Does lipstick expire?

Does Lipstick Expire? How Long Does Lipstick Last?

Lipstick is more than just makeup; it’s a statement. That favorite shade you’ve used for special occasions, how often have you wondered, “Does lipstick expire?” We totally get it. When you’ve invested in a high-end lipstick, you want to use every last bit.

I once found an old lipstick, lidless but in near-perfect condition, and when compared to a newer one, the only difference was a few stray hairs. But the pressing question remains: is it still safe to wear? Holding onto old cosmetics might not always be the best choice.

Dive into this article to discover the lifespan of lip products, signs it’s time to bid them farewell, and tips to keep them fresh. Ready to explore the world of lipstick longevity? Let’s dive in!

Does Lipstick Expire?

Yes, lipstick does expire. Like many products, lipsticks contain oils, waxes, and other natural ingredients that can degrade over time.

The breakdown of these components can be due to exposure to air, moisture, or bacteria from repeated use. Additionally, environmental factors like temperature and humidity can accelerate the degradation process.

To prolong their shelf life, lipsticks often contain preservatives. Common preservatives in lipsticks include parabens, phenoxyethanol, and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT).

These ingredients are added to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, and yeast, ensuring the product remains safe to use. However, over time, the effectiveness of these preservatives can diminish.

As the active ingredients and preservatives break down, the lipstick’s ability to provide the desired color, texture, and coverage can be compromised, affecting its performance, consistency, and overall quality.

Related: How Long Does Makeup Last? A Guide to Cosmetic Shelf Life

How Long Does Lipstick Last?

According to Mayo Clinic Health System, lipstick typically lasts between 1 to 2 years from the date of opening. However, its longevity can vary based on its formulation, ingredients, and storage conditions. While some lipsticks, especially those with more natural ingredients, might have a shorter shelf life, others with specific preservatives can last closer to the 2-year mark.

Does Liquid Lipstick Expire?

Yes, liquid lipstick does expire. Due to their liquid consistency, which can be a breeding ground for bacteria, liquid lipsticks typically have a shorter shelf life compared to traditional lipsticks. On average, the estimated shelf life of liquid lipsticks is between 6 months to 1 year.

Does Lip Gloss Expire?

Yes, lip gloss does expire. Similar to liquid lipsticks, the liquid and often glossy nature of lip glosses can make them more susceptible to bacterial growth. According to the Mayo Clinic Health System, the estimated shelf life of lip gloss is between 6 months to 1 year.

Does Unused Lipstick Expire?

You might think, “I’ve never even opened this lipstick, so it’s still good, right?” Unfortunately, even unused lipsticks can go bad.

While they might last longer than those frequently used since they’re not exposed to bacteria from the lips, the ingredients can still degrade over time. As per the Mayo Clinic Health System, the estimated shelf life of unused lipsticks is between 1 to 2 years.

While your lipsticks might appear flawless even after a couple of years, it doesn’t guarantee that their protective qualities remain preserved.

Type of LipstickEstimated Shelf Life
Liquid Lipstick6 months to 1 year
Lip Gloss6 months to 1 year
Lipstick1 to 2 years

Related: Does Lip Balm Expire? How Long Does Lip Balm Last?

What Can Affect the Shelf Life of Lipstick?

While we’ve established general shelf lives for various lip products, it’s essential to understand that several factors can influence how long your lipstick truly lasts.

  • Storage Conditions: The environment where you store your lipstick plays a significant role. Lipsticks kept in cool, dry places tend to last longer. On the other hand, storing them in hot or humid areas, like a bathroom or car, can accelerate the breakdown of ingredients.
  • Exposure to Air: Every time you open your lipstick, it gets exposed to air. Over time, this can cause the product to dry out or change in texture, especially if the cap isn’t tightly secured after use.
  • Bacterial Contamination: Using dirty hands or sharing your lipstick can introduce bacteria into the product. This not only can lead to infections but also shortens the lipstick’s lifespan.
  • Frequent Usage: The more often you use your lipstick, the more it gets exposed to external factors. While it’s great to have a favorite go-to shade, remember that frequent usage might mean it won’t last as long as less-used ones in your collection.

How To Tell If Your Lipstick Has Expired?

