Can Lip Balms Go Bad?


Lip balms are used every day by millions of people. Some have even been around for decades. But how long do they last before you need to throw them away? Is there really an expiration date, or can they go bad at some point?

Lip balms go bad due to the ingredients present within, such as oils and fats or fragrances. Lip Balm can last from 12 months up to 3 years, depending on what’s in it! Most manufacturers add an expiration date, so make sure you check yours often for spoilage before using up your supply of adorable-scented goods.


A few years ago, my friend told me that lip balm could go bad. I thought she was crazy but kept hearing this from people and started to worry if it really is true or not, so after doing some research on Google about how long a properly stored tube of chapstick lasts before going rancid in its packaging then came across an article explaining how most companies don’t adequately label their products with expiration dates which means you never know when your favorite lotion will expire.


Can lip balm go bad?


Lip balms may last somewhere between one and five years. Logically, the longer the lip balm goes without being opened, the fresher it stays. When a lip balm is exposed to air, lips, and other environmental substances, they start deteriorating slowly and gradually.


Sometimes we become so obsessed with this one particular lip balm that we don’t want to throw them away for years. But if you have a tube in your drawer that’s lying there without getting used for months, don’t hesitate to dump it. Most lip balms are very affordable in price; therefore, there is no point in keeping them for years and risking using an unusable product.


Here is a rough estimate about how long you can use your favorite lip balms after opening them.

  1. Lip balms with SPF lose their effectiveness after a year of use.
  2. Lip balms that come in tins come in contact with your fingers, so you should discard them after one year of use.
  3. Hydrating and moisturizing lip balms have a shorter life than protective ones. They are not good for use after one year.


Do Lip Balms Expire? What do expired mean?


Imagine you scanned an old bag of yours and found out a long-lost lip balm that you were so sure you had lost. Obviously, the very first thing you’d do is to open it to try it out instantly.

But, if I were you, I would wait. Even though you have a strong urge to use your long-lost lip balm to be able to go back to the time when you’d use it daily, you should really reconsider that maybe your lip balm might be expired cause lip balms can and do expire!

Before using it again, you need to ensure that it is still fit for use. Obviously, the first one would do to check the expiry date printed on the packaging by the manufacturers, but the chances are that it may have been rubbed off after spending so much time in your bag.


But how to ensure that you do not use a harmful product if the expiration date has been rubbed off from the label?


The best and probably the only thing I recommend to do is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.


We see that Burt’s Bees and ChapStik both recommend throwing their products after one year of use. The difference in the expiration dates of lip balms may be because of certain ingredients present in them. For example, the presence of sunscreens and skin protectants such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide minimize the shelf-life of lip balms. Products that contain fragrance also expire soon because of the breakdown of these fragrance oils.


An expired product will not give the desired results, and it may or may cause harm to the user.


How long does lip balm stay good?


Lip Balms typically have an expiration date between 18 months and three years after purchase- so if your favorite chapstick has been in storage for over two years, it’s probably best to chuck it in the trash. When buying a new lip balm, the most important thing to remember is that not all brands are made equal.

The most important thing to note is that you should always store your lip balms in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight or heat. If they’re not stored properly, they will get too hot and start to melt away faster than normal.

This may sound like common sense, but I’ve seen people leave their chapsticks on windowsills before without realizing what was happening. You also need to look at the ingredients for each product because some ingredients break down over time more quickly than others, which affects their lifespan.


If you are using lip balms that do not contain SPF, you can identify the freshness of a lip balm by its smell and appearance. Sometimes fungus and bacteria may grow on the surface of an old lip balm.


The expiry date present on a lip balm containing SPF suggests the date until the SPF remains effective. If you don’t know when a lip balm will expire and its expiration date has rubbed off from the label, you need to toss it out if it’s with you for more than six months.


When should you throw out lip balm?


Lip balms are inexpensive, and it is better to replace them regularly instead of risking using (in some cases) moldy lip balm. The shelf life of lip balms often depends on when you open their seal and start using them. But if you forget to mark it or you do not remember exactly when you opened your lip balm, you don’t need to worry.


