As a nail polish addict, I have amassed quite a collection over the years. It is my pride and joy, and occasionally needs a sort out from time to time. After having a general clear out of my dressing table and my polishes, I thought I best check the status of polishes and make sure they were all still usable.

After this sort out I was slightl shocked and horrified, so many polishes worse for wear. There was gloopy and separated polishes, and polishes which I didn’t realise how little was left in the bottles.

It made me take stock of my polishes and realise I had neglected them. What was I thinking? I am usually pretty good with taking care of my polishes but in the process of moving, I have become lazy with my polish collection maintenance. It was time to buck up my ideas and get my polish collection in order.




My polish sort out inspired me to share my own tips to maintaining what polishes you have, to keep your polish collection going.

I feel if you have spent time acquiring the polishes in the first place, you might as well get maximum longevity out of your polishes and prevent them deteriorating before your very eyes.

In this post there are loads of tips, which will stop you throwing out polishes unnecessarily, so you can keep your favourite shades for as long as possible.


Firstly, unlike other cosmetic items, nail polishes don’t have a defined shelf life. A bottle may have the jar symbol with 24 months or less as an indicator of the life of the product, but a polish, kept in the right way, can last much longer than you would think.


Bear that in mind with every polish in your own collection.  You don’t need to be as cut throat chucking polishes once the use by time has elapsed as you are with products you apply on your face and body.

Skincare and cosmetic ingredients break down quicker and bacteria can build up within the product, no one wants to use that on themselves, yuck! Nail Polish is good in that way, only the ingredients can break down after not looking after them. Stored correctly however, they can last years, even decades!

If you do find a polish looking past its best, put it to one side. Depending on the state of the polish we can then know if we can revive it. More about this later in the post.

If you want to be really organised with your polish collection, you could even make note of when you have opened nail polishes and keep them in date order. Generally I tend to store polishes in either my opened and unopened areas of my nail polish storage, as I find that works best for me.
If polishes are looked after well, they can last an extremely long time, so taking care of your collection, it is worth it in the long run.


After starting my nail polish collection, one thing I realised on the way is how you store your polishes is really key to making your polish last longer.

Generally having them out on display either in storage racks or shelving near windows or direct sunlight is a big no no! The Sun’s uv rays and light damage the polish ingredients, as clear bottles allow light to pass through them, making the formula unstable over time.


If you want to display your polishes, bear that in mind and keep them away from the light! The polishes will last alot longer if you do!

Try storing polishes in a cool (not cold) dark place, this will help keep you polishes in constant stable environment. Over exposure to extreme cold or heat will damage polishes! So forget keeping polishes in the fridge! Wherever you store them, make sure the temperature also stays reasonably constant!

Also do store your polishes upright! If a nail polish bottle lies on its side, polish can sometimes work its way around to the neck of the bottle and you may end up with a stuck lid.


I find drawers are the best storage method, especially if you are anything like me with hundreds of shades.

I find office drawers with shallow drawers are perfect for nail polish storage!


However, even if you only have a modest nail polish collection, a smaller similar way of storing it correctly can help it last a lifetime!



If you are anything like me, with hundreds of polishes, going through and sorting out my collection took a while! It can be an arduous and boring task, especially if you have as many as me! Yet after sorting through and coming across some gloopy polishes, it made me realise I hadn’t made the effort the clean down my bottles before every use.


Gloopy polishes tend to occur when air gets inside the bottle, which in turn thickens the polish making it difficult to work with and your end result is a messy manicure.

If like me, whilst doing your manicure, swipe the excess polish on the brush onto the rim of the bottle, you will probably notice with time the build up of polish around the bottle rim. In time this can build up around the bottle thread, spelling disaster, allowing air into the bottle and in turn thickens the polish within.




I find my best method of removing polish bottle buildup, especially around the rim and bottle cap threading, is by using a cotton ball soaked with acetone polish remover before beginning my manicure.


Doing so after will spoil your manicure, obviously!

But doing this every time you use a polish, you don’t use too frequently especially, will help avoid air getting into the polish and drying out the formula and ruining the polish.

I found this really helped me stop throwing polishes away haphazardly, as with little effort, this task will stop gloopy polishes developing to begin with!



If you have ever been guilty of storing polishes not upright, a stuck polish lid is a devil to remove so you cannot use your polish.

Use a couple of elastic bands wrapped around the bottle lid, it will give you enough grip to unscrew the bottle, fingers crossed! Try this next time you come across polish with a stuck lid!



If you end up with some gloopy polishes, try not throw them away if you can. They can be salvaged with the magic of nail polish thinner! Its amazing how a few drops of thinner can revitalise a thick gloopy polish.


The trick is to add a few drops at a time, depending on your gloopy polish situation and gently roll between your hands.  Also ensuring the polish is evenly mixed with a toothpick, can help the thinner get to work on thinning the formula. Repeat as necessary until you have reached your desired polish consistency!

If it is a extremely gloopy polish, leave the mixture sit for an hour and mix well and repeat previous steps until you get your polish formula back to normal!


If you are trying to revive gloopy glitter polishes, I would generally advise to give these a miss as they tend not to work as well.

But they key to using polish thinners is look at the ingredients of your polish and of your thinner and they generally will work well together if they are similar. You may manage to revive a gloopy long lost favourite if you are lucky!



WARNING: DO NOT USE NAIL POLISH REMOVER TO THIN YOUR NAIL POLISH. I have read in magazines, online and certain blogs, that adding a spot of polish remover in nail polish will thin and revive it. Yet it will thin it initially, but with time deteriorate the formula. So don’t do it!

If you are considering using thinner on a polish you haven’t used in a very long time, ensure you shake your polish really well before hand.

It may not even need thinner and just a good shake and mix to allow the pigments to combine if they appear to have settled over time.



Anyhow, I hope these polish tips help you maximise your polish collection, to get years, even decades out of your polishes!

Do you have any tips for me which help polishes last?
Any tips for polish storage and polish thinners?

Let me know in the comments.