess oil, to moisture in the air. This can happen anywhere from the salon to your home. Certain steps help to avoid the appearance of bubbles, but if there is a problem with the polish formula, they are inevitable.
There are other reasons that may be the unknown cause of trapped air bubbles, but simple steps can be taken to further avoid these.
Bubbles in nail polish are more common than you may think. The following reasons are some of the most common, leading causes of bubbles in nail polish and how you can avoid these:
- Excess oil or alcohol on nail: One of the most important steps in a manicure, which many people forget, is to properly cleans the nail before painting any layers. Any left behind substances such as alcohol or oil of any kind can chemically react when in contact with the polish, which could create a series of air bubbles. Other common culprits are hand creams, cuticle oils, and traces of soap.
- High temperatures: This is common among hot climates; when the air temperature is very warm, the nail polish can be warmed up as well. This change of temperature does no good for the formula, and can lead to the creation of bubbles. Nail polishes are recommended to be stored in dark, room temperature places. A cold climate can make the polish too thick, which would result in the disruption of bubbles as well.
- Excess nail polsih: When nail polish is applied, the amount on the brush must not be excessive. Users must wait a few minutes in between each layer to allow the polish to completely set, and then move forward with the next layer. Too much polish applied in too thick layers can cause air bubbles to appear. Instead, work with thinner layers that will in turn dry quicker.
- Different polish brands used together: This is not always the case, but sometimes, different polish formulas do not work well together when layered, which can lead to a disruption in the manicure and bubbles to the surface. Instead, try using the same brand within the same manicure, for the base coat, color coat, and top coat.
- Shaking the polish bottle: Many nail polish users have a habit of shaking a nail polish bottle aggressively before beginning to apply. This is because sometimes the product may sit for too long and a shake is needed to get the proper consistency. Instead of shaking, which is a known cause for bubbling, try gently rolling the bottle between your hands, as if warming it up. This will cause the formula to gently blend together, but will not disrupt the consistency.
- Thinning out old polish: A big misconception within the beauty industry; many online sites suggest as a trick to extend the shelf life of an old polish, is to add a few drops of nail polish remover as a quick solution. This does not always work, and can be the culprit on the bubbles of your nails.
Read more on these common reasons here.
The first solution would be to avoid the bubbles altogether, being aware of the common reasons mentioned above. However, there are other fixes that could be attempted if your manicure looks great, but a few bubbles appeared. A nail polish thinner would work best – a few drops could be applied to the affected area, and then gently brushed to smooth and thin out. Worst case scenario, you would have to simply remove the polish, and repaint the nail from the start. Attempt the other alternatives before doing so.