7 Signs It's Time To Throw Away Your Nail Polish

by Lindsey Rose Black

There's no greater simple luxury than giving yourself a fresh manicure with your favorite nail polish. But if that bottle has been on your shelf for a while, you might be overlooking all the signs it's time to throw away your nail polish. Remember, if you're totally emotionally attached to a particular shade, you can always just buy more!

The first love affair I had with one particular polish started just over two years ago. It was a bottle of Chanel's Le Vernis Nail Colour in Orange, and the first polish I had really ever splurged on. I used it more or less nonstop for the next six months, and one day, arrived at the tragic discovery I was running out. I added a polish thinner to try and extend the life of my dear polish and that helped for awhile. But eventually, I was dealing with more thinner than color and knew it was time to let go of my sweet Chanel.

I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a tear or two, but tossing that polish forced me to eye my other ones. I was shocked to discover how many goopy, slightly separated bottles were cluttering my shelves. If you've never taken the time to go through your polish stash, set aside a few minutes today to see if any need to be tossed.

Here's what to look out for (and some new nail polish you should treat yourself to instead!):

1. Polish That Doesn't Blend Easily

'Silk Watercolor' Sheer Color, $8, Essie

According to Seventeen, polish should last for up to two years once opened, but if it's still separated and "won't blend after a quick shake," toss it.

2. Polish That's "Crumbly"

NailsInc NailKale, $15, Amazon

If you didn't screw the cap on well enough after your last mani, the solvents in your polish can evaporate and leave you with a bottle of semi-crumbly dried out polish that no amount of thinner can save.

3. Polish Thinned With Polish Remover

OPI Nail Lacquer Thinner, $10, Amazon

Some sites will claim you can thin your old polish with remover, but beauty master Michelle Phan stands in opposition. She warned, "Many removers contain acetone that can break down the formula of your lacquer and actually ruin it." Use legit polish thinner instead!

4. Polish That Won't Open

NailsInc Wave Magnetic Polish, $30, Amazon

Seriously, if you left the bottle on its side and hot water and polish remover won't get the cap to budge, just let it go.

5. Polish You Keep "Just Because"

Butter London High Tea Nail Lacquer, $9, Amazon

Clutter is the enemy. If you've got shades lying around that you haven't used in years, are you ever really going to use them at all?

6. Glitter Polish That's "Globby"

Formula X Transformers Top Coat, $17, Amazon

Yes, glitter polish tends to be a little goopier than its less sparkly counterparts, but it needs to hit the trash if it's especially thick and un-spreadable.

7. Too Many Polishes Of The Same Shade

Formula X Customizable Collection, $10, Sephora

Do you really need Black, Blackest Black, Deepest Onyx, Midnight Moon, and Forever Noir all on your shelf? Zero judgement if you're just absolutely obsessed with one nail color, but consider giving a few away if you've accumulated a million bottles of the same shade. If you like having a bunch of colors to choose from, splurge on a new kit, like one from Formula X.

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Images: Foundry; Courtesy of Brands