Is my lipstick growing bacteria?
January 15, 2017 2:00 AM   Subscribe

I opened a rarely-used lipstick today and noticed little bumps on the sides - they look like the bacterial colonies we used to grow on plates back in microbiology classes, hence my question.

Picture here. I've never seen this on my other lipsticks and I don't know much about makeup - is this something it commonly does, say, in warm weather, or if the chemicals start to break down?
Is it safe to eat use?
posted by Naanwhal to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total)
Lipstick is typically pigments and fats emulsified in wax. This mixture can sometimes separate, where certain components start to lose out. I think that may be the case here.
posted by julthumbscrew at 2:33 AM on January 15, 2017 [11 favorites]

julthumbscrew has it; it is the wax sweating.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:59 AM on January 15, 2017

Yeah, if it were bacterial growth, you'd expect it to be appearing where the stick had been in contact with human skin, at the tip. Here, the bumps are on the (factory-smooth)sides of the stick, which has most likely never been in contact with anything that could have inoculated it with bacteria. It's got to be the wax sweating.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 3:37 AM on January 15, 2017

Googling says to toss an opened lipstick after a year.
posted by brujita at 4:10 AM on January 15, 2017

It's probably not going to make you sick if you put it on, but he texture and application may have deteriorated. I recently threw out a couple old lipsticks that looked fine but were unusably skippy and uneven when I swatched them.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:46 AM on January 15, 2017

Thanks, that makes sense as it has been quite hot here and this lipstick is probably more than a year old!
posted by Naanwhal at 4:57 AM on January 15, 2017

Fwiw old chocolates sometime have a similar sweating/separation. They also will be fine safetywise, but have a less good texture.
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:16 AM on January 15, 2017

If I wore lipstick and saw those bumps, I'd just knock them off and keep using the lipstick.
posted by aniola at 7:40 AM on January 15, 2017

Does it smell bad? I'd use it if it does not. Especially if it is a lipstick you really like. If you are worried you can dip it in 70% alcohol and let it dry before you use it.
posted by sister nunchaku of love and mercy at 8:23 AM on January 15, 2017

You know how some old ladies have that weird lipstick on that isn't a solid colour but streaky? It just makes them look older?
Old lipstick looks like that. Toss it.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:39 AM on January 15, 2017

If you want to try to keep wearing it, you can spray it down with rubbing alcohol and wipe the top 'melty' layer off with a clean tissue. Not perfectly sanitary but I do this with some of my expensive lipsticks and get another three to six months out of them before I let them go. I know I technically shouldn't but I paid over fifty dollars for some of these!
posted by DSime at 12:20 PM on January 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

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