Don’t apply Nail Paint before reading this Nail Polish Expiration Guide

Nail Polish Expiration Guide Bestbuyereviews

Do you think nail polish lasts forever?

If yes then you need to think about it again and read this Nail Polish Expiration Guide for sure.

Nail polish just like any other product has an expiry date and must be handled in accordance with that.

But where and how to find the right information when the internet is full of it?

Here we’ll help you the best we can by giving you the latest and useful information about the expiry of nail polish so that you don’t let an expired nail polish come in contact with your beautiful nails.

Let’s go!

Examine the packaging

The most important thing is to check the product PAO (period after opening) – this is indicated either on the product itself or sometimes if the label is very small, it will have a hand and book symbol, which indicates that the PAO label is available either on another part of the packaging (i.e. an outer carton) or at the point of purchase, such as in a store on the counter.

nail-polish-3d-bottles-gold-silver-palette_107791-1533 Don’t apply Nail Paint before reading this Nail Polish Expiration Guide

The PAO sign denotes a 12-month period. In my experience, polishes last 12 to 24 months after opening, hence the product should be destroyed 12 to 24 months after opening.

Make a note of when it was first opened, and when it reaches that date, it should be discarded.

Try to breathe new life into the formula

If the polish separates, it isn’t necessarily the end of its life; in many cases, the highly pearlized hues will settle with agitation (some include one or two small silver balls inside the bottle to assist in this).

If it still separates fast after shaking or rolling it between your hands, it’s time to toss it because it might not be an even coat when applied.

Examine the way it looks and smells

If it has discolored or has an unpleasant odor, it should be thrown away, just like any other cosmetic product, because this signals the product is not as it should be.

If your polish has a really pungent perfume that is completely different from how it usually smells, that is the last clue that it has gone bad.

A strong odor could indicate one of two things:

  • A bacterial growth can occur in water base polishes and gel polishes due to the lack of ethyl acetate, an antibacterial solution, in these polishes.
  • A Chemical Reaction: This can occur if the polish formula becomes polluted, causing a reaction that produces a strong odor.

Make sure it’s consistent

It’s usually time to toss it away if the consistency has become extremely thick, stringy, or very thin compared to when it was initially opened.

So how can we make the nail polishes last longer?

It’s all about the storage space! ‘It is recommended to keep the product in a cold, dark place (away from direct sunlight) – but you don’t need to keep it in the fridge, as this will not extend its life and may affect its viscosity/consistency.


Let’s see how long does nail polish last?

I used to believe that nail paint would stay forever and never go bad, but I was mistaken. The FDA does not set a shelf life of nail polish; instead, it is left to the manufacturers.

If kept in a cool, dark environment, nail polish can last anywhere from 18 to 24 months. If the nail polish has not gone bad, you can use it for longer than 24 months.

It’s simple to identify whether your nail paint is bad and then throw it away after two years. Particularly if it’s one of those pricey bottles!

nail-polish-expire Don’t apply Nail Paint before reading this Nail Polish Expiration Guide

However, there is one simple technique to tell whether your nail polish has gone bad!

If your product has gone bad, the texture of it will be a dead giveaway.

If your nail paint has thickened and become gloopy, making it difficult to manage, it is likely that it has gone bad.

When nail polish has gone bad, it’s quite difficult to apply an even coat that doesn’t look clumpy.

Here are some of my suggestions for making your nail polish last as long as possible if you take special care of your bottles.

  • Keep them in a cool, dark location.
  • Using acetone, clean the bottle’s necks. (Removes nail polish)

What is the nail polish expiration date?

This is a difficult topic to answer because each nail polish will have its own unique blend of ingredients and, as a result, will have different expiration dates. Our best advice is to check the label on your nail polish to see what they recommend.

However, most nail polish brands recommend that you discard any unsealed bottles of:

  • After 18-24 months, regular polishes are recommended.
  • After 24-36 months, gel nail polish is no longer visible.

These are averages; for exact information, consult the label on your polish.

But what if the polish solidifies into a useless block or thickens and becomes gooey?

It is absolutely possible to save it!! Because of volatile components in the polish that may eventually evaporate, it begins to harden or thicken. All you need to do now is swap out the ingredients.

What sort of material should you use?

Nail polish remover is definitely not one of them. Remover is too harsh to add to your polish directly.

You might get away with that for a time, but you’re potentially causing lasting damage to your polish.

What you really want to use is thinner nail polish. Yes, indeed.

Slimmer. Nail polish thinner is available expressly for this reason. It’s quite inexpensive and lasts a long time.

What if your polish is separated?

Simply shake it. It won’t be a problem because it hasn’t gone bad. If it’s too thick, thin it out. And, sure, shaking your polish is very acceptable.

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Yes, bubbles are created, but they will dissipate. If you want to apply the polish right away, simply roll it between your palms to avoid bubbles. But, if you’re going to add thinner, shake the hell out of the polish.

