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Does Nail Polish Expire?

Bottles of multi-colored nail polishes are lined up in a straight line.
Ivanova Tanja/Shutterstock.com

If you’ve got an impressive collection of nail polishes floating around in a drawer somewhere, we’ve got some news for you. It’s time to declutter. Because while you probably knew beauty items such as mascara and moisturizer expire, you might not have known nail polishes do.

But how long can nail polishes last? They might seem pretty invincible, but they do start to degrade—it just takes a while.

On average, nail polishes can last up to two years after being opened. If you’ve got unopened bottles, they can be good for up to a whopping eight years. So, sure, these items expire, but you’ve got a lot of play time until they do.

Of course, polishes can be difficult to use up unless you’re singularly devoted to one shade. You’ll likely want to maximize just how long you can keep them. Always make sure the cap is tightly screwed on after use and keep the neck clean to prevent air from getting inside.

If you have doubts about whether or not your polish has gone bad, there are a few key signs. First, the consistency will be thick and gooey making painting difficult. There might also be dried bits in the polish as well as separated particles. Basically, if you start your manicure and a goopy, textured mess is on your nails, it’s not you, it’s the polish.

Curious about other beauty products’ expirations? Check out how to know when it’s time to through away other items. 

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is the Assignments Editor at LifeSavvy. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer with a focus on beauty and lifestyle content. Her work has appeared in Bustle, Allure, and Hello Giggles. Read Full Bio »
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