How To Tell If Nail Polish Is Bad Or Expired?

Have you ever opened a nail polish bottle and thought something looked off? Some bottles don’t indicate expiration dates which might get a lot of people wondering how to tell if nail polish is bad or expired.

Well, let’s find out with me!

How To Tell If Nail Polish Is Bad Or Expired?

Nail polish can expire and depend on each brand on how long the product is usable. Nail polish can last between 18 and 24 months. Using expired nail polish will influence your set’s look, the texture of the polish, the original color will differ, and the longevity of the set.

7 nail polish bottles on a table

There are ways to determine whether your polish has gone bad and will affect your final look. The best would be to follow guidelines to keep your nail polish lasting longer in the bottle and, thus, lasting longer on your nails.

Signs That Your Nail Polish Has Expired

Luckily there are signs you can follow to test whether your nail polish has gone bad. Some might be obvious to the eye, and others might need more investigation. Either way, following these signs will give you the answer you want.

1. Label On The Nail Polish Bottle

The label might tell you how long the nail polish will last once opened. Not all brands indicate this, as nail polish can go off quicker depending on the usage and storage. Some bottles might have an engraving with a number and the letter “m” that indicates the number of months the polish will be good.

This sign might not apply to you because some nail polish bottles don’t have an expiration date.

2. Look At The Liquid Consistency

how to tell if nail polish is bad or expired

The consistency of the nail polish in the bottle can be a good indicator of how good your nail polish still is. This can vary from a little off to way beyond repair.

Way-off nail polish liquid will be sticky. When you turn the bottle upside down, the liquid will slowly walk down the sides. When this happens, it means that the nail polish has reacted with airborne particles that compromised the compilation of the polish.

The nail polish liquid separated. Finding that the nail polish has separated doesn’t always mean you cannot use it anymore. Give it a shake; if it blends easily, you can still use it. On the other hand, if it struggles to integrate, it might be time to toss it.

Nail polish is made up of natural compounds that will settle and separate when not used often. Thus, the separation of the liquid will only happen when the bottle stands too long and can still be saved by shaking the bottle.

3. Nail Polish Color Change

You know you bought that perfect color. When you open the drawer to take out the nail polish and eye the color, you suddenly understand something isn’t right. The color looks different and even dull. This can be because the polish has gone off.

If this happens and the bottle is relatively new, you might have taken a bottle that was opened in the store, or the bottle is older than you remember. Ensure the lid is sealed when you buy a nail polish bottle from the store. Usually, they have plastic wrapping, but sometimes this might not be the case.

4. The Smell Of The Nail Polish

As mentioned above, the natural compounds can separate, and these reactions can cause funny smells. The separation might not be as apparent, but the scent could be. So, when you get a funky smell from your nail polish bottle, it is time to toss it.

5. The Texture Of The Nail Polish

The dream texture of any nail polish is a smooth, thin, and shiny layer with each application. New nail polish gives this dreamy texture. However, you will notice clumps or thick and sticky textures when nail polish has gone bad. These textures will cause your nail polish to peel off or chip off easily – precisely the opposite you want from nail polish.

nail polish bottles stored on a shelf

How To Store Nail Polish Bottles?

Although there is no set time for nail polish to expire, and 18 to 24 months is quite a stretch, you should follow these guidelines to ensure your nail polish lasts until the final drop in the bottle.

1. Do Not Leave Nail Polish On Bottle Rim

One of the sneaky culprits in nail polish expiring earlier is that a drop or two of nail polish stays on the bottle’s rim after use. This happens more often than we think, as the brush gets cleared of excess paint on the edge before applying it to the nail.

After you apply your nail polish, take a lint-free wipe with acetone and wipe the rim and bottle clean. This way, you can ensure that the bottle seals thoroughly and that the polish lasts longer.

2. Shake The Bottle Often

You might not be someone who paints your nails every week, and that is okay. However, to ensure your nail polish stays fresh for longer, you can turn the bottle upside down twice, providing the liquid mixes in the bottle. You can do this once every two weeks.

3. Store Nail Polish In A Cool Place

Temperature is another element that can make or break your nail polish’s lifetime. Storing your nail polish in a warm place will lead to reactions of separation, thickening, clumping, and reaching the expiration date faster.

Instead, stay clear from keeping your nail polish in the car or your handbag that travels with you a lot. Rather, please keep it in a cool, dry place like a drawer or a cupboard.

nail polish bottles being left open

4. Keep The Nail Polish Closed Until Use

It might be tempting to open the nail polish bottle immediately to smell that new nail polish smell and see the magical texture of the nail polish. But then, close it until you use it in a few weeks. This way, your expiration timer starts ticking before you even have time to use the polish.

Keep your excitement for the first time you use the nail polish, and you will extend its lifetime.

5. Tightly Close After Use

When you finish using your nail polish and cleaning the rim, close it tightly. Some caps can screw on lopsided, leading to reactions between the liquid and air which is often called air dry, ultimately causing the nail polish to go bad.

6. Stick To The Expiry Date

Suppose your bottle has an expiry date, and you still have polish left when you reach it; throw it away. This way, you will prevent any lumps and thick or smelly polish, and it is safe to say it is time for a new bottle.

Is Expired Nail Polish Bad For You?

When nail polish goes bad or expires, it isn’t because it becomes harmful to the user. Instead, it will only influence the quality of your nail polish application and how long the polish will last on your nails.

Follow the guideline to keep your nail polish fresh for longer, and you can keep it for a year or longer. There is no aim in keeping a bottle you won’t be able to use anymore or which will influence the longevity of your nails.