Have you ever had a bottle of nail polish for a very long time and wondered if it was still good to use?.
Now in this article, we will answer all your questions related to nail polish’s actual lifespan and expiration details.
Does Nail Polish & Gel Polish Expire
Yes, once the bottle of both nail polish and gel polish is open they can expire.
But it’s important to understand that there are many kinds of nail polishes with each having a different chemical formula.
And because of this, I generally recommend that you check your nail polishes’ labels to accurately ascertain details about their expiration date.
Now, most nail polishes don’t expire or go bad like how expiration or spoilage is conventionally thought of.
What Happens to Nail Polish When it is Expired
The main problem that all nail polishes have is that their mixture tends to settle and separate if they have not been used for a long time.
Once the nail polish mixture has been separated it’s harder for it to return to its original state and color.
What’s the Expiration Date of Nail Polish & Gel Polish
On average most brands of opened bottles of Regular Polishes expire after 18-24 months. And opened bottles of Gel Nail Polishes expire after 24-36 months.
But Unopened bottles of nail polish tend to last almost indefinitely, once again this depends on the brand of polish and you need to read your label to be 100 percent certain.
Now this is a tricky question because every nail polish will have its own distinct combination of ingredients and thus each will have varying guidelines on its expiry dates.
Our best advice is that you check your nail polish label to know what they recommend.
These are averages and to be exact you need to check your polish’s label.
How to Tell if Your Nail Polish has Gone Bad or Expired
1- Check the Labels
The safest way to know if your polish is safe to use is to check its label.
Most polishes would have a PAO symbol on it, like 12m, 18m, or 24m, the m stands for months and the number represents the number of months.
Now if it’s 18m it means that your polish is tested safe to use 18 months after opening the bottle.
These numbers represent how long the polish has been tested to be safe to use after being opened, they are the nail companies’ way of legally covering against possible lawsuits.
What they are telling you is that if you use the polish after the stated period of time on the label that they bear no legal risks.
So if you plan to go against the label’s direction, just know that you won’t be able to sue that company if something went wrong.
2- Look at the Color of the Polish
Now if your nail polish has a different color than when it was originally bought, you should consider throwing it away or if you have the time try to revive it.
What happens is that if your polish has been stored away for a long time the dyes in the polish tend to separate from the mixture and this causes the polish to have an uneven coloration.
3- Examine the texture & Consistency
If you notice that your polish is clumpy and thicker than usual this is a clear sign that the polish is no longer up to standard.
A clumpy and thick polish makes the polish much harder to be applied.
But you can fix the lack of consistency, gonna walk you through how in the next section.
How to Tell If Gel Polishes have Gone Bad
Gel polishes since they are stored in opaque bottles you are not gonna be able to tell if the color and texture are different from just looking.
Instead, try applying some of the polish on a fake nail to test the color and texture.
4- How the Polish Smells
The last sign that your polish has gone bad, is if it has an extremely pungent scent, that is completely different from how it usually smells.
I have never had this problem before but it is a possibility.
A strong scent could either signal:
1- A bacterial growth that can happen in water base polishes and gel polishes since these polishes don’t have large amounts of ethyl acetate which is an antimicrobial solution.
2- A Chemical Reaction: this can happen if the polishes formula got contaminated leading to a reaction that created a strong scent.
If your nail polishes have a foul scent I advocate throwing it away these polishes cannot be revived.
What happens if you use expired nail polish
If you use expired nail polish it can lead to:
- Very poor and low-quality manicures or pedicures with a faded and weak appearance
- Your manicures or pedicures not lasting very long and will be prone to peeling.
- Your nails becoming irritated and can lead to a reaction.
The effects will depend on how bad the nail polish has gone.
Citations and References used in this Post