A locally available, affordable nail polish thinner would have been an awesome find for a nail polish lover who has dried up/goopy nail polishes in shades whose production have been discontinued or which are not easily available. But since I don’t know one at the moment, the Caronia Solvent seemed like a good alternative.
Some time ago, I saw a couple of posts online pointing to Caronia Solvent as a possible thinner of nail polishes that have dried up or thickened. When a friend mentioned hearing about the Caronia Solvent as thinner too, though she couldn’t point out where she heard about it, I took that as a sign and finally got a bottle hoping that it would be able to resuscitate my dried up nail polishes. I initially thought that the solvent was an unnecessary purchase if I were to use it for its intended purpose which, according to the Caronia website, is for cleaning “metal manicure and pedicure implements leaving them stain-free”. I asked Caronia through FB what makes the solvent a better cleaner as I am fairly content with using nail polish remover to get streaks of nail polishes off my nail care tools. They have yet to reply though.
The ingredients of Caronia Solvent include 49% toluene, n-butyl acetate and ethyl acetate. Please refer to these posts for ingredients of certain nail polish removers to compare. To know what are the ingredients of some nail polish thinners, check this forum thread (it’s also a great read on people’s experiences with nail polish thinners.) As you can see, butyl acetate and ethyl acetate are common ingredients of the Caronia Solvent, nail polish removers and nail polish thinners. They are pointed out as the ingredients which make a nail polish not goopy. What essentially happens is that over time, they evaporate, the nail polish solidifies. A nail polish thinner replenishes these lost ingredients. Nail polish removers have other ingredients in them, particularly acetone which is said to ruin the color of the polish.
Caronia has mentioned in their website that the solvent is “not recommended for diluting dried up nail polish.” Its label also says that it “thins and dissolves nail enamel.” The “dissolves” part makes me think that if used for diluting, the solvent will break down the nail polish’s components thereby ruining the nail polish. But if you’d been to the thread linked above, you’d see that there’s this nail polish thinner which has the same ingredients as the Caronia Solvent.
Well, I had no qualms trying it out since the nail polishes I tested it first on were already dried up. Said volunteers were a silvery gray Careline nail polish and Caronia nail polish in Golden Plum. I followed the Filipina Makeup and Beauty Blog’s advice in this post to use a medicine dropper to transfer the solvent from its bottle into a nail polish bottle after trying to transfer from bottle to bottle and spilling some. I would transfer a few drops, close the cap for a minute then swish a toothpick around in the bottle. With the Careline nail polish, I ended up with fluffed brush bristles and nail polish that’s no better than before. The solvent just pooled in the middle of the nail polish bottle and refused to mingle with the dried up polish. My Caronia nail polish in Golden Plum fared better. Although I was unable to bring it back to the consistency of a fresh one, I was able to use it again. After some time though, it began to get lumpy-streaky.
I’m not sure what the ingredients of the Careline nail polishes are. My bottles being old don’t have labels anymore. Caronia nail polishes meanwhile have the following ingredients: Toluene, Ethyl Acetate, Butyl Acetate, Nitrocellulose, Phthalic Antydride / Trimellitic Antydride / Glycolos Copolymer, Acetyl Tributyl Citrate, Isopropyl Alcohol, Acrylates Copolymer, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Benzophenone 1, Mica and colorants. Note that the first three ingredients are the ingredients of the Caronia Solvent. This could be the reason why it was able to thin the Caronia Golden Plum nail polish.
The trial showed that the Caronia Solvent produces different effects on different nail polishes, the effect possibly depending on the ingredients of those nail polishes. It can thin out some nail polishes but not all.
The Caronia Solvent is quite drying, creating white steaks on my nails when a few drops accidentally landed on them so it will not work as a nail polish remover substitute. It also evaporates really fast so the moment you open a bottle, use the contents immediately. Otherwise you’d end up with just an empty bottle in a few months.
A 15 ml Caronia Solvent bottle is available at leading department stores and drugstores, particularly at Landmark.