How Long Do Nail Polish Bottles Last? (Checked)

A bottle of nail polish can contain 8ml to 12ml of product, depending on the brand.

If you wear nail polish often, then you would find yourself quickly using up one bottle and buying a new one. If you only wear nail polish occasionally, a bottle can last for a year or two.

Depending on how often you apply nail polish, a bottle can last only for a few months or up to a couple of years.

Here is How Long a Bottle of Nail Polish Lasts:

When unopened, a bottle of nail polish can last for 5 to 8 years. An unopened bottle of nail polish has a long shelf life. When opened, it can last for up to 2 years, depending on how frequently you apply nail polish and how much product you use for each application.

How Many Times Can You Paint Your Nails With One Bottle Of Nail Polish?

Some brands of nail polish have 8ml of product per bottle, while others have up to 14ml of product per bottle.

On average, one bottle of nail polish can give you more than 100 coats of the product.

The number of times you can paint your nails with one bottle of nail polish depends on how many coats you apply for every application.

On average, one manicure with three coats can use roughly 0.25ml of nail polish. This means you use up 0.25ml to apply three coats of nail polish for each of your fingers.

Given these numbers, you can paint your nails a total of 32 times with one 8ml bottle of nail polish and 56 times if it is a 14ml bottle.

These numbers can still vary depending on how long your nails are. Of course, if you have long nails, you use more.

How Long Does Nail Polish Last in the Bottle?

In general, nail polish has a long shelf life if you have not opened the bottle yet.

An unopened bottle of nail polish can last for 5 to 8 years. Meanwhile, an opened bottle of nail polish has a shorter shelf life.

Nail polish has a shorter shelf life when the bottle has been opened because, upon opening, some of the ingredients tend to evaporate. This will cause the nail polish to thicken and eventually solidify.

If this happens to your nail polish just a couple of months after opening it, you can add a few drops of acetone or nail polish remover to make it thinner and more usable.

Nail polish can last up to 2 years in the bottle when the bottle has been opened. However, it can still vary from one brand to another.

If you want to know the actual shelf life of your nail polish, then you have to check the label for its PAO, which refers to the “period after opening.”

The PAO of nail polish is indicated either on the bottle itself or another part of its packaging. The PAO symbol looks like an opened can that contains a number and a letter.

The number and the letter correspond to the product’s shelf life after you open the bottle.

If the PAO of your nail polish indicates 12M, you should throw it out 12 months after opening. If it says 18M, then it needs to be discarded 18 months after opening.

So, it would be best to always note when you first opened the product.

Can You Use Nail Polish That Is Several Years Old?

Not all brands and types of nail polish are the same, so there is no absolute rule that says when to stop using your nail polish.

The US Food and Drug Administration FDA has no designated shelf life for nail polishes. It varies from one brand or manufacturer to another.

The rule is that you can still use a nail polish that is several years old if it has not gone bad.

Nail polish can be used even if they are more than two years old as long as the product generally looks okay to use. There are some ways to tell if the nail polish has gone bad, which brings us to the next part.

How Can You Tell If Nail Polish has Gone Bad?

Unlike other cosmetics and beauty products, it is pretty easy to tell if your nail polish is past its shelf life.

Here are two ways to tell if nail polish has gone bad:

Check the Appearance of the Nail Polish:

This is very easy for most nail polish types as they usually come in a transparent bottle. If the product is separating or has become thick, then it has gone bad, and you can throw it in the trash.

Open the bottle, and once you do, you will see some product sticking to the brush. Check its consistency. It is time to discard it if it is thick, clumpy, or dry.

Check the color of the nail polish. When nail polish has been stored away for a long time, the pigments in it tend to separate from the mixture, and this will cause some discoloration.

If the color of your nail polish is different from when you first opened it, then it has gone bad.

Smell the Nail Polish:

All nail polishes, regardless of the brand, have the same smell. This is because all nail polishes are made up of the same ingredients.

So if you want to check if your nail polish has gone bad, smell it. If it has an unusual smell, it is time to throw it in the trash.

For gel nail polish that comes in opaque bottles, it is hard to tell if it is past its shelf life just by looking at it. So the best way to check if gel nail polish has gone bad is by smelling it.

This nail polish will have a pungent smell if it exceeds its shelf life. And if this happens, then you need to stop using it and dispose of it.

When Should You Throw Out Old Nail Polish?

Nail polishes are different from other cosmetics and beauty products. If you use other cosmetics when it is past their shelf life, you can get skin irritation or allergic reactions.

Nail polishes do not work like that. When you use nail polish past its shelf life, you will not have any allergic reactions, but this does not mean you can keep old nail polish.

If you have old nail polish lying around and you see that it has become thick, clumpy, and dry, you should throw it out.

This is because once your nail polish has become thick, you can no longer use it. You can no longer apply it smoothly and seamlessly on your nails.

You can still try to revive it by adding a few drops of acetone or nail polish remover to make the consistency thinner. But if this does not work, it is time to throw it out.

Old nail polish can become so thick that you cannot open the bottle anymore. This is because the polish has solidified to the point that the brush and lid have gotten stuck.

It is easy to tell if you can still use your nail polish or not. As long as it has a nice and smooth liquid consistency, with no unpleasant or unusual smell, then it is perfectly fine to use it.


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