Does Nail Polish Remover Expire?

Checking to see whether a product has expired or not can be challenging. Do you want to change nail colors but don't know if your polish remover is past its expiration date or if that is even possible? Well, we have done some digging and have the answer for you.

The good news is that nail polish remover doesn't technically expire. Unlike other cosmetic products, you are safe to use older nail polish remover even if it is past its given expiration date. That said, using an expired product on your nails might not be as effective as a newer one, so keep that in mind.

As we begin, we will cover all things nail polish remover and tag some helpful related products. Whether you have an old bottle of polish remover in your cabinet or are just curious, we're here to help. With that said, let's dive right into this post!

Partial view of woman removing nail polish with cotton pad isolated on beige, Does Nail Polish Remover Expire?

Can You Still Use Expired Nail Polish Remover?

For anyone debating whether they should use their expired nail polish remover, we say go for it! Even though it might not work as well as a newer option, expired nail polish remover isn't harmful to you.

Most times, older polish removers will lose their strength as they age/expire, so if anything, your product might become less irritating to your skin and nails. That said, expired nail polish remover might take longer to take the color off your nails, which might be a dealbreaker for some.

nail care, woman wiping her nails with cotton

What Happens If You Use Expired Nail Polish Remover?

As mentioned, using expired nail polish isn't going to harm you in any way. Although it might not be as potent, expired polish remover will still get the color off your nails and shouldn't have any adverse side effects.

That said, if your nail polish remover is more than a few years old, it won't do you much good, so it's better to toss it.

Does Expired Nail Polish Remover Change Color?

As your nail polish remover ages, you might start to notice a slight difference in its color/appearance. Generally, nail polish remover will begin to discolor after around two years, which indicates it is past its expiration date.

You might also notice your polish remover start to look more watered down as it ages, which is completely normal.

Does Expired Nail Polish Remover Smell Bad?

Expired nail polish remover typically won't smell unpleasant. Polish remover, in general, has a strong chemical scent, so once it expires, you might notice it doesn't smell as strong.

If your polish remover has a high percentage of acetone, it will start to become significantly less potent once it expires, which might not be a bad thing. Again, this type of product won't sour or make you sick if you use it post-expiration, so don't sweat it.

Does Acetone Expire?

Selective focus of pure acetone solution in brown glass amber bottle inside a chemistry laboratory. White background with copy space.

For those with acetone nail polish remover, it isn't going to expire. Acetone will have an indefinite shelf life if you store it properly.

That essentially means that as long as you keep your product in a climate-controlled, dark environment, it is good to use as long as you want. With that said, this only applies to nail polish removers with 100% acetone, so keep that in mind.

How Long Is Acetone's Shelf Life?

Although pure acetone lasts indefinitely, you will usually see it have a shelf life of around 36 months. Like we covered, acetone lasts a very long time if kept in ideal conditions, so shelf life isn't super important.

Furthermore, acetone-based products will usually have a slightly shorter shelf life of 18-24 months, considering the other ingredients in them might not be as long-lasting.

What Ingredients Are In Nail Polish Remover?

Typically, nail polish remover will contain isopropyl acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, and n-methyl-pyrrolidone. Now for anyone whose eyes just rolled into the back of their head, these are just the most common solvents used to make polish removing products.

Acetone is in almost all nail polish removers and works as the main ingredient, which might be why they don't technically "go bad." You will also see a bit of fragrance and nourishing oils/vitamins added into nail polish removers, which are the ingredients that tend to show signs of expiration.

Is Nail Polish Remover Toxic?

Although nail polish remover isn't necessarily dangerous, it can contain toxic ingredients. Prolonged exposure to nail polish remover can cause systematic toxicity if you breathe too much of it in, so try to use your product in an open space.

Nail polish remover can also cause blistering, allergic reactions, brittleness, and even skin cracking, so try not to overdo it. Nail polish remover is also highly flammable, so keep it away from fire/other combustible items.

Does All-Natural Nail Polish Remover Expire?

Top view floral composition female hands remove sticky layer from gel nail polish. Flat lay arrangement woman making shellac manicure herself near UV lamp, tools and bouquet of flowers on pink table.

If your nail polish remover is all-natural or vegan, it shouldn't expire either. Naturally-made polish removing products will often become ineffective as they age but won't technically go bad.

Like acetone/chemical-based polish removers, natural alternatives should last you at least two years before losing their potency. That said, this will depend on their ingredients, but in general, you shouldn't need to worry.

What Is A Non-Toxic Nail Polish Remover's Shelf Life?

