why does my lip balm get grainy

Why does my lip balm get grainy? It is a confusing situation because people often believe the ‘grainy’ texture indicates expired lip balm.

Is it really the case? Should you not use lip balm that feels grainy?

Not just confusing; the situation is quite frustrating as well.

After all, you spend a good amount of money on your lip balms, waxes, and oils, and then out of nowhere, they develop hard grains in them.

So, why has my lip balm gone grain, you ask?

It could be because of certain ingredients in your balm and exposing them to extreme temperature changes.

Tip: Always apply a thick layer of lip balm all over your lips, being sure to get into the creases and the outer edges, for better results. 

Why Does My Lip Balm Get Grainy So Quickly?

why lip balm get grainy

It is a tragedy that lip balms today tend to become gritty. Any lip balm worth its salt will be smooth and gentle on the lips.

Most mainstream cosmetics often use chemicals to keep balms from becoming gritty if they melt and then firm again.

It is different with indie cosmetics, and they find it much more difficult to avoid this problem. 

What Causes Lip Balms to Get Grainy?

Balms can go grainy because of their ingredients. Temperature shifts are another possible cause.

The Role of Ingredients and Temperature

What you have in your lip balm will play a role in how long it stays good without getting grainy.

Lip balms that use “butter,” such as mango, shea, or cocoa butter, are more prone to developing a granular or grainy texture.

The plant-based butters used in most cosmetics rely on varying combinations of unsaturated liquid fats and saturated solid fats.

How Temperature Plays a Role?

The melting points of these fats vary greatly as well.

rough lip balm

When you carry your lip balm in your backpack, purse, or even in the car, you expose it to severe temperature shifts.

Balms with different fatty acids respond differently to temperature shifts.

The butter’s gritty texture is the result of the fats melting and then re-crystallizing at varying rates as a result of exposure to temperature changes. 

Is Your Grainy Lip Balm Expired?

It is natural to think those hard grains have developed because your lip balm is expired. But that is not always the case.

In fact, even if you have bought a new lip balm, it may still react to temperature fluctuations. 

How to Know If Your Lip Balm Has Expired?

In most cases, you should not use lip balms after a year.

They may continue to work past that time, but it is better to play safe.

Why Does Your Lip Balm Go Bad?

why does lip balm get bad

It happens because your lip balm has a combination of fats and oils, which can eventually go rancid.

A lip balm using vitamin E or other preservatives may last a bit longer, but eventually, there will be a change in smell.

Therefore, if you notice any unpleasant scent or signs of mold or other growth, know that your balm has gone bad. 

Can You Use an Expired Lip Balm?

You can, but that does not mean you should!

Using cosmetics past their expiration date has been linked to an increased risk of infection, according to research.

Mascara, lip balm, and skin care products that multiple people have used are likely to have much greater levels of germs.

Therefore, sharing these items or using them beyond their “best-by” dates is never a good idea. 

Can You Make Your Lip Balm Last Longer?

make lip balm last longer

Proper storage matters a lot, as it not only helps prevent the balm from getting grainy but also helps it to last longer.

Keep your favorite lip balm in a cool, dry spot out of direct sunlight and temperature extremes to increase its shelf life.

You may want to buy a balm with few ingredients and no additional perfumes. This is a fantastic way to guarantee that your product will last and be safe to use. 

Keep in mind that even while they add to the experience, lip balms with added fragrances are not recommended. They tend to go bad faster than those with fewer ingredients since the fragrances degrade more quickly. 

How to Keep Your Lip Balm Sanitized?

To prevent the spread of germs, some medical professionals suggest sanitizing lip cosmetics by immersing them in alcohol every so often.

 To disinfect a lip balm:

  • Remove the outer layer by wiping it with rubbing alcohol
  • Twist off the entire tube
  • Soak it in a bowl of rubbing alcohol for 30 seconds

It is not ideal, but it is a simple approach to keeping it clean. It may also help to extend its life.

lip balm sticks
Tip: Apply an SPF 30+ lip balm over your regular lip moisturizer if you plan to spend time in the sun. 

How Do You Fix Grains in Your Lip Balm?

As your grainy lip balm is not expired, you can always try ways to fix the issue.

Here is how to reverse the problem with ease. 

Step # 1: Reheat the Balm

Take your balm and reheat it in a double boiler. Ensure you do it on low heat, and slowly.

Heating a balm too quickly will cause the other ingredients to lose their healing powers, so be patient as the balm melts.

Do not remove the lid from the jar until it has finished heating.

You do not want any water to come into contact with your lip balm, as bacteria can multiply in a balm if it gets wet. 

Step # 2: Freeze It Again!

As soon as the balm has melted, you should put it in the freezer. Let it sit there for at least half an hour. 

melted lip balm

Another Alternative

If you have a grainy lip balm, you can also restore it to its original glory by putting the tube in a microwave.

Just remove the cap from the tube and place it in the microwave standing up. Now, wait for it to melt completely.

Do not take it out of the microwave after it has melted. Let it sit there and become hard again naturally.

Once hardened, you would not notice any grains in it.

Tip: It is okay to reapply your lip balm as necessary, usually around 2-4 times a day, but more frequently if you have overly dry lips. 

Can You Fix Grainy Texture of Other Cosmetics?

fix grainy texture

While you can easily eliminate those hard grains through the heating and cooling process, it is better to avoid the problem in the first place.

It is mainly because not all cosmetics can be saved in this way.

How Do You Prevent Grains in Balms?

You can do it simply by keeping your balm in stable temperatures.

Keep in mind that temperature changes can affect your other cosmetics as well, especially when they contain mango, shea, or cocoa butter

Can You Fix Your Grainy Lotion?

The lotion is quite susceptible to high temperatures.

Because it contains water, lotion needs a preservative that can stop the growth of microorganisms across the board.

Extreme heat destroys the effectiveness of a broad-spectrum preservative. Especially if it goes beyond 120F.

It goes without saying that you should never heat lotion, nor should you leave it in a hot car. 

Why Can You Not Clear Grains In Your Lotion?

If you do not take precautions and end up with a grainy lotion, there is no way to “fix” it.

clear grainy lotion

You would destroy all the preservatives if you decide to re-heat the lotion.

While it may feel like rubbing sand across your face, know that a grainy lotion is not actually expired or bad.

Sometimes, the granules may display upon contact with your skin, but that is not always the case. So, be cautious in the first place!

Tip: Know how much lip balm is enough to prevent dry lips, as going overboard may leave you with overly dried and chapped lips.


The answer to the question, “Why does my lip balm get grainy?” can save you from tossing it and buying a new one. 

Cocoa butter lip balm is notorious for its gritty consistency. But, keep in mind that your grainy balm is not bad, and there are simple techniques to “fix” the issue. 

Sometimes you just need to maintain the right temperature to avoid having this issue in the first place.

So, store your lip balm and other cosmetics using plant-based fats properly to keep them in perfect condition.

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