A sniff test is one of the most effective and easy tests for beauty products. If your lip balm has developed a different or unpleasant smell, or it’s giving a weird flavor when you apply it, you must get rid of it.


However, some natural lip balms will not develop an unpleasant smell. In this case, you can use them until they undergo any obvious change in their color, appearance, or texture.


Can bacteria or mold grow in a lip balm?


To extend the shelf life of a lip balm, it is essential to keep it in an airtight container or tube. Many lip balm containers do not close perfectly. In this case, the lip balm may absorb humidity from the air and catch the molds and germs present.


In this situation, the lip balm may appear moldy on the top. However, you don’t need to discard the whole product. Carefully remove the upper layers of the lip balm, which have moldy patches. If the rest of the product appears perfect, you can still use it.


Lip balms are oil-based products, and they are less likely to develop bacterial contamination. Bacteria need a proper amount of water in their surroundings to grow, which is not available to them in oil-based products.


Does Organic Lip Balm Expire?


We all prefer buying organic lip balms because they contain pure ingredients extracted from herbs, flowers, and foods. However, we should expect them to go bad even faster than products containing chemicals. Organic lip balms and other beauty products do not contain preservatives such as parabens to extend their shelf life.


Therefore to make sure you use an organic product before it gets expires, you need to check with the manufacturer or company. Most organic face and body care companies declare that their products expire after 12 months of opening the pack. In this case, you must note down the date you opened your lip balm on its tube with a permanent marker.


However, it is essential to know that an organic product may go bad earlier than expected due to two reasons;

  1. Absence of natural preservatives or antibiotics such as honey or turmeric. The presence of natural preservatives in a lip balm will delay microorganisms’ growth, thus keeping it usable for a longer period.
  2. The care with which you keep the product. For example, a lip balm that you keep in your car will expire earlier than the ones sitting in your dresser due to exposure to excessive heat.
  3. Lip balms that come in tins are likely to expire quickly because of the microorganisms present in our fingers

What can you do with old lip balm?

If you don’t want to waste your expired and broken make-up and skin-care products, you need to be creative. For example, if you have an old lip balm that you can no longer use on your lips, you can rub it on the hard skin of your feet to make it softer. It will also help prevent blisters if you rub them before wearing shoes.
You can also use them to clean your cuticles and make them soft and supple. An old expired lip balm can fix a stuck zipper and give shine to your shoes.


Does a lip balm expire if unopened?


Yes, Since lip balms are mainly composed of oils and fats, they can become rancid after a certain time. Even if it contains antioxidants like Vitamin E, a lip balm will develop an unpleasant smell upon expiration. Oxidized fats can host bacteria also which may cause swelling of lips and surrounding skin.


Does homemade lip balm need preservatives?


You can not add chemical preservatives to a lip balm if you claim it as “natural” or “organic.” As there is no water in a lip balm, you should not need to add a preservative. The lip balm will last as long as the oils in it do not oxidize.


Is it ok to use an expired Lip Balm?

Cosmetics that are applied to eyes and lips are susceptible to enter our body very quickly. Therefore, you should not use any lip balm beyond its expiration date.


You may not have any negative side effects from using an expired lip balm. However, it will lose its efficiency, and you will feel it different from the time when it was new.


Using a lip balm with bacteria or molds may cause swelling, itchiness, and discomfort in lips and their surrounding area. Sharing a lip balm with other people increases the chance of getting different infections.


The Final Verdict:


You can easily detect when an oil-based lip balm goes bad. It develops an unpleasant odor, and the texture will also change. Why would anyone want to apply a product that smells bad on their lips?
Similarly, if the lip balm gets contaminated with fungus, mold, and bacteria, you can also detect it by its altered appearance.


If you can not see any obvious deterioration even after the expiration date is passed, you should discard the lip balm. You must not use any lip balm for more than a year in any case.

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