Plus, our best tips for the smoothest mani.

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When visions of perfectly smooth polish give way to the reality of a bumpy, bubbly, gloopy mess—don't fear. We have a few helpful hints to get you on the right track. But, before we get down to the nitty gritty, just go ahead and toss those old polishes. If you can't remember when you bought it and the cap feels like it's superglued on then it's time to say sayonara. Prep your nails with our expert filing technique, give them a good scrub, and dry completely before you begin.

Now that we got that out of the way, there are a few additional tricks of the trade that can help ensure you achieve your smoothest at-home manicure.

Invest in a Good Base Coat

Priming your nails for polish is the best way to prevent bubbles from the start. We love this version from OPI. A good base coat will give nail polish something to grip, in addition to promoting a smoother application of color.

Wait for Each Layer to Dry Completely

Impatient? Yep, us too. That personality trait could be a big factor in your bumpy mani. If you're constantly asking yourself, "Why does my nail polish bubble?" chances are you're trying to rush through the process of painting your nails. It's tempting to wave your hands in the air for a minute or two before applying a second or third coat—what's the harm, right? Nail polish bubbles, that's what! Let each layer dry before applying another coat to ensure salon-worthy smoothness.

Apply Thin Coats

Thick nail polish is the perfect environment for polish bubbles. Use the edge of the bottle to remove excess polish from the brush before applying to your nails. If your polish isn't quite as dark or opaque as you like, just apply an extra coat or two—but, remember, let layers dry between each application.

WATCH: 12 Hottest Nail Polish Colors for Summer 2019

Still asking yourself, why does nail polish bubble? We didn't think so. Give these handy tricks a try and you'll be on your way to a professional-looking manicure at a fraction of the price—oh, and no tip required.

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