lipstick retracted

How to put a new lipstick in a vintage tube

If you like pretty packaging, this is the way to go. You will need:

  • vintage lipstick holder (with or without lipstick)
  • new lipstick in crappy plastic tube
  • a freezer
  • wax paper
  • toothpicks, cotton swabs & dish soap (if removing old lipstick from vintage tube)

Assemble all your materials, then put your modern lipstick in the freezer. If you’re like me, you’ll get sidetracked and leave it in there for a few weeks. For you more focused gals, overnight is plenty of time. As this was my first attempt, I did NOT use a vintage lipstick tube….this is just a fancy tube some ebay seller threw in with some other stuff I bought. But it’s still nicer than ye olde plastic Maybelline tube, right? Exactly.

Why are you freezing your lipstick? Because when it’s frozen, it’s more likely to come out of the tube in one piece and less likely to make a giant mess.


Crappy plastic lipstick tube, fancy metal lipstick tube, check.


Before freezing.

Put your modern lipstick in the freezer.

While your lipstick is freezing, clean out the vintage/fancy holder. I dug out the pink frosty lipstick with a toothpick (OK, more like a dozen toothpicks) and then cleaned the remaining traces out with cotton swabs.

lipstick tube degunk

Degunking in progress.

clean tube

Clean and cootie-free fancy lipstick holder.

Once I got all the grotty old lipstick out, I disinfected the bejesus out of the remaining pieces. Wash in warm soapy water, then wipe out the inside with a Lysol or Clorox wipe just to make sure you’ve eliminated all cooties. Dry thoroughly.

If the insert inside that makes the lipstick go up and down in the tube is plastic, it may be slightly discolored due to the pigments in the lipstick. This is ok–it does not mean you have failed in your mission to clean and disinfect. If you’re using a vintage tube, the base will probably be metal and less prone to discoloration.

Let’s skip ahead to the part where your new lipstick is frozen and you’re ready to put it in the fancy tube. Take your lipstick out of the freezer (duh) and take apart the tube. Once you’ve eliminated excess packaging, extend the lipstick as far out of the tube as you can. You want to move quickly once the lipstick comes out of the freezer: the longer you wait, the messier it gets.

frozen lipstick

Frozen lipstick, minus decorative silver piece of tube visible in first photo.

Wrap your wax paper gently around the frozen lipstick and pull it out of the tube. It should slide right out of the plastic base. (The wax paper keeps you from getting lipstick all over your fingers and fingerprints all over the lipstick.) Gently yet firmly push the lipstick into the fancy tube. The bottom of the lipstick will slide right into the metal or plastic base of the fancy holder. Make sure it’s securely anchored in there so it will go up and down in the tube and not fall in your lap when you take the top off to apply lipstick while driving. We all do it, even though we know it’s a bad idea. At least now you won’t ruin your favorite skirt in the process.

lipstick done

Bombshell red lipstick in fancy metal tube. Mission accomplished.

lipstick retracted

If done correctly, you will be able to twist the bottom of the tube and retract the lipstick. Yay.

Wasn’t that easy? Good. Time to buy more lipstick.



  1. Fabulous idea! I’m going to try this out sometime. I usually just leave the old vintage lipstick remnants in the tube. But, I’d much prefer using them! 🙂

  2. Thank you so much! I have tried to do this before with very little success – I just got a really unstable lipstick that slid around in the base – I’ll try this later! x

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