How long does it take to finish: a lipstick?

I've often wondered how long it takes to finish various makeup items - lipsticks, glosses, foundations etc. I know I'll likely never finish a blush, but what happens if I use the same blush every day for a month (shock horror)? And what about skincare? I think it takes around six weeks to finish a 15ml face cream (used once a day), but that's just an educated guess and I've never timed it properly.

So I thought I'd do a series of posts on how long it takes to finish things, and I'm starting with a lipstick.

Birchbox actually looked into this (see their post here) and concluded that the average number of swipes in a tube of lipstick is 293. That means, if you applied your lipstick three times per day, every day, you would run out just past the three month mark.

However, the wonderful Robyn from Brightest Bulb in the Box performed a more accurate test and concluded that Birchbox's estimate was too low. Her test suggested that you use an average of 0.008g per application, so to estimate how many applications are in a tube, you take the mass of product in grams and divide that number by 0.008. So, for the 3.8g ModelCo lipstick I'm using as my test case, I'm looking at 475 swipes. A fair few!

See below the ModelCo lipstick in Splendourful I'm using. I decided at the beginning of October that I was going to start this series, so I've dragged up an old photo from when I'd only recently opened it - that way you can see where the tip started.

Wrist swatch

And here's another photo, after a solid week of use:

Doesn't look like much of a dent, does it?! 

However, in the next shot, I've placed another ModelCo lipstick beside it in a different shade (Coachella Crush), which I happily picked up from the Facebook Bellabox Swap group. I've only used the latter shade about five times, so we can use it as a measuring stick to see the difference in Splendourful as the weeks pass.

This month I will also be able to look at how long a 30ml bottle of foundation lasts (post coming soon), since I started using my little-used bottle of Revlon's Nearly Naked Liquid Foundation at the start of the month and we can track the progress of that too. I will then pick a couple of different beauty products each month or so, and we can look at different items in turn. On that, if there's any particular product you've been wondering about, please do note it in the comments and I'll pop it on my list to test : )

A few things to say from the outset:
  • I reapply lipstick/gloss A LOT (I have super dry lips and also drink heaps of tea, meaning there's a lot of transferring happening throughout the day), so for lasses who only reapply a few times a day, you would likely need to at least double the results to get an accurate reflection of how long you might take to get through a lipstick. This will be different for other products (like face creams etc), where our results might be more similar.
  • No dedicated beauty junkie wants to wear the same shade of lipstick every day, so this will be a challenge! However, with a shade like Splendourful, I often apply a pale gloss over the top (or a pink one, so the result is more coral), which means I can at least mix up my daily look and not drive myself too nuts during this process. 
  • I will not force myself to wear orange lipstick each time I go out to see friends and would prefer to reach for a nude colour or a crazy purple shade (a current favourite); but on those days I will wear Splendourful during the day and then switch shades at night, so I'll still be using it every day.
  • If it gets to November and I CANNOT BEAR to keep wearing the same lipstick every day, I will take out a ruler and measure how much is gone, as compared to Coachella Crush. That way we can calculate how long it would take me to finish the entire tube.

That's all. Wish me luck! I can't wait to see how this lipstick is looking at the end of the month!


Well, we've almost hit the end of October and I decided it was time to tail off this test. While there's still a few days for me to use my test lipstick, I did start the test off after a few days of use so I wanted to get the results as close to one month as possible.

Here's how our Splendourful lipstick is now looking next to Coachella Crush:

A fair bit gone, yes?

Initially I'd measured the difference as a bit more than fifty per cent (so you could say that it's possible to get through 2g of product each month if you really try), once I'd factored in that the tip of the lipstick is tapered so there's less volume of product at the head.

However, I took out a safety pin and stuck it down the side of Splendourful to see how much product was stuffed into that annoying bit at the end of lipsticks, and was rather surprised to find there's another centimetre hidden down there. As a measuring stick, the visible part of Splendourful is about a centimetre in length too, once you factor in that the head of the product is a little rounded (so the volume of product is a bit less at the tip than it is in the middle of what's left).

Therefore it's possible to get through about 1.3g of lipstick per month if you really put your mind to it (in this instance, that's around thirty-five per cent of the product). However I should say a few things about this test:
  • On reflection, Splendourful probably wasn't the best subject I could have chosen from my collection as a test subject because it's a bit drying and doesn't stay put. Therefore I swiped it between five and ten times a day (not a full application, just a swipe along the bottom lip so I could smash my lips together and keep them covered throughout the day). With another product, you would use half as much.
  • As mentioned above, I apply lipstick/gloss A LOT because my lips get dry if I don't and I spend half my life drinking tea, so there's heaps of transference happening. If you don't apply lipstick/gloss as much as I do, you could halve the results again.
  • Short of everyone performing their own tests, it is of course impossible to get a completely accurate picture of how long different brands of lipstick last for each person - in that sense, the Brightest Bulb in the Box test is the most accurate one because it gives you a mean result for a range of different products (and an overall mean). Using the weight test (and assuming that a 'normal' person applies lipstick three times a day, as suggested by Birchbox), you would expect a 3.8g lipstick to last around five months if you used it each day.

One final comment: before performing this test I already knew that I could get through a smaller lipstick (eg Revlon's Colorburst Lip Butters, which weigh in at 2.55g) in around two months of daily use, because I'd done that twice this year. So with a different product, I can expect to get through around 1.25g of product in a month - and a 'normal' person might get through 1g or less.

That's the verdict! This lipstick would keep me going for 2.5 to 3 months total if I kept using it at this rate.

The other verdict being that I'm thoroughly sick of wearing this lipstick (!). I'll keep using it for a bit and then I think the stub is destined for my pot of gloss that contains this year's lipsticks ends - the happy part of this being that the gloss is looking all too pink at the moment, so it could absolutely do with an orange infusion.

In sum

Have you ever wondered how long it takes to get through particular items? As mentioned above, if you're burning to get an answer on any product, let me know in the comments and I'll put it on my list : )

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1 comment:

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