How to Fix Bubbles in Gel Nail Polish? 3 Best Methods To Try

A common question I’m often asked is how to fix bubbles in gel nail polish.

These tiny bubbles in gel polish are one of the most common issues that even experienced nail technicians face. Unfortunately, in many cases, the bubbles won’t go away naturally after being cured.

Today, I will provide some tips to help you solve this problem, and cover the best ways to prevent those ugly bubbles from forming on your shiny gel polish.

What Causes Bubbles in Gel Polish?

Before jumping to the solutions, let’s first go over potential causes.

Bubbles often form during the drying process, where air can get trapped between the polish layers. The causes may include:

  • Thick polish: Gel polish is thicker than regular polish. Therefore, excessive amounts of polish will affect the curing process.  
  • Lack of preparation: Your nails must be clear of dirt, oil, and leftover polish. Without a smooth surface, air pockets can form.
  • Tapping the brush: Spreading the gel coat on the nails by tapping the brush may create air bubbles.
  • Curing process: Typically, you apply three layers of gel manicure; base, color, and top. Ensuring the previous layer has cured before applying the next can prevent bubbles and wrinkles.
  • Lack of UV light: UV light helps your nails cure properly after each gel layer. If you skip this step, the curing process will not be consistent.

How to Fix Bubbles in Gel Nail Polish?

how to fix bubbles in gel nail polish

If you are a nail technician looking for a way to fix the issue, you have come to the right place. There are 3 easy methods that you can use when seeing bubbles in gel polish.

If you are looking for a solution to fix this issue at home, you can scroll down and skip these steps. I will share some tips about bubbled nail polish with you below!

For now, here are the methods on how to fix air bubbles in gel nail polish.

1. Buff off the bubbles

buffing off the bubbles in gel polish

The fastest, and most efficient way to remove the bubbles in your gel nail polish, is to buff the areas that have bubbles, wrinkles, or blemishes. This method can be applied in most cases, and all you’ll need to do the trick is a nail buffer.

For example, if you see bubbles in the top coat, simply buff the nail until it disappears, then apply another top coat.

If the bubbles are seen in the colored coat, more steps are required. You will need to buff off the entire top coat to reveal the colored coat and follow the second approach (mentioned in more detail below).

After the bubbles are gone, you may then apply a new layer of top coat, being sure to pay extra attention to it so you don’t accidentally create more bubbles.

2. Apply a new layer of gel polish

painting over the bubbles in gel polish

If you notice bubbles in the colored coat after curing, you can easily fix it before sealing the layer with a top coat.

In this technique, apply another layer of color over the existing coat. The new colored layer will cover the bubbles in the previous coat, and make it look flawless.

Keep in mind that this can only be done if you haven’t yet applied a top coat and cured it. This is why carefully checking each coat after curing is beneficial, as you can fix the problems when they happen.

3. Peel off and Re-apply

The worst scenario is when you see a lot of bubbles that are deep in the colored and base coats. It would take a lot of time to buff those layers from the top coat.

So the best method to fix this is peeling the gel polish off completely from your nail. Then re-apply new layers one by one again, with extra care of course.

From my experience, I rarely have to remove the entire polish and redo it. I also don’t see many cases that need to use this approach either.

How to Prevent Bubbles in Gel Polish?

By far, the number one method for fixing bubbles in gel polish is prevention. The following tips will help you achieve a bubble-free gel finish:

Prepare carefully

Be sure to clean your nails thoroughly, and remove any remaining nail polish. Then, properly dry the nail and nail bed. 

Remember that, even though your nails seem dry, the cuticles and skin around them may still be wet.

After gently buffing the nails, use alcohol to clean the surface. Before you begin the painting process, the nails must be dry and free of lint, lotion, and oil. 

Check the nail surface carefully, as leftover residue will cause gel polish to bubble.

Use a nail bonder

A nail bonder eliminates contaminants and oils on the nail surface. Additionally, it raises the pH level of your natural nail, improving the gel adhesion, and preventing the formation of bubbles.  

Apply thin layers

Thick layers need more time to cure, are harder to dry evenly, and cause the polish to run over the edges of the nail.

Applying the gel in thin layers will allow you to have more control. As a result, you can avoid bubbles, have more opportunities to adjust the layers, and leave the nail with a more refined look.

Please note that opaque colors require thinner coats than translucent ones, as opaque polishes block the UV light, preventing the gel from curing properly.

Make sure to cure after each step

Improper curing of the gel layers is among the most common causes of bubbles. Knowing the cause, you can rectify the problem with the right solution. 

If the previous layer hasn’t cured, it will interact with the following layer and form bubbles on the nail surface.

To avoid this, wait for each layer to dry until you apply the next one. UV light is necessary to correctly cure your gel polish.

Check your hand placement

If you notice that the bubbles only form on your thumbnail, you likely placed your hand improperly under the UV light.

Oftentimes, your thumbnail will not receive as much light as others due to its position and length. If you have this problem, try to share some UV light with the thumbnail.

How to Fix Bubbles in Gel Polish at home?

So you just got your bio gel nail set done at a nail salon and you didn’t notice the bubbles in your polish until you got home right?

Bio gel nail polish is not similar to regular polish. If you have bubbles in regular polish, you can just simply scratch the bubbles off with a spoon, then apply another layer of polish onto it. You can find and buy regular polish top coats online pretty easily.

Bio gel nail polish on the other hand, after being cured will stay quite firm. In fact, you can’t fix this issue at home, especially without the necessary equipment.

I recommend you come back to the nail salon where you got it done to ask for a fix. If it’s a reputable salon, you should get this solved for free. So make sure you come back to the salon as soon as you notice the issue so that you don’t face additional charges for the service.

In case you hate it so much and just want to remove it at home, you can read one of my articles about removing gel nail polish with sugar at home. But this technique will only work with some types of gel polish that are not very firm in texture.

The Bottom Line

You have now learned how to fix wrinkled, bubbling gel polish. If the bubbles are tiny, you just need to buff off the problematic areas, and then simply apply a new layer or detail to cover them.

But, if there are a lot of large bubbles that are easily noticeable, you may need to remove the old polish and re-apply it.

Ultimately, prevention is better than a cure, so thoroughly preparing the nail and applying the gel polish with care is the best method to achieve flawless results.