That’s all there is to it. There will be no more discarding old polishes.

There’s no need to destroy polishes by using a remover. There will be no more repurchasing your favorite polish.

How should an old nail polish be disposed of?

Tossing a half-empty bottle of polish in the trash may not seem like a big deal, but we never recommend throwing nail paint in the garbage can or pouring it down the sink.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, nail polishes are considered household hazardous waste and should be disposed of appropriately due to their chemical contents.

As a result, we recommend bringing any old polish and polish remover to a nearby disposal facility or collection location.

How about if the polish has turned sticky?

If you notice stringy globs of polish when you remove your brush from the bottle, don’t panic: your polish isn’t completely gone. This could just suggest it’s nearing the end of its shelf life, which we estimate to be two years from the time the bottle is initially opened.

Simply add a few drops of pure, undiluted acetone to the bottle to revitalize the lacquer, which will help it last for a few more applications. Overdoing it might make your polish runny or cause the colours to split. Less is more in this scenario.

How to avoid early expiration?

Gel polish is a blend of different chemical solutions that isn’t always stable. If any of the following four things happen to it, it can go bad:

  • The viscosity of gel polish is increased by heat.
  • Caps are only loosely closed.
  • Gel polish components separate due to precipitation.
  • Prematurely exposing yourself to light.

Let’s take a closer look at these aspects and what you can do to extend the life of your gel polish.

Nail polish will thicken if exposed to extreme heat:

The various liquids in gel polish will evaporate, leaving a thicker residue. Applying thick gel polish is tough. Because the light can’t get all the way through if the surface is already dried, thick gel polish won’t cure correctly under UV light.

There will be wrinkles or bubbles as a result of this. As a result, the gel polish on the nails will not last long.

To avoid this, keep gel polish at a cool room temperature. It’s preferable to keep gel polish in a cool environment so that heat isn’t a factor in the liquid gel polish evaporating.

A closet without walls nearby to a heat source, such as a furnace, or facing the sun is ideal for storing your precious gel polish collection.

The bottom shelf of a cupboard under your bathroom sink is another wonderful place to keep gel polish. If you have a huge collection of gel polish, acetone, and alcohol, this is a good place to store them because they all produce chemical vapors, no matter how insignificant.

Nail polish will slowly dry out if the cap is not tightly closed:

If the cap is not tightly closed, the liquid components of gel polish will slowly dry out. This will thicken gel polish to the point that it is no longer usable.

To avoid this, make sure the cap is tightly closed after each use. To prevent gel polish from collecting on the outside of the rim, practice polishing.

If the outside of the rim and the interior of the cap have polish on them, they should be cleaned as soon as possible. If there is too much polish on the rim, the cap will not close properly, allowing the liquids inside the bottle to gradually evaporate.

Precipitation causes the components of gel polish to separate:

Because gel polish is made up of a variety of chemical substances, it is not permanently stable. If it is not shaken once in a while, the heavier liquids will precipitate and sink to the bottom, while the lighter liquids will stay on top of the gel polish that has not been used for a long time.

Solids such as glitters or colour pigments are also suspended in some gel polishes. The solids will gradually settle to the bottom of the bottle if the polish is not shaken once in a while, and they will tend to attach to each other.

It will be quite tough to mix them up again with manual shavers if this occurs.

Gel polish will thicken if exposed to light too early:

If exposed to UV light, some UV light-sensitive components of the gel polish will react and change their properties prematurely.

To avoid this, wear the cap whenever you aren’t polishing. This prevents the gel polish from being stiff and the small brush from becoming stiff with cured gel polish.

A nail polish bottle should not be placed directly in front of a UV gel lamp that has been turned on. Nail polish bottles should be kept in a dark place.

To prolong the life of your gel polish collection:

  • Store your gel polish collection in a cool, dark place.
  • Put the cap back in the bottle if you are not polishing.
  • Shake each gel polish bottle once in a while.
  • Keep caps on tight.
  • Avoid getting gel polish outside of the rim and inside of the cap. If you do, clean it as soon as possible.

Final Words

So that’s it, lovely ladies!

All you needed to know about nail polish expiration and a plenty of other useful stuff.

Make sure to follow these instructions carefully if you want to get the best out of your nail polish applying experience and wow everyone with your nails alone.

Also, don’t forget to check out our list of best professional nail drills to be the legend of your nails’ beauty.

Stay beautiful, stay awesome.


Akshay Sharma

Akshay Sharma

Hello, I am Akshay Sharma, I am a content writer by profession. While fitness, meditation, and reading are my passions I believe that high-quality and affordable products are what most people need to live a fulfilling lifestyle. Thus through my content, I want to bring the very best from the world of useful and pocket-friendly products to you and help you to live a more enhanced lifestyle than ever. Cheers!

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