Problem Pages

Colin Solves Your Problems 20: How Long Does Nail Polish Last?

how long does nail polish last
Is there any such number as too many nail polishes?

Will Nail Polish Last if you keep it?

It is nice to get a problem from a male for a change.  Thanks for sending this in, and thanks for the kind words.

My girlfriend is obsessed by nail polish and has amassed a considerable collection of over 400 bottles and growing.

I was concerned that she has more polish than she could ever use now, but my question is does nail polish ‘go off’ and become unusable after a period of time. It would be a shame for her collection to perish.

Love your blog. My gf passed it on as she knows I enjoy the chemistry of things. Thanks in advance.

I haven’t actually worked on nail polishes so I can’t claim to be an expert on how long a nail polish will last.  But I imagine most formulations will last for ages if unopened. I have worked on wart products which aren’t very different, and I remember trying out 20 year old samples that were still as good as the day they were made.

The trouble with them is that they are solvent based and so when you open them you are going to start losing solvent.  So they can and will dry out and solidify and become useless.  The optimum strategy would be to use one at a time.  I would think that given your girlfriend’s purchasing pattern she is probably not going to do that.

As to whether 400 bottles is too many, I am going to leave that question.  I still haven’t worked out why anybody needs more than 2 or at most 3 pairs of shoes.  That is how out of touch I am.  I think we have to accept that women have a different way of looking at this kind of thing, and if she thinks she needs that many nail polishes, well that is just the way it is.

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