To understand how lipstick is manufactured, it is best to look at it in terms of different steps: The first step is the melting and mixing step; the second step is pouring the melted mixture into the lipstick tube using air operated diaphragm pumps; and finally, the last step is packaging the lipstick for sale. These steps do not always happen right after each other. Sometimes, after the first step, the lip mass (QUERY: is “lip mass” the correct term here?) is stored for some time. After the lipstick has been placed in the tube, the packaging process depends on how the lipstick is intended on being used or marketed.
Melting and Mixing
1. Melting the ingredients for the lipstick is the first step. It is important to know that these ingredients cannot necessarily be melted together. Usually, the solvent is melted, a mixture of oils is melted, and finally, a portion (??QUERY – Is “portion” the right word?) that contains fats and wax is melted. They are all heated separately, usually in either a ceramic or stainless-steel container.
2. After the solvent is melted, it is mixed with the oils and then the colour pigments are added. At this time, this mixture passes through what is known as a roller mill. The roller mill ensures that all pigment is ground up in order to produce a good texture. This step also introduces air into the mixture through the process of mechanical stirring, which takes many hours. To remove the air, heavy-duty vacuum equipment is used.
3. Following the grinding and mixing in of the pigment, the mixture is combined with the hot wax. It is stirred until there are a uniform colour and consistency. At this point, the liquid lipstick may be poured and moulded into individual tubes, or it may be poured into large pans for later use.
4. If the lipstick is going to be used right away, the mixture will maintain its heat and be agitated. This helps any air escape. If the lipstick is going to be moulded later, then it must be reheated, thoroughly checked to make sure the colour is consistent, any adjustments made, and then the temperature maintained ready to mould.
Lipsticks are always prepared in large batches to ensure proper colour pigmentation is used. The size and quantity of these batches depend on several things such as the brand, the popularity of this particular colour, and the quantity needed. If a batch is on the smaller side it may be created manually. If it is a large batch it will most likely be automated.
5. When the mixture is mixed and all the air is out, it can be moulded or poured into the lipstick tube. The type of equipment used for this varies widely from manufacturer to manufacturer. But, as a general rule, larger batches usually use a melter. The melter agitates the mixture and ensures it maintains the proper temperature. If the batch is on the smaller side, the operator will usually maintain the temperature manually by using agitation and controlling the melter.
6. When the mass is the correct temperature it will then be poured into a lipstick mould. This mould usually has a tube made of plastic or metal that shapes the lipstick. This portion fits within the tube. The mixture is poured upside down. This means the bottom of the mould is actually the top of the lipstick.
7. The poured lipstick is then cooled off. Some moulds offer automatic cooling, while some moulds must be placed in a refrigerator. Then, the lipstick is separated from the mould and the bottom part is sealed. The finish is flamed to ensure there are no air bubbles. The lipstick is then inspected for any problems and is redone if warranted.
Labeling and Packaging
8. After the lipstick is inspected and it is capped, it is ready to be labelled and packaged. Usually, labels help identify the colour and batch and are part of the manufacturing process. It is very important for lipsticks to become a good finished product. Lip balms, on the other hand, do not have to have the perfect finish. Lip balms are produced completely automated by a machine, which is a much easier process.