Why Preppers Should Carry Lipstick: 15 Great Survival Uses

Why Preppers Should Carry Lipstick

No matter your gender, you may want to consider keeping a tube or two of lipstick in your Bug Out Bag or cache. This innocuous, everyday item is a lot more useful than simply adding a splash of color to your fancy camo outfit.

Why do preppers carry lipstick? Lipstick is a good Firestarter if the main ingredient is petroleum (check the bottle). It can also be used to waterproof small items, as emergency sunscreen, and is a great way to write a waterproof message on any surface.

All these ideas are clever, but there’s even more to this lightweight, simple item. Here are more ideas and some cool facts about why you should keep lipstick in your prepper stash.

How Preppers Use Lipstick

The uses for lipstick in a survival situation go beyond the obvious intention of the product. It’s lightweight, cheap, small enough to slip into even the tightest-packed bag, and easy to come by. There’s no reason you shouldn’t have some in your BOB.

Below, are some of the most creative uses for lipstick and how you can get incredible benefits out of such a small item.


Any prepper knows the importance of keeping high-value, lightweight, small barter items on hand. When society collapses, money will be useless. Bartering will reign supreme. Lipstick is the perfect barter item due to its weight, initial cost, and usefulness in an emergency.

I’ve covered some of the other best bartering items to stockpile in detail here, but I kept lipstick off the list. It just has too many uses to cover well in that list, so it gets its own featured spot in this article.


The main ingredient in lipstick is typically petroleum. And anyone with a little science knowledge knows that petroleum burns quite easily. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how lipstick can be used as a firestarter.

In short, cut a small blob of lipstick off, rub onto your tinder and kindling, then light it however you can. It’s easiest with a lighter, of course, but there are lots of ways to start a fire if you don’t have a lighter or matches. The petroleum will light up quickly and your fire camp fire should be roaring shortly after.


Most lipstick is made with sunscreen, and if you’d like to make it through a hot, sunny survival situation, you better lather up. Even though lipstick is generally used to enhance the color of someone’s lips, it’s a decent sunblock. Heck, even without official sunblock in it, the color itself is a useful mechanical sunblock.

If you’re squeamish about slathering fire engine red all over your face, I suggest you pick some of the darker colors when you go shopping. I also suggest you get over it—you’re not out there to prove your fashion sense. You’re out there to survive. If anyone laughs at you, you can take joy in laughing at their desiccated and sunburned corpse in a few days.

Enjoy your victory, beautiful!


Seriously, lipstick comes in every color you could possibly imagine. That includes greens, browns, and darker reds. If you grab a handful of shades that match your camo outfit, you can complete your dashing survival fashion all over your face.

They can’t laugh at you if they don’t see you coming.


Lipstick is waterproof and sometimes smudge proof, which means you can use it to leave messages on any surface without worrying about it washing away. The downside to this use is that it can be removed if you rub hard enough. However, that’s the least of your worries when SHTF.


Gears stuck? Slap some lipstick on them. All lipstick is made with a grease of some kind, even if it’s not petroleum. Its whole purpose is to be slippery, easy to apply, and to cover something. Why not use it to unstick gears? Better yet, use it before anything sticks so you don’t have to waste time and energy fixing things.

Waterproofing Items

You can waterproof small items with lipstick in just a few seconds. Granted, whatever you cover will end up a little slippery and messy, but at least it won’t get destroyed in the rain. I like to use it for matches, but it works on just about anything that you don’t mind coloring.

Fire Starting with Lipstick.
Lipstick can do more than make you look fabulous during the apocalypse–guys. It can be a great propellant for fire starting!

Uses for a Lipstick Container

Don’t chuck that empty lipstick tube just yet. Any good survivalist knows that nothing is truly garbage—everything has a use. Lipstick tubes are no different.

Match Storage

You may be surprised to learn that lipstick tubes sometimes lock shut and are water resistant. Not every style can do this, but most have some kind of snap-together or twist-lock functionality. Use that natural water resistance to keep your matches dry.

Secret Stash

An empty lipstick tube is the perfect place to stash medications and emergency cash. The tube can slip into your pocket discreetly, and most people trying to rip you off won’t even look twice at a tube of lipstick.

Do keep in mind that paper money won’t be worth a damn once society collapses, but for shorter term survival, it’s good to keep some on hand.

Wound Care

You can roll up several adhesive bandages and a small tube of antibiotic ointment into an empty lipstick tube.

Message Stashing

If you need to leave a note for a fellow prepper, you can safely tuck paper notes inside an empty lipstick tube. Because they’re generally water resistant, the note will be safe, even if it gets rained on. If you choose to bury your stash (which you totally should, folks), lipstick containers do not degrade over time and they keep dirt and bugs out.

Bonus: Anyone digging up your stash isn’t likely to open what looks like an old tube of lipstick. They’ll think it’s just trash and leave it.

Store Spices

This one is going to seem really weird, but bear with me. Empty lipstick containers are perfect for storing spices and flavor enhancers. We all know how crappy MREs can taste, and eating bland food every day during an emergency is lame.

So, use empty lipstick containers to store and protect your spices from the elements. Lipstick is safe and nontoxic—duh, it’s used on lips! So, you won’t need to worry about it contaminating your food.

This is a double whammy. You can use lipstick tubes filled with salt, sugar, or other spices in bartering, too. By hiding the main stash of spices, you can dole out your precious packets and charge extra by making it seem like you don’t have much to spare.


Admittedly, I haven’t don’t this one myself, but a good friend did. I was skeptical when he showed me because he’s a bit of a jokester, so I had to look this one up. You can actually make a flashlight out of an empty lipstick or lip balm tube and a supposedly dead battery.

If you have the spare parts, or you happen to come across the items on this short list, you can fashion a small flashlight. This is awesome for personal use or you can use it to make barter-worthy items. Here are the details.

Store Soap

It’s the end of the world and every bar of soap has melted. How the heck do you wash your hands after gutting that rabbit?

If you were thinking ahead, you’d have a lipstick tube filled with soap in your pocket. You can use liquid, collected pieces of multiple bars of soap, or soap granules. The choice is yours.

Again, this is a killer barter item, so start collecting soap bits and lipstick tubes, my friend.

Carry Bobby Pins

Man or woman, you need some bobby pins. They’re not just for making your fancy do stay in place while stalking game. Bobby pins have a ton of uses in survival situations. Money clip, lock pick, replacing a broken zipper head, sewing and hemming helper, unlocking zip ties, and a lot more.

Bobby pins are very useful. Unfortunately, they also have a habit of disappearing when you need them most. Store your bobby pin stash in an empty lipstick tube, and you won’t have to search them out in an emergency.

Final Thoughts

Please tell me that you see the value in stocking some lipstick in your BOB now. This stuff has a long list of uses, and the empty tube is even useful. There aren’t many survival items that have such a long list of uses as lipstick does, so this simple, everyday, cheap item deserves to be in your stash.

Related Questions

Can lipstick be used during an emergency? Lipstick has many survival and emergency related uses. You can use lipstick to leave waterproof messages on almost any surface, as a quick sunblock, to start a fire, and to waterproof small items.

How can lip balm be used in an emergency? Lip balm can be used to start fires, provide sunblock, lubricate gears and stuck items, and waterproof small items. The empty tube can also be used to store money, bobby pins, pills, and other small items.

John Walter

John Walter is an emergency preparedness consultant with eight years of experience and training in related fields. He is a passionate prepper living in the Sacramento area of California.

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