They've been around in one form or another for hundreds of years. Having the first one is the crowning glory of many girls' teen years. Just about every Western woman has one, and many are accompanied everywhere by them. In the office, it looks that ladies can not talk about anything else. After spending just 30 seconds with one, women look and feel refreshed and beautiful. What am I talking about? No, it's not Prince Charming, but lipsticks. Read on to find out how this super popular cosmetic is produced today.
Today's lipstick is made of four basic ingredients; fats (oils), waxes, alcohol, and pigments and a few minor additives like preservatives and moisturizers. The raw ingredients are combined and refined then.
First, the manufacturer hats and melts the three main ingredients, oil, wax, and alcohol, in separate metal canisters. Then the oil and alcohol are mixed together so the coloring can be added before the wax. This is because the change in consistency after the addition of the wax would make it nearly impossible to properly integrate the pigment.
Once the coloring goes in, the little granules of pigment cause the mixture to take on a grainy consistency. To remedy this undesirable effect, the goo is passed under a huge roller to pulverize the pigment grains and restore a smooth texture.
However, this introduces another undesirable, the main enemy of lipstick makers: air bubbles. This air must be removed by several hours of mechanical stirring, and some manufacturers choose to hasten this process by using vacuum suction to draw the air out.
Hours later, when much the air has been extracted, the cooled mass is whipped into the wax until a uniform color and texture is achieved. Continuous rattling ensures that no air pockets lodge in the mixture to create flaws later on. The liquid is poured into molding tubes which are upside down so that the shaped bottom of the mold is the top of the finished product.
Later, the lipsticks are chilled and removed from the molds. The lipsticks are checked for defects and sorted. Any flawed ones are sent to the reworking area where they are manually fixed by workers with little spatulas. The good ones go through the last step, a finishing method called firing, which seals minor flaws and adds the glossy finish.
The finished lipsticks are packaged, labeled, boxed and shipped off to warehouses and then on to cosmetic stores where hundreds of women will go to buy this cheap and highly popular cosmetic. The next time you buy a tube of lipstick you will be able to trace the beautiful finished product all the way back to the first raw ingredients.