Can chapstick go bad?

In this brief study, we will answer the question, “can chapstick go bad?” We will also discuss the shelf life of chapstick. Moreover, we will be discussing natural chapstick and its shelf life.

Can chapstick go bad?

Yes, chapstick can go bad after its best- by date. Chapsticks are formulations applied onto the lips to prevent drying and protect against adverse environmental factors. 

The main ingredients of lipstick are fatty acids, such as waxes, oils and butters, which provide consistency and work as emollients in the preparations. Among these, castor oil, beeswax, carnauba wax, candelilla wax, paraffin and cocoa butter are often used.(1)

 These oils and lipids, which may begin to become rancid after a year, even if you use preservatives like vitamin E to keep the substance from oxidizing, your chapstick will have an unpleasant odor once it has expired. 

It’s time to discard your balm if it has a smell or, worse still, physical signs of mold or other growths.

How to Keep Your Chapstick Fresh for a Longer Time?

Chapstick has a two-year expiration date.The best way to prolong its life is to  keep it in a cool, dry location away from direct sunlight and severe temperatures, according to the manufacturer. (2)

Can You Keep Your Chapstick in the refrigerator?

Yes, you can keep your chapstick in the refrigerator as it is similar to room temperature. These conditions are considered adequate, particularly because the functionality of the product was maintained.(4)

Do all chapsticks have the same shelf life?

Chapstick has a two-year expiration date, natural chapstick on the other hand is known for going bad faster than other chemically manufactured items.  A number of studies have begun to highlight the safety of the natural preservatives compared with synthetics. (2,3)

It was suggested that a high antimicrobial efficacy could prolong the shelf-life of products, however, synthetic preservatives have a high risk of causing adverse reactions to skin like contact dermatitis and often cause skin irritation and provoke allergy reactions. (3)

 Natural cosmetics not only provide satisfaction, as these products are free from synthetic chemicals and have relatively fewer side effects, but also supply the body with nutrients and enhance health of a person

Herbal cosmetics, also known as natural cosmetics, are the modern trend which encircles both health and beauty care. These products are experiencing more demand in the market, as nowadays most people prefer natural over chemical products.(3)

When it comes to natural chapstick, how long does it last?

The shelf life of natural chapstick is not possible to estimate, because the raw materials that these natural ingredients are sourced from are one of the main reasons for microbial contamination. Further, chapstick products can be contaminated during use.(1)

Natural chapstick is known for going bad faster than other chemically manufactured items that include a slew of preservatives for the sole goal of extending shelf life. Signs of instability such as aeration, deformation and cracking may result from inadequate preparation(4)

What are the health issues caused by bad chapstick?

Cosmetic products can be contaminated during use, the presence of high numbers of pathogens poses a serious health threat to consumers. 

Balms are often eaten away by the user and hence chapstick-associated pathogens are most likely to enter the human body through the mouth when eating or drinking. (1)

Lip balms made of low quality ingredients can harm the lips seriously. Such lip balms may dry out the lips instead of moisturizing it. Such products will gradually damage the natural color, softness and glow of the lips. (5)


In this brief study, we answered the question, “can chapstick go bad?” We also discussed the shelf life of chapstick. Moreover, we discussed natural chapstick and its shelf life.


  1. Wang, X., Şengür-Taşdemir, R., Koyuncu, İ., & Tarabara, V. V.  Lip balm drying promotes virus attachment: Characterization of lip balm coatings and XDLVO modeling. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science.(2020).
  2. ChapStick, “FAQs,” 2023. [Online]. Available:
  3. Mawazi, S.M.; Azreen Redzal, N.A.B.; Othman, N.; Alolayan, S.O. Lipsticks History, Formulations, and Production: A Narrative Review. Cosmetics. 9, 25, 2022
  4. Fernandes AR, Dario MF, Pinto CAS de O, Kaneko TM, Baby AR, Velasco MVR. Stability evaluation of organic Lip Balm. Braz J Pharm Sci [Internet]. 49(2):293–9. 2013
  5. Kokil, Suruchi & Kadu, Mayuri & Vishwasrao, Dr & Singh, Dr. . Review on Natural Lip Balm. International Journal of Research in Cosmetic Science. 5. 1. 2014

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