How to prolong the shelf life of nail polishes

by Gio

nail polishes

One of the best things about nail polishes is that they don’t really go bad. Although they have a shelf-life of about two years, nail polishes contain so many solvents that bacteria won’t grow in them. These solvents, however, can evaporate causing your favourite shades to dry out and get lumpy. And once that happens, you’ll have to throw them away. There are a few simple things you can do to prolong their shelf life. Here’s how:

1. Store your bottles properly: nail polishes should be stored in a dry and cool environment. Keeping the bottle in a hot place will make the polish separate.

2. Close tightly: wipe off any polish residue on the opening of the bottle. It will ensure tight closure. And remember, never leave the cap off as that will cause the solvents to evaporate more quickly.

3. Store the bottles upright: storing the bottle in an upright position will prevent the polish from separating.

Have you got any tips on how to make nail polish last longer?

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Dao August 19, 2009 - 7:20 pm

Some of my nail polishes are not in the market anymore and I use a nail polish thinner to stretch them out. OPI makes excellent nail polishes. I have one color that’s been around the house for 7 years. It does not separate or anything!
.-= Dao´s last blog ..Hair Week and Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly, Part 1 =-.

Citrine August 19, 2009 - 10:44 pm

I have read from a magazine about storing nail polishes in the fridge so they don’t get gooey because of the heat. (I just put them in a case and store/hide them under my bed.)

You kind of confused me about storing stuff upright will “prevent them from separating”. I mean, most people who “store” nail polish would leave if upright instead of having them lying around flat anyway because the bottle are designed to stand upright (not that it prevent the pigment from settling in different height…)

I mean, as long as there is a mass (or density if it makes more sense) difference between the pigment and the base in the polish, there will be separation of the color (after you have the polish for a while, there is a metal ball inside the bottle to mix it back together anyway) and wouldn’t the separation be/look more obvious when it’s upright as there is more of a height difference from the surface of the liquid and the bottom?
.-= Citrine´s last blog ..Wet n Wild Nail Color in Jade and More Jade =-.

beautifulwithbrains August 20, 2009 - 10:57 am

Dao: I heard lots of people use a nail polish thinner but I have never tried it. My bottles are in pretty good condition as I store them properly but I may try that if they start to clump.

Citrine: I should have explained better, sorry. Sooner or later the solvents will evaporate and the pigments will separate. But storing the polishes in an upright position will prevent that from happening sooner rather than later and, once they are separated, it is easier to mix them together. Most people store them upright anyway, but that’s not always the case. My mum used to just throw her bottles in a drawer and let them lie there and they would separate pretty soon. I don’t remember which brand she was using as I was just a little kid then so maybe they just weren’t that good and that’s why the separated so soon. But personally, I’ve found that storing them upright helps.

Anastasia August 20, 2009 - 3:05 pm

=[ I only had 4. I left them on the windowsill and now they’re all pale and weird looking. ;_;
.-= Anastasia´s last blog ..Did I Mention? =-.

beautifulwithbrains August 22, 2009 - 7:28 am

That’s a shame Ana, I’m sorry 🙁 If the pigments have separated maybe a nail polish thinner can help?

Anastasia August 26, 2009 - 5:31 am

They’ve just gone all pale… >.>;

I got 10 new China Glaze and 2 OPI polishes in a sale though, so it’s good ^_^
.-= Anastasia´s last blog ..Lime Crime: So Ordinary It Should Be Illegal. =-.

beautifulwithbrains August 26, 2009 - 2:42 pm

That’s too bad 🙁 But at least now you have new ones to play with 🙂

daphne September 2, 2009 - 6:35 am

i’m not so sure abt placing polishes in the fridge. i’d think the polish would go lumpy and thick because it’s cold. think jelly.

beautifulwithbrains September 2, 2009 - 9:18 pm

Daphne, some people recommend to store polishes in the fridge, while other think it’s a bad idea. I’m not sure who’s right but in the meantime I’m storing my polishes in a drawer in my bedroom. They haven’t gone bad or anything yet. 🙂

It February 11, 2012 - 12:52 pm

Hey, good and easy tips there! Here are more tips on preventing nail polish from drying/clumping 🙂

beautifulwithbrains February 11, 2012 - 7:07 pm

It, I’m glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for sharing your tips with us. 🙂


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