Knowing the general shelf life of lipsticks is a good start, but it’s equally important to recognize the signs of an expired product. Here’s what to look out for:

  • Change in Texture: If your lipstick starts to feel dry, hard, or isn’t gliding on as smoothly as it once did, it might be past its prime. Conversely, if it becomes too soft or starts to melt (and it’s not due to high temperatures), that’s another sign.
  • Unusual Smell: A fresh lipstick has a mild, sometimes waxy or slightly sweet scent. If you detect a rancid or off-putting odor, it’s time to toss it.
  • Color Shift: If the color of your lipstick appears to have changed or if it applies unevenly, it could be an indication that the ingredients have started to degrade.
  • Mold or Bubbles: Any visible mold or tiny bubbles on the surface of the lipstick is a clear sign that it’s no longer safe to use.
  • Texture Separation and Moisture Beads: If your lipstick appears as though it’s sweating with visible moisture beads on its surface, it’s a strong indicator of expiration. These moisture beads often arise due to the separation of ingredients and formulas in the lipstick, signaling that the product’s consistency and quality are deteriorating.
  • Swatch Test: When swatched on the back of your hand, an expired lipstick might not spread as evenly or might appear patchy compared to when it was new.
  • Lip Reaction: If applying the lipstick causes any tingling, burning, or unusual sensations on your lips, it’s a clear indication that something’s off.
  • Packaging Changes: If the lipstick’s packaging, especially the metal part holding the lipstick, shows signs of rust or discoloration, it’s a hint that moisture might have compromised the product.
  • Beyond the Two-Year Mark: Every lipstick comes with an approximate shelf life of 2 years. If you’ve been holding onto a lipstick for longer than this period, it’s advisable to part ways with it. Using a lipstick past its prime can lead to lip irritation and inflammation. In matters of skincare and cosmetics, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.

How to Properly Store Lipstick for A Longer Shelf Life

To get the most out of your favorite lip shades, proper storage is crucial. By taking a few simple precautions, you can extend the life of your lipsticks and ensure they remain in top condition. Here’s how:

  • Cool, Dry Place: Lipsticks thrive in cool, dry environments. Avoid storing them in areas with high humidity or temperature fluctuations, like bathrooms. Instead, consider keeping them in a bedroom drawer or a makeup organizer.
  • Away from Direct Sunlight: Prolonged exposure to sunlight can degrade the ingredients in lipsticks and alter their colors. Always store them away from windows or places where they might be exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Tightly Cap After Use: Ensure that the cap is securely fastened after every use. This helps prevent air exposure, which can dry out the lipstick or introduce contaminants.
  • Upright Position: If possible, store lipsticks in an upright position. This prevents them from melting or settling into one side of the container, maintaining their shape and consistency.
  • Regular Cleaning: Occasionally wiping the outside of your lipstick tubes can prevent dust and dirt buildup. If you use a lip brush, ensure it’s cleaned regularly to avoid transferring bacteria to your lipstick.
  • Avoid Extreme Temperatures: Never leave your lipsticks in a hot car or freezer. Extreme temperatures can change the lipstick’s texture and consistency, making it less effective.
  • Apply Post-Meal Cleanliness: It’s advisable not to apply lipstick immediately after eating. Residual food particles on the lips can introduce bacteria to your lipstick. Always ensure your lips are clean before reapplying to maintain the product’s hygiene.
  • Keep It Personal: Refrain from sharing your lipstick with others. Transferring bacteria through contact with someone else’s mouth or skin can not only compromise the hygiene of your lipstick but also reduce its overall lifespan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s address some of the most common queries to give you a clearer picture about lipstick expiration.

Is it okay to use expired lipstick?

No, it’s not advisable. Using expired lipstick can lead to skin irritations, infections, or compromised makeup results due to changes in the product’s consistency and color.

Can you use lipstick after 10 years?

Definitely not. Even if the lipstick appears fine, it’s well past its safe usage period. The risk of bacterial growth and ingredient degradation is high, making it unsafe for use.

How do you know if a lipstick is expired?

Signs include changes in texture, unusual smell, color shift, presence of moisture beads, or any visible mold on the lipstick’s surface.

How long does a lipstick last you?

The duration a lipstick lasts varies based on individual usage. For someone who applies lipstick daily, it might last a few months. For occasional users, it could last much longer. However, regardless of usage frequency, it’s essential to replace lipsticks every 1 to 2 years for safety and best results.


“Does lipstick expire?” is a vital question for makeup lovers. As we’ve seen, the answer is yes. Lipsticks have a shelf life, and recognizing when they’re past their prime ensures our lips stay healthy and our makeup looks its best.

Remember to store them properly and replace when needed. It’s always a good reason to discover a new favorite shade!

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