The lipstick manufacturing process is most easily understood when it is divided into three distinct steps. The first step is essentially the melting of the different ingredients and then mixing them together. The next step is pouring this mixture into the lipstick tube. The final step is packaging the tube of lipstick for retail sale.
Melting and Mixing
1. There are several different ingredients that must be combined to create the lipstick. These ingredients need to be melted separately, in either ceramic or stainless-steel containers, in order to combine well. The first mixture has the solvents, the second mixture contains all of the oils, and the final mixture includes the wax and the fat needed to create the right consistency.
2. After the solvent and the oil/wax mixtures are melted, it is time to get the colour pigment ready. Pigment can have a grainy texture. To avoid this the lipstick mixture goes through a roller mill. It will crush the pigment to a very fine texture. At this point, air is added in when the mixture is stirred together for several hours. Eventually, a vacuum will remove any air or air bubbles that remain.
3. When the pigment is fine enough it is added and stirred to the hot wax. It is very important for the colour to become consistent. This requires a lot of stirring. At this point the lipstick can be strained and moulded right away, or it can be poured and stored for several weeks.
4. If the mixture is going to be used at this point, it must maintain a high temperature and be agitated. This will ensure that all the air has escaped. If the lipstick melt is not going to be moulded right away, it is stored, and can easily be kept in condition by diaphragm pumps. It must then be reheated, checked to ensure there is a consistent colour, and then agitated at a high temperature before it can be moulded.
Since the lipstick manufacturing process can be arduous, lipsticks are almost always prepared in a large colour batch. The size of the batch depends on several things such as the brand, the popularity of the colour, and how many lipsticks have been ordered. Smaller lipstick batches are usually created manually. An operator controls the temperature. If the batch is large, an automated process will most likely take place.
5. After the lipstick mass has been agitated and no air is left, it can be poured into the lipstick mould. If it is an automated process, the machine will control the temperatures of the melter. For smaller batches, they are usually operator controlled.
6. This lipstick mass is placed into the mould that is attached to the lipstick tube with a shaping mould at the top. The lipstick is poured upside down meaning the top of the lipstick is poured first. The mould is cleaned of any excess wax and it can begin setting.
7. The poured lipstick mass is cooled off by either turning on the cooling feature on certain automated moulds, or by placing the moulds in a refrigerator unit. The lipstick is then removed from the moulds. Next, a flaming cabinet is used to get rid of any holes and perfect the finish on the lipstick. An inspector will then make sure each lipstick is perfect and adjust any problems they might see.
Labelling and Packaging
8. The lipstick is retracted and the cap to the lipstick tube is attached. At this point the lipstick is ready to be labeled and then packaged. The labels are a crucial part. They clearly identify both the batch number and the colour. This is done as a part of the basic manufacturing process. The manufacturer can determine what type of packaging is necessary and apply it either by hand or by machine. The lipstick is then ready to be shipped to retail locations.
Lipsticks have a very strict standard of appearance while lip balms do not. Lip balms are always produced by machine in an automated process. The lip balm melt is simply poured into the tube and then is capped by machine. This process is much simpler in comparison to lipstick.