Does Nail Polish Expire? Everything You Need to Know Before Your Next At-Home Manicure

This is your friendly reminder to throw out that old bottle of Ballet Slippers, and buy yourself a new one.

Search through any woman's bathroom drawers, and you're bound to find at least a handful of nail polish bottles. Some of them may look fresh as daisies, and others will have you questioning when they were last used.

If you were to go through my bag of nail polish, you'd find quite an interesting evolution: Neon colors from my middle school days, black nail polish that my mother begged me not to buy, and a rainbow of pink shades.

Nail Polish Bottles
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We're all guilty of holding onto our favorite nail polish shades, just like our makeup collections, for a bit longer than we should. But how long is too long? Does nail polish have an expiration date? Amy Ling Lin, the founder of Sundays, a non-toxic nail care brand focused on wellness, offered the scoop on when we should toss our old polish bottles.

Like most products, the expiration will depend on when the polish is opened. "The shelf life of an unopened polish can last up to 5-8 years, and after opening the polishes last up to two years," Ling Lin says. Forgetting to screw on the top tightly or exposing your bottles to veritable temperatures can also speed up the expiration process.

Nail Polish Bottles
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"Over time the polish will thicken, which can make it challenging to apply," she says. "Make sure to tighten the lid and clean the neck of the polish bottle to prevent air from coming into the bottle."

The texture of your nail polish will be a major indicator to whether it's seen better days. Particles and dried out liquid, or a gooey, thick texture can all be signs that a polish may be past it's expiry.

With so many varying formulas on the market now, it's always best to check the label of your polish for the exact lifespan recommended by the manufacturer. Some polishes made with clean ingredients often have less preservatives, so the shelf life may be slightly shorter, Ling Lin says.

I know I'm long overdue to go through my excessive collection of colors, but at least I can look forward to a nail polish shopping spree after my clean out.

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