It is easiest to understand the manufacturing process when it is seen as three separate steps: mixing and melting the lipstick; pouring the mix in the tube; and then packing up the product to put it up for sale. The lipstick mass may be mixed and then stored to use later, so the mixing process does not need to occur at the same time that the pouring does. After the lipstick is inside of the tube, getting it packaged for sale is a highly variable process, depending on how you will be marketing the product.
Mixing and melting
1. The first step is for the lipstick’s raw ingredients to be mixed and melted – separately due to the different kinds of ingredients that are used. One mixture contains the waxy and fats materials, another contains the oils, and a third one contains the solvents. They are heated up in separate ceramic and stainless steel containers, for example, flux pumps.
2. The liquid oils and solvent solution then are mix together with the color pigments. Then this mixture goes through the roller mill, which grinds the pigment in order to prevent the lipstick from having a “grainy” feel. Air is introduced into the pigment mixture and oil by this process, so mechanical working of this mixture is necessary. The mixture is then stirred for several hours, and at that point, vacuum equipment is used by some product to withdraw all of the air.
3. Once the pigment mass has been ground and mixed, it then gets added to a hot wax mass to achieve a uniform consistency and color. The fluid lipstick then can be strained and molded, or poured into pans and then stored for molding in the future.
4. If fluid lipstick is going to be used right away, then agitation is used to maintain the melt at temperature, which results in the trapped air escaping. If the lipstick mass is going to be stored, it needs to be reheated before it can be used, checked for its color consistency, adjusted according to specifications, and then agitation is used to maintain the met temperature until it is poured.
Lipstick is prepared in batches at all times, since different color pigments may be used. The batch size and number of lipstick tubes are produced at the same time will depend on how popular a specific shade that is being produced is. That will determine which manufacturing is used – manual or automated.
5. After the lipstick mass is free of air and mixed, it ready to get poured in the tube. Various machine setups are utilised, depending on what equipment is used by the manufacturer, but usually high volume batches get through a melter which agitates the lipstick mass and then maintains it in liquid form. On smaller batches, batches are run manually, and the mass gets maintained at its desired mix temperature using agitation, in an operator-controlled melter.
6. The melted mass then gets dispensed inside of the mold, that is comprised of a bottom part of the plastic or metal tube and a shaping part that snugly fits with the tube. Then the lipstick gets poured “upside down” so the bottom part of the tub is on the top of the mold. Then any excess gets scraped off of the mold.
7. The lipstick is then cooled (manually produced molds get transferred into a refrigeration unit; automated molds get kept cold) and gets separated from its mold, and then the bottom of the lipstick tube gets sealed. Then the lipstick gets passed through a flaming cabinet (or get flamed manually by hand) in order to seal pinholes and then improve its finish. Finally, the lipstick gets inspected visually for blemishes, mold separation lines, and air holes, and if necessary, gets reworked.
Packaging and Labelling
8. After the lipstick has been retracted and the tube has been capped, the tube of lipstick is then ready to be labeled and packaged. The batch is identified by the labels and get applied as part of the overall automated operation. Although there is a lot of emphasis that is placed on the appearance and quality of finished lipstick products, there is not as much emphasis placed on lip balm appearance. An automated process is always used to produce the lip balms (except test or experimental batches). Then the heated liquid gets pour in the tube into a retracted position; then a machine caps the tube – which is a much less laborious process.