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Does Nail Polish Remover Expire? 

Does Nail Polish Remover Expire? 

Ladies, we often buy cosmetic products, and most of the time, we don’t check the expiration dates until we are unsure of how long we’ve had them. I’m pretty sure you have a couple of lipsticks and mascaras peeking at you from the back of your vanity drawers, and more probably, a variety of nail polishes and a bottle of nail polish remover too!

The expiration date may have passed, but the polish remover still smells and looks okay. So the question is, to throw it out or not to throw it out? Let’s find out.

What’s in Nail Polish Remover?

The key ingredients in polish removers include acetone, ethyl acetate, and isopropyl alcohol. For anyone who just did an eye-roll at these name drops, don’t worry; I’m totally with you. 

These are the scientific terms of the ingredients in a nail polish remover. These ingredients are chemical solvents that, when combined, soften enamel (nail polish) and make it easy to wipe off.

Acetone is the main ingredient and is used in the manufacturing of nail polish and nail polish remover, among many other cosmetic products. Although it is commonly known as a manufactured chemical, did you know it can be found in the natural environment?

Plants release acetone to break down fats in their ‘bodies,’ and more interestingly, we humans do create a small amount of the chemical in our bodies too. According to Healthline, our bodies break down fats, and thus Ketones are produced. Acetone is one of those ketones that our bodies use as fuel. 

We’ve seen that acetone is not only found in laboratories, but it’s found in plants and, more shockingly, in our bodies as well. We could say that this chemical gets around but did you know that there are two types of nail polish removers? Acetone and acetone-free removers. 

What is Acetone-free Nail Polish Remover?

By definition, this is simply a remover without acetone. 

Although acetone is the main ingredient in this nail polish remover, it is known to make your natural nails weak over time. According to Brittney Boyce, a celebrity nail tech, this chemical is harsh and dries out your nails and skin. 

If you have nail extensions like gels and acrylics, using acetone removers can cause your manicure to become weak and brittle. This makes your extensions easily breakable, and obviously, they won’t last as long as you would like them to. 

For these reasons, acetone-free formulas came to be.

According to Instyle Magazine, here are a couple of amazing acetone-free nail polish removers:

● Static Nails 100% Non-Toxic Hydrating Nail Polish Remover 

● The Sign Tribe Remove and Chill Nail Polish Eraser Cream 

● Ella + Mila Unscented Soy Polish Remover 

● Olive & June Nail Polish Remover Pot 

● Cote Takeoff Towel 

The common factor among these products is seen in the scent. A lot of people would rather have a remover without the strong scent that comes with acetone. The removers will still have a chemical-like smell, but they won’t be as strong plus they are infused with oils and vitamins, which give a better scent. 

How Long Does Nail Polish Remover Last?

The obvious route to go to see whether something’s gone bad is to check the expiration date on the packaging. With nail polish remover, in particular, we mostly assume that it stays good. 

I start to get skeptical when I’ve had it for a very long time or when the pungent scent isn’t so strong anymore.

For most removers, the shelf life is two years, but research shows that removers can last way longer. When opened, a remover can last about three years, but if unopened, a remover can last more than five years. 

Although removers technically don’t expire, the strength in the formula that’s supposed to remove nail polish gradually weakens over time. 

When you’ve had a remover for a long time, you find that it doesn’t remove your nail polish as easily as it did when it was new. You end up having to use more remover on your cotton pad and sometimes even have to do more rounds of swiping and wiping off the polish. 

As you may have noticed above, there are different methods to remove your nail polish other than the ‘traditional’ way. Let’s have a look at these new innovative methods.

Types of Nail Polish Removers

▪ Nail Polish Remover Cream: 

This remover comes in the form of a cream that you apply on your nails; let it sit for 3 to 5 minutes, and then go in with your cotton pad and wipe away. Voila! The magic is done. Testers say that the formula is hydrating and not greasy. 

▪ Polish Remover Pot:

This is a little container or pot that contains an acetone-free soft foam sponge and cap. For manicures, you simply dip your finger into the pot and twist away until all your nail polish is gone. For pedicures, use the sponge on the cap to wipe off the polish on your toes. This is a great remover because it’s not only mess-free, it’s one of the few methods where you don’t need to use a cotton pad to wipe off your polish. It’s quite a game changer. 

▪ Nail Polish Remover Wipes:

These are packaged wipes that come already soaked in nail polish remover. They can be either acetone or acetone-free; the choice is yours. They are portable and easy to use. Just as you would use baby wipes to wipe your hands on the go, you can use these remover wipes to remove your nail polish wherever you are. 

These are just a few of the new ways to remove your nail polish where you don’t have to use the traditional method of liquid and cotton pads.

Does Nail Polish Remover Expire?

As they say, everything must come to an end. The life span of traditional nail polish remover may have a long lifespan, but there comes a time when it must be thrown out. 

In a nutshell, No. Nail polish remover does not expire.  For nail polish removers, it doesn’t go ‘bad’; it just doesn’t work as well as it’s supposed to. 

For these newer polish remover products in the market, you definitely have to be keen on the expiration dates. These new formulas are infused with different oils, vitamins, and other ingredients; therefore, it would be best to note the advised expiration date on the packaging. 

How Do You Tell if Your Nail Polish Remover Has Expired?

If you open your nail polish remover and the smell is not as pungent as it was when you first bought it or even after you’ve used it for a while, that means the strength in its formula has weakened. 

 Though you can still use it, it will take more effort out of you when using it.  

Also, you may notice a change in the color of your remover if it’s been with you for years and years. This, again, is because of the weakened formula, meaning its lifespan is coming to an end or has already come to. 

Is it Okay to Use Expired Nail Polish Remover?

You may be feeling lazy to run to the store to pick up a new bottle of polish remover, or it slipped your mind last time. Don’t worry, girl, pull out that old bottle and go for it. 

Using Expired Remover is not Harmful to You.

With that said, if you’ve had it for more than a couple of years, it probably won’t do you much good and will turn your manicure process into a tedious task which it shouldn’t be. You probably should throw that bottle out and get yourself a new one.