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When do nail products expire?

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Question: In my country, nail polishes and UV gels have expiration dates; and many colleagues claim that you should discard your products when they reached them. However, I know that in other countries, the expiration date is related to the day the product is actually opened. Do you have any comments about this? When do nail products expire?

Answer: In the EU and the UK Cosmetic Regulations require that there is a time limit ‘from the time of opening’. It is an image of a pot with an open lid with a number on it. This denotes the number of months in which it should be used.

Almost all nail coatings do not support any pathogens to survive in them. So, from a safety point of view, they are OK to use. However, time can affect performance. Usually with regard to evaporation, if the product includes solvents OR settlement of pigment, so requiring a lot of mixing/shaking, etc.

There could be an insurance issue, though. If a client should develop an unwanted reaction and claims against you, if it can be proven that the time limit from opening has been exceeded, an insurer may not support the claim.
It is most definitely from the time of opening and not a general ‘use by’. If you are in any doubt, check with your insurers. But they will almost definitely support the ‘time of opening’ advice. 

In my opinion, most nail coatings are safe to use for a long time from the time of opening. But…..insurers may have a different opinion. Many nail pros make a note on the bottle/product when it was opened to make sure they are doing their due diligence.

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