How long before a lipstick grows mold and bacteria? Not as long as you think once you consider…

tips to preventing mold and bacteria in lipstick

Multiple Choice

How long should a lipstick last before it goes bad and cattywhompus?

A. 6 Months
B. 1 Year
C. 3 Years
D. 12 Years

If you picked D, you’re way off… 🙂

Think about this for second.

Lipstick is sticky (that’s why it’s called lipstick, not cause of it’s shape 🙂

AND all lipsticks are made with at least some organic material.

We also know that floating particles stick to sticky things…

…and we know that all organic material rots.

If you want to test either of these two issues just stick some fly paper to a gallon of milk, and leave it on your counter for 20 days.

Big mess right?

The correct answer is 6 to 12 months.

Some of it depends on HOW you keep your lipstick, but honestly, at the 12 month mark, toss it. I suggest that when you open a new tube, either use a sharpie to write the month opened on the tube or extend the bullet, and etch the month in the bullet with a paper clip or something.

What makes a lipstick degrade faster?

The number 1 lipstick killer is heat.

Now look, obviously some heat is unavoidable, but steamy bathrooms, left in the car all the time, stored near the winter heater vent.. that stuff simply accelerates the break down process. No big deal, just knowing about it helps.

The number 2 lipstick killer is… GERMS.

Floating airborne junk sticks to lipstick like glue. Consider carefully if you really want to open that lipstick in a public bathroom right after you just heard Julie flush the toilet. Bacteria + heat = nasty. Like for real for real.

The number 3 lipstick killer is old age.

As bacteria grows, it grows exponentially, to mean that the more it grows.. the more, and  more it grows, which grows even more, and so forth.

How do you know when your lipstick is ready for the lipstick graveyard?

You’ll know. It smells bad, tastes bad, feel bad, looks bad.

Some tips to help you in your travels!

Store spare or bulk lipstick in the refrigerator. It works for your almond milk right? 🙂
If you really value the lipstick, don’t travel with it. Here’s a better idea. Buy yourself a load of these doodads – you can get 500 of them for $38 bucks.

lipstick doodads mold and bacteria prevention tips

Use a fresh wooden spatula or Popsicle stick (can buy at the same place) and scrap off a little of the top of the lipstick, and place it in this hinged doodad. Carry the doodad and a quality lip brush with you, like the one I had made… you can toss or clean the hinged thingy, and you can clean the brush, leaving your lipstick at home.

Invest in a cosmetic sanitizing spray or mist 70% isopropyl alcohol directly on the lipstick bullet. Won’t hurt it a bit!

The case for preservatives

No preservative SHOULD hold a lipstick stable longer than 12 months. If it does, it’s probably not something you want in your body, eww.

You also need to consider that if you bought your makeup at a drug store or even a cosmetic store, you stand a fair chance that product was 1 to 2 years old before you bought it… the life cycle of huge corporate makeup is very long (that’s why they use nasty chemicals to keep it from rotting before you buy it, which sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t… ever opened a brand new lipstick and it smelled bad from the get go?)

Certainly avoid dollar stores. Anything you find there is either an incredible knockoff OR wasn’t sold by the retailer, and was sold off cheap to the dollar store, making it even older and probably stored incorrectly in a hot warehouse someplace, gross.

Hope this got you thinking, and seriously, if you can’t remember when you bought that lipstick in your drawer, or any makeup for that matter, toss it…. better yet, trade it into us for a discount. We’ll recycle it responsibly.

Jay Harper

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