Usually, you can expect a non-toxic nail polish to remover to last around one year once opened. Of course, this isn't the same for every single product, but count on your polish remover to be effective for about 12 months.

For example, Piggy Paint's non-toxic polish remover promises to last for several years, so you shouldn't need to worry about it expiring.

Piggy Paint 100% Non-Toxic Nail Polish Remover

This nail polish remover is 100% chemical and toxin-free, eco-friendly, safe for kids, and comes in a four-ounce bottle.

Follow this link to view it on Amazon.

Should I Use Acetone Nail Polish Remover?

Although it can be drying to the skin, acetone is the most effective option for removing nail polish. In its purest form, acetone will take off nail color in one application, while alternatives can take two or three tries.

If you're worried about acetone drying out your hands, we recommend finding a product that has nourishing ingredients, like vitamin E or aloe vera.

Sally Hansen Nail Polish Remover

This nail polish remover has vitamin E and chamomile to hydrate skin, is fast-acting, won't harm sensitive nails, and comes in an eight-ounce bottle.

See this nail polish remover on Amazon.

Is There A Nail Polish Remover Without Acetone?

For anyone not wanting to use acetone on their nails, there are plenty of good alternatives. Although non-acetone products will take longer to remove polish, they won't dry out your skin as much.

Brands like Ella+Mila, OPI, Cutex, and Karma Organic Beauty all make acetone-free polish removers, so you have plenty of products to choose from.

Ella+Mila Soy Nail Polish Remover

This soy nail polish remover is acetone-free, alcohol-free, vegan, has lavender essential oils, vitamins A, C, and E, and comes in a four-ounce bottle.

Check out this product on Amazon here.

Cutex Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover

This nail polish remover doesn't contain acetone, works on artificial and natural nails, has coconut oil, and comes in a 6.7-ounce bottle.

See it on Amazon here.

Do Nail Polish Remover Wipes Expire?

Young woman cleaning fingers and hands with wet wipes

Most times, nail polish removing wipes won't expire, but they can dry out. Like makeup wipes, your nail polish remover might become ineffective as it ages due to its liquid formula evaporating.

That said, as long as you seal your wipes well, they should stay usable for a while, but in general, don't expect nail polish remover wipes to last you more than six to eight months once opened.

Is Using Older Nail Polish Remover Worth It?

As long as your nail polish remover isn't more than a couple of years old, you are OK to use it. Although it might not be as effective as a newer product, there aren't any risks associated with expired polish remover, so we don't see a problem.

When it comes to being worth it, there isn't a correct answer to this, so if you want to use older polish remover, we say go for it.

To Wrap It Up

Whether you have an old bottle of nail polish remover lying around or don't remember when you bought your product, knowing if/when it expires can be difficult. Nail polish won't technically expire, but it can become less effective as it ages.

Typically, nail polish remover will stay good for a few years, although this depends on its ingredients. Acetone, if kept in ideal conditions, can last indefinitely, so we recommend it.

Regardless, make sure to check your nail polish remover for discoloration, and keep an eye out for options with vitamins and other hydrating ingredients.

Before you go, be sure to check out these helpful related nail posts below!

Can You Use Regular Nail Polish On Gel Nails?

Can You File Nails With Nail Polish On?

23 Types Of Nail Polish And Finishes

One comment

  1. Hi I found your article via Googling and I thought I’d share my recent experience as a word of caution. I have a non-acetone bottle of nail polish remover that I’ve had for ages. I garden and do a lot of hands on work often so I really don’t do my nails very often but I wanted them done for the holidays. The last few times I’ve used it my skin has gotten extremely dry afterwards but I thought it was just me.

    On Christmas Eve I struggled to get off what I had on my nails. My fingers looked weird afterwards. By Christmas Day evening I had large water blisters on 3 fingers (the ones that had the most contact with the cotton balls), a small blister on one thumb and my other fingers and thumbs look like desert parched land while my fingers look like I got into the Elmer’s School Glue like when I was a kid. 5 days later with gauze, cotton gloves and moisturizer I’m still healing.

    I’ve been doing some Googling and apparently I’m not the only person this has happened to with an old bottle of non-acetone nail polish remover. I’m just glad it was me and not my pre-teen who does her nails often. I had already purchased a new bottle because this one was low and the new one does have an expiration date. Nail polish remover isn’t expensive enough to risk this happening again. My advice would be to not risk it and get a new bottle if you can. Better safe than sorry.

    I’m looking up some of the better alternatives listed in this article now!

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