Learn Nail Polish Expiration Signs and Methods to Revive It

Nail Polish Expiration Signs

When you’re conscious about your gel polish and nail polish expiration, there are certain things to keep in mind to ensure they’re not expired yet. As all the polishes are not, every product contains different formulas, so factors to consider to ensure the nail polish expirarion expiration are different.

In earlier decades, nail polish expiration or formula spoilage was considered to happen in a short duration, now quality polishes are in the market which is formularized of stable compounds and take enough time to get expired.

Here, what happens often is that when you open a polish and don’t use it for a longer duration, its solvents become separate, their consistency becomes thicker, and they get clumpier. But we’ll mention some tips in the end to revive these polishes.

Certain things will tell you if certain things are expired yet or not;

Nail polish & Gel Polish Expiration Check

 1. Check Nail Polish Label

First thing you need to ensure if your polish has expired or not is to check its label. On most of the polish bottles, you see a label containing the PAO symbol on it. Like, 12m, 18m, 6m, 24m, or 36m which remains what life cycle these polishes acquire, and PAO stands for a period after opening of the polish bottles.

These polishes are tested to ensure that they provide their best for a certain duration and won’t expire. They legally claim this and authorize you to sue them if something bad happens. But, according to the label, you are responsible on your own and cannot sue after their expiration date.

 2. Examine the Color of the Polish

If your nail paint now has a different color than when you purchased it and opened it for the first time. You’ll see that the solvents and dyes of the polishes get separated and cause polish to change the color of the pigment. Consider not using it again as it is a sign of nail polish expiration. Or, if you want to revive it, go for it. 

 3. Examine the Texture & Consistency

The main changes which happen to your polish when you ensure that you cannot use them now are if;

  • Your polishes had changed the pigment color compared to when they were originally bought.
  • Pigments and solvents of the mixture are got separated.
  • The consistency has become clumpier and thicker.

If you notice such changes in your polish, these polishes do not fit the standard now and are not recommended to apply to your nails. There are two options for you in such a situation;

  • Through it away
  • Revive up your polish.

 4. Smell of The Polish

The last sign of nail polish expiration is if they smell differently. Water-based polish does not contain ethyl acetate or any other anti-microbial solution, which makes the polish free of chemical reactions. These water-based polishes undergo chemical changes due to microbial production and become useless. Similarly, strongly scented polishes smell so bad when going for the chemical reaction, which is a sign that they cannot revive them.


You cannot see the bottle’s consistency and condition through its container. To test it, do not directly apply it onto your nails but test some of it on the fake nails, and you will know if it’s expired or not.

What’s the Gel Polish & Nail Polish Expiration Date?

This is not easy to answer this question as I am already sad that each polish contains a different formula and is not the same. We cannot tell you the exact lifetime or expiration of nail polishes but can give you an idea that would be helpful to you. The best method is to keep check of the label on the bottom to never go wrong in this regard. Still, it would help if you considered polishes expired;

  1. Normal/ Regular polishes within 18-24 months.
  2. Gel Nail Polish in 24-36 months.

Unopened bottles of nail polish tend to survive virtually indefinitely; however, this is dependent on the brand of polish, and you must read the label to be certain.

How to Revive Polishes?

There are times when nail polish expiration hasn’t come, but they refuse to be good at their performance. The steps below will help you revive them in natural means for such cases.

 1. Nail Polish Shaker

If you have a nail polish shaker, attach your polish with it as the machine recommends and turn on the power for 30 seconds. Now, wait for 10 seconds and turn on the power for another 30 seconds, and you will see that your polish has been revived, and it will work until the nail polish expiration date is not confronted. 

 2. Hot Water Bowl

Fill a bowl with hot water and keep your polish bottle within it for about a minute. Now take the polish out of the hot water bowl and see it has been revived or restored or not. If it has not been done yet, do it for another minute and get your polish properties restored.

 3. A Drop of Pure Acetone

If your polish has been dried or clumpier and you think it is the exact time to get it revived, you should have pure acetone at your home. Add a drop of it to the polish bottle and no more than it. Shake the bottle well, and you will see that it has recovered its properties again.


A: The opened and well-kept versions of nail varnishes often have a shelf life of 12 to 24 months, meaning that once opened, the product must be thrown away. Keep a record of when it was first opened and then throw it away after that.
Nail polish expiration is a sign that you should give up on using that particular nail paint.
A: Nail varnish that has not been opened and has been properly stored may last anywhere from 18 months to 24 months. The nail paint may last an additional year if it’s kept in a cool, dark area beyond that time period, according to some nail techs.
A: It is recommended that opened bottles be thrown away after about two years. The polishes may last forever provided they are kept in their original packaging. When a bottle is opened, some of the ingredients evaporate, causing speedy nail polish expiration.
A: No. It’s not a good idea to store polish in the refrigerator since it might thicken. Temperature recovery after being stored in fridge conditions takes time. Today’s polish formulas and preservatives help extend the polish’s shelf life, as well. (It might cause nail polish expiration)
A: Before you use the polish, give it a good shake. If you don’t, you might find that the liquid has separated in the bottle and is now too thin to use. If you give yourself a manicure and shake the nail polish well before putting it on your nails, it should sit neatly on your nails every time. (It could reverse the process of nail polish expiration)


If you are a manicure geek, nail polish expiration can trouble you as nothing can do. So, keep the check of their expiration date and know how to revive them.

Learn the correct dates for your nail polish expiration and never apply expired versions onto your nails. Better note the nail polish expiration dates somewhere to track when their expiry is coming.

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