Does Lipstick Expire If Unopened? Here’s What You Need to Know

Every makeup lover finds themselves to be somewhat of a hoarder when it comes to their supplies. Of the staples a beauty enthusiast can own, lipstick is essential but not always the easiest to understand in terms of shelf life. Does lipstick expire if it hasn't been opened? What should you do if the expiration date has passed long ago, but the product itself hasn’t been exposed to anything? We researched this topic so you know how long you can safely hang on to your favorite lip color.

Lipstick will eventually expire, even if it unopened. Unopened lipstick is good for two to five years, depending on the brand and ingredients. 

There is a lot to understand about this topic, especially if you tend to hand onto beauty products for a long time. Keep reading to find out about all the details!

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Colorful lipsticks on cosmetic shop, Does Lipstick Expire If Unopened? Here's What You Need to Know

Does Lipstick Expire if Unopened?

If you’re unfamiliar with how to read a product’s expiration or shelf life, all brands will have a small symbol on the package with a number indicating how many months a product is safe to use. This is usually only covers opened products as these items have been mixed with outside particles such as skin cells or dust. Sometimes this expiration will only be on the box and not the product itself.

Checking on the expirations is an additional step to your routine, but it will help prevent any unwanted reactions to your makeup. Every now and then, clear up your stash and make room for more products and trends to try out.

Why Do Lipsticks Expire?

Lipsticks expire when the components that hold it together, like parabens and oils, start to break down. If the texture or smell changes, it is time to toss.

What Can Happen From Using Expired Lipstick?

Using expired cosmetics, including lipstick, can cause illness. When the product breaks down, so does its protection against the formation of bacteria. Expired lipstick has been shown to contain Enterococcus faecalis, which is a deadly bacteria that causes meningitis, among other potentially deadly side effects. 

When Should You Throw Out Lipstick?

For an opened tube of lipstick, most cosmetic brands suggest discarding the product after one year. Yes, it’s unfortunate and painful trying to get rid of that one beautiful shade of red you wore on a few dates, but remember that these expirations help prevent any discomfort and irritation from using an old product that might have come in contact with any bacteria or other harmful irritants.

Manufacturers will test their products in different environments to determine the shelf life, and this will include heat which affects exposure to the product. Take any unfamiliar and odd odors into account as well as any perspiration as these are not normal and would not happen to a fresh product. The perspiration and smell might be a sign that there are bacteria, and this would be harmful to use.

For unopened tubes, unopened lipsticks are good for anywhere between 2-5 years depending on who you ask. Unused products can be a bit more tricky as the usability can depend on several factors like the environment the tube has been in (temperature, moisture, etc.), the ingredients, and the brand. Specifically, the oil content of a product is what needs to be considered as oil tends to separate over time. According to the FDA, natural beauty products tend to expire faster than others because there are no preservatives to extend shelf life.

What Can You Do With Old Lipstick?

Broken and old red lipstick on old wooden background.jpg

To ensure no harm will come to your lips, there are a few DIY projects you can try to repurpose your old lipstick. 

Create New Lipstick

One popular project using old lipsticks involves melting down all of the similar shades and creating an entirely new color. The combination of nudes or reds can create a new product, and this will definitely help if your lipsticks have started to separate. Keep in mind, this can help reduce the waste, but it will leave you with some excess product.

Simply remove all of the product from its tube, and place a small amount into a pan on low heat. Once all your colors are incorporated, pour the liquid into a lipstick mold, and let it cool. This can now be placed into either a new tube or a tube of your choosing.

If your lipsticks are just separating and there are no other suspicious occurrences, follow the same instructions as the previous project. Melting down the product will help to reintroduce the oil with the rest of the ingredients. Finish your lipstick rejuvenation by placing like shades into an empty makeup palette to create your own lipstick tray.

What to Do With Empty Lipstick Tubes

Using a cotton swab and disinfectant, clean out your tube. With an empty container, this can be used for stray bobby pins, matches, or small pieces of jewelry. Check out Pinterest for easy DIY projects to upcycle and hold onto your empty tubes.

How Do You Disinfect Lipstick?

For those of you who just want to be safe, there are some efficient ways to make sure your lipstick is clean and safe to use. Dr. Oz suggests placing your lipsticks in the freezer. The cold temperatures help to kill unwanted and harmful bacteria which inevitably comes in contact with your makeup. Keep the products in the freezer overnight as a precautionary measure. This method will also prevent any melting that might occur because of high temperatures that can melt down the lipstick. 

One other method that is commonly seen to fix broken pressed powders is to simply spray a disinfectant directly onto the product and dab away any contaminants, visible or not, with a gentle wipe like a tissue.

What is the Typical Life of Lipstick?

Colorful lipsticks on cosmetic shop, Does Lipstick Expire If Unopened? Here's What You Need to Know

The typical shelf life of lipstick once opened is between 6 months to a year.

Per the FDA’s recommendation, cosmetic and beauty manufacturers are not required to disclose the expiration dates of products, but it is considered the company’s responsibility to share these details with their consumers. The repetitive exposure to outside elements and fluctuation in temperature will promote the growth of harmful bacteria. Be aware of this when you keep a spare tube of lipstick in your purse.

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