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Does Nail Polish Expire?

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If you’re like the rest of us, you’ve probably got a shoebox full of nail polish bottles in a vanity drawer or bathroom cabinet. And you’re wondering – does nail polish expire?

Nail polish seems to last for ages, but it doesn’t last forever. Unopened nail polish can last 4-7 years. But after you open it, you’re looking at an 18-24 month shelf life for regular nail polish and 24-36 months for gel polishes.

Maybe now would be a good time to go through that box to see if any of those polishes have seen better days. Is it time to toss some of them?

In this article we are going to show you how you may be able to revive older nail polish to eke out a few more manicures, and the signs to look for that your nail polish has expired and it’s time to get rid of it.

And don’t worry if you end up having to clear out that box – we’ll also be looking at the hottest new nail polish color trends.

So fret not, it’s time to go shopping!


Does Nail Polish Expire?

Essie Expressie Nail Polish

Now the FDA does not regulate expiry dates for nail polish but instead leaves it up to the manufacturer to set the expiry date.

The expiry date will be on the label and will usually look like a little opened jar with a number and an ‘M’ indicating how many months the product should be used after opening.


How Can You Tell If Nail Polish Is Bad?

You remember when you opened that nail polish, right? Or maybe you’re very good about writing down when you opened the nail polish.

Yeah, we’re not either.

Whether it’s past the expiry date or you’ve found a bottle of nail polish you haven’t used in a while and the label’s worn off and can’t remember when you opened it, the easiest way to tell if nail polish has gone bad is to judge the consistency.

If it has separated and there are particles floating around, it’s partially dried out, or it has a gooey, thick or stringy texture, then it’s most likely gone bad. If you see any of those, it’s time to toss it.

That said, older nail polish can separate if it hasn’t been used in a while. If it’s just separated, it doesn’t necessarily mean it has gone bad.

You might be able to revive it.


How To Revive Separated Nail Polish

Especially if it’s an expensive nail polish you’ve splurged on, you may want to try to see if you can revive it. If it has separated but isn’t dried out, you may still be able to use it.

First, try shaking the bottle vigorously.

If that doesn’t work, you can try using a nail polish thinner .

Add a few drops of the nail polish thinner to your nail polish bottle, then screw the cap back on. Roll the bottle back and forth between your hands. If the nail polish blends back together again, then you should be good to go!

If, on the other hand, it doesn’t blend together, or has a stringy consistency, it’s clumpy, or it’s thick and gooey, it’s time to let it go.

You’ve tried your best, but it’s too far gone.


Is It OK To Use Expired Nail Polish?

If your nail polish is past its expiry date, as long as it hasn’t gone bad and it still applies normally, you can still use it.

Many beauty products should be thrown away after the expiry date because of the risk of possible fungal or bacterial infections. Fortunately, nail polish ingredients are inhospitable to fungus and bacteria (press-on nails, however, are a different story).

So the worst-case scenario when using expired nail polish is that you get a crappy manicure.

If your nail polish is not going on smoothly, it’s separated and you cannot get it to blend together, or there are clumps, then it’s time to get rid of it. There is no sense in keeping nail polish that will not apply properly.


Time To Restock!

Mirror Nail polish

If you’ve just realized you have a box full of what look more like mini lava lamps than bottles of nail polish, no worries. This is a great excuse to go shopping and check out the latest nail polish color trends!

Springtime greens will be a gateway into the upcoming summer.

We’ll be seeing pastels, like Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy Longwear Nail Polish in ‘Cha Ching’, Maybelline New York Color Show Nail Lacquer in ‘Green With Envy’, and Orly Baked Summer Nail Color in ‘Lush’,

Muted olive tones, like essie expressie Quick-Dry Vegan Nail Polish in ‘precious cargo-go’ will also be very popular.

Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy Longwear Nail Polish, with Built-in Base Coat & Glossy Shine Finish, in Blue/Green, 225 Cha-Ching, 0.4 oz
Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy Longwear Nail Polish, with Built-in Base Coat & Glossy Shine Finish, in Blue/Green, 225 Cha-Ching, 0.4 oz
Outrageous shine and rich, long lasting color, that won't fade in one at home formula; Delivers high impact, salon-quality color for up to 7 days
$7.88
Maybelline New York Color Show Nail Lacquer, Green with Envy, 0.23 Fluid Ounce
Maybelline New York Color Show Nail Lacquer, Green with Envy, 0.23 Fluid Ounce
Runway ready colors; Show-stopping shine; High fashion finishes
$6.50
Orly Baked Summer Nail Color Collection, Lush, 0.6 Ounce
Orly Baked Summer Nail Color Collection, Lush, 0.6 Ounce
Ultra-smooth application; Maximum color; Nourishes and protects nails with Vitamins A, E and B5
$11.65

Periwinkle will be this summer’s must-have color.

Revlon Nail Enamel in ‘Irrestistable’, Orly BREATHABLE Treatment + Color Nail Lacquer in ‘you had me at hydrangea’ and Sally Hansen – Good. Kind. Pure Vegan Nail Polish in ‘Crystal Blue’ all fit the bill.

Revlon Nail Enamel, Chip Resistant Nail Polish, Glossy Shine Finish, in Blue/Green, 733 Irresistible, 0.5 oz
Revlon Nail Enamel, Chip Resistant Nail Polish, Glossy Shine Finish, in Blue/Green, 733 Irresistible, 0.5 oz
Gorgeous color goes on smoothly and bubble free; Choose from 64 sheer, opaque, shimmer, metallic, and chrome shades
$4.99
Sally Hansen - Good. Kind. Pure Vegan Nail Polish, Crystal Blue, Packaging May Vary
Sally Hansen - Good. Kind. Pure Vegan Nail Polish, Crystal Blue, Packaging May Vary
Nature in a bottle: Natural, plant-based, 100% vegan polish; Radiance that lasts: Four days of rich and earthy color per application
$6.72

For those of you who are a little more understated, classic metallics like silver, gold, bronze, and copper are the new nudes for this year. 

Look for KYDA Mirror Nail Polish in ‘Silver’, essie Nail Polish in ‘Good As Gold’, Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish in ‘Shade Game of Chromes’, and Revlon Nail Enamel in ‘Copper Penny’.

essie Nail Polish, Glossy Shine Finish, Good As Gold, 0.46 fl. oz.
essie Nail Polish, Glossy Shine Finish, Good As Gold, 0.46 fl. oz.
use with essie base coat and top coat for a long-lasting, high gloss manicure
$8.99
Sale
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish, Shade Game of Chromes 149 (Packaging May Vary)
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish, Shade Game of Chromes 149 (Packaging May Vary)
#1 no UV/LED light system; Up to 8 days of color and shine; A gorgeous manicure that lasts longer than a traditional nail polish
$6.89
Revlon Nail Enamel, Chip Resistant Nail Polish, Glossy Shine Finish, in Nude/Brown, 932 Copper Penny
Revlon Nail Enamel, Chip Resistant Nail Polish, Glossy Shine Finish, in Nude/Brown, 932 Copper Penny
Gorgeous color goes on smoothly and bubble free; Choose from 64 sheer, opaque, shimmer, metallic, and chrome shades
$7.99

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