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Q. How long does cold sore virus live in liquid lipstick?

Answered by
Dr. Suneetha B S
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Mar 01, 2020

Hi doctor,

I was just wondering how long germs would live on in a liquid lipstick? Around five weeks ago I had a vomiting bug, most likely gastro. I went out on Saturday night and wore a liquid lipstick, and was sick on Sunday. Will these germs still be living in the liquid lipstick and make me sick again or will they have died. Also, if I shared my liquid lipstick with someone who potentially had a cold sore, I am not sure if they get them or not, would those germs live in the liquid lipstick?

Dr. Suneetha B S

Diabetology Microbiology Nutritionist


Welcome to

I understand your concern. There is exactly not much research done on how long bacteria or viruses could survive in a liquid lipstick. If you have had a gastrointestinal infection, and if your lipstick came in contact with your saliva, the microbes could have gone into the lipstick. How long they survive in the lipstick, and how fast they multiply, largely depends on what kind of chemicals were used in the making of the lipstick. Moreover, different microbes need different kinds of growth environment, so it is hard to comment on that. I would advise you to avoid using cosmetics when you are sick.

Regarding sharing of your lipstick, it is never a great idea to share your cosmetics with others. Cosmetics should be used as personal items, just like you would use your toothbrush. Sharing cosmetics can lead to the spread of skin infections. If you think you have shared cosmetics with someone you think might have some kind of infection, I would advise you to dispose it, and buy something new.

I hope this helps.

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