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How To Prevent Nail Polish From Clumping

How-To: Prolong the Life of Your Nail Polish

Reaching for a bottle of nail polish only to find out that it's gone clumpy is disappointing, to say the least. The good news? Due to all of the solvents polish contains, it pretty much remains bacteria-free. However, the solvents can evaporate over time, and that's what gives you thickened polish. Bummer. Generally speaking, your nail polish should last you about one year before expiring, but I've also heard anywhere from one-and-a-half to two. So, how can you prolong the shelf life of your favorite shades? Here are some tips.

  • Air out: Each time you polish, wipe residue off the threaded portion on the top of the bottle to ensure tight closure. Tight closure is a must to prevent the polish from drying out.
  • That's not hot — Store nail polish in a cool, dry place. Warm environments can cause the color to alter and polish to separate.
  • Stand up straight — When storing, place the bottle in an upright position to prevent the pigments and solvents from separating.
  • Stay cool — Many people like to prevent clumping by refrigerating polish to preserve it, although others argue that this technique doesn't work because it changes the chemical texture of the product. I say, chill out.


Join The Conversation
bornthisway bornthisway 8 years
I didn't know nail polish expired in a year... I have nail polish that's three years old that I applied yesterday I think i'll try standing up my nail polishes though
vanitypot vanitypot 8 years
great tips! :) i used to put some of my old polish bottles near my bedroom window and realized that it was such a bad idea (haha) but my mom suggested that it's not advisable to store nail polish inside the ref since chemicals in vapor form (from the polish) might contaminate the food inside the ref too..? o_O not sure if this is true..
Angelica Angelica 8 years
Great tips! I have all my nail polish in a basket and almost none of it is standing tall. I will have to get organized!
WiCkeD_LaDy WiCkeD_LaDy 8 years
yep Bella, i refrigerate my polishes, and when they get very clumpy, i put a drop or two of non-acetone polish remover, it helps to slide faster.
pharm_chick pharm_chick 8 years
ive heard that if its too thick, you can use acetone to thin it down back to normal. i havent tried it though, but it might work!
ThePerfectScore ThePerfectScore 8 years
I've had nail polish for over 5 years that still works perfectly fine....
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Great tips!
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