Does Nail Polish Expire Or Does It Last Forever?

Nail polish is a great way to add some shine to your nails. But does it expire?

The short answer is yes. Most nail polishes will expire and become unsafe to use after about two to three years.

Here’s what you need to know about nail polish, including whether it expires, how to tell if it has expired, and how to make it last longer.

Does nail polish expire?

Yes, nail polish does expire.

The expiration date of nail polish is usually 2-3 years from the manufacture date. After the expiration date, nail polish will start to deteriorate and can cause harm if used.

Why does nail polish expire you may ask? Nail polish expires because it contains several chemicals such as formaldehyde, toluene, and camphor which become toxic after a certain period.

SEE: How Long Do Nail Polish Last On Your Nails?

Where is the expiration date on nail polish?

The expiration date on a bottle of nail polish is usually printed on the back of the bottle, or sometimes on the bottom. The date is usually printed in small letters and numbers and is usually easy to find.

If your nail polish doesn’t have an expiration date, check the bottle for the best-before date. If you can’t find the expiration date or the best-before date, it’s probably because the polish is old and you should throw it away.

How long does nail polish last once opened?

Once opened, nail polish will last for approximately three years, depending on how you store it. After that, the quality of the polish will start to decline and it will become less effective.

The best way to make sure your nail polish lasts as long as possible is to store it in a cool, dry place. You should also make sure to close the lid tightly after every use.

SEE: How to Remove Gel Nail Polish From Nails

Is it okay to use expired nail polish?

The short answer is no.

It might seem like expired nail polish would be fine to use, but there are a few reasons why you shouldn’t. For one, the formula of the nail polish can change over time, which can make it less effective.

Additionally, expired nail polish can be more difficult to apply and can result in an uneven finish. Finally, using expired nail polish may increase your risk of developing an infection and even skin cancer.

How can you tell if nail polish is expired?

Check the expiration date

The best way to tell if a bottle of nail polish has expired is by looking at its expiration date. If the expiration date has passed, then you can be sure that your nail polish has expired.

Look at the color

If there’s no expiration date on the bottle, then look at the color of your nail polish. If it’s faded or yellowed, then it’s probably already expired due to oxidation (reaction between oxygen and pigment).

Smell the polish

Another way of telling if your nail polish has passed its expiration date is by smelling it. If there’s a foul or metallic smell coming from the bottle, then your nail polish is probably expired.

Examine the texture

If your nail polish looks muddy or splotchy, it’s past its prime. Discard the polish and go to your nearest convenience store for a new bottle.

Check the brush

Another way to tell if your polish has expired is if the brush is dry and brittle. In some cases, the brush may even have some missing bristles. If this happens, it’s probably time for a new bottle of polish.

SEE: Is Nail Polish Bad For Your Nails?

How can you make nail polish last longer?

Store in a cool place

Direct sunlight and heat can make a polish more susceptible to degradation. This is especially true if you leave your polish beside a window or on a kitchen counter.

Keep away from moisture

Make sure to keep your nail polish away from moisture sources, as they can cause the polish to become ineffective over time. If you have to keep your nail polish in a humid place such as your bathroom sink, make sure to put it in a water-resistant bag.

Close the lid when not in use

If you leave your polish’s lid open when not in use, air bubbles can form inside the nail polish, causing clumping or discoloration. If this happens, try shaking the bottle vigorously before using it again.

Stir your nail polish often

To make your nail polish last as long as possible, you should stir it often. This will help to prevent the pigments from settling and will keep the color consistent.

Invest in nail polish thinners

If you notice that your polish is thickening or drying out, add a few drops of nail polish thinner to restore it to its original consistency. Nail polish thinners are very affordable and you can find them in most nail salons and beauty supply stores.

Keep it clean

If you want your nail polish to last, you need to keep it clean. Here’s how to do that:

  • Wipe off the top of the bottle with a cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover before each use. This will remove any dirt or oil that has accumulated on the bottle.
  • Don’t allow the brush to touch anything but your nails when you’re applying polish. If the brush gets contaminated with germs, it can transfer those germs to the polish and cause degradation.
  • After each use, clean the brush with nail polish remover and then place it back in the bottle. This will help to keep the polish from drying out and prevent brush hairs from getting into the bottle.

By following these simple tips, you can help to ensure that your nail polish lasts as long as possible.

Should you keep nail polish in the fridge?

No, you shouldn’t.

Many people believe that storing nail polish in the fridge will prolong its life. But there is no scientific evidence to support this claim; in fact, the opposite may be true.

The cold temperature in the fridge can cause the polish to thicken and become difficult to apply. It can also cause the polish to lose its shine and become dull. If you must store your polish in the fridge, be sure to bring it to room temperature before using it.

SEE: Get Your Ultimate Professional Finish With the Best Nail Lamp


does nail polish expire

Can nail polish cause brittle nails?

Yes, it can.

Nail polish consists of several chemicals, including solvents, resins, and pigments, which can cause brittle nails over time. Nail polish can also cause other health risks, such as cancer if applied frequently over many years.

Should you apply a top coat before or after nail polish?

Apply your top coat after nail polish.

A top coat is like a sealant that protects your nail polish from chipping and cracking. It also keeps the color on your nails longer and adds a shiny finish.

Can old nail polish give you fungus?

Yes, it can.

Fungi can thrive in dark, moist environments—like the bottom of an old nail polish bottle. When you apply nail polish that has been contaminated with fungus, you’re essentially giving the fungus a direct route into your body.

The fungal spores can then infect your nails and skin, leading to problems like nail fungus, athlete’s foot, and even skin infections. To avoid this, simply throw out any old nail polish that you no longer use.

Can biotin supplements make your nails stronger?

Yes, they can.

Biotin is an essential nutrient that your body needs to produce healthy nails, skin, and hair. In moderate amounts, biotin supplements will help strengthen and nourish your nails while they’re growing.


Nail polish is a mixture of chemicals that will eventually expire after 2-3 years. If you notice that your nail polish has expired, it’s time to toss the polish and buy a new one.

If your nail polish hasn’t expired, you can make it last longer by storing it properly and diluting it with nail polish thinners. You can also make your nail polish last longer by keeping it clean, stirring it often, and closing the lid tightly when not in use.

With proper care, your nail polish will give you beautiful manicures for a very long time.

Thanks for reading.

Nail polish does expire. Visit Africana Fashion for more information on nail polish.