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People left stunned after seeing how lipstick is actually made

Stefania Sarrubba

Published 
| Last updated 

A lipstick might be an everyday object for many people, but its manufacturing is a complex process that requires several steps and as many workers overseeing them.

A YouTube video on Science Channel broke down the several steps to make an industrial batch of lipsticks for their How It's Made series, stunning some viewers who thought the process was completely automated.

A staple of most people's makeup routine, the lipstick undergoes different passages to create the wax, pigments and moisturisers mixture to create the perfect shade.

The pigment mixture is rolled into sheet form. Credit: YouTube/@sciencechannel
The pigment mixture is rolled into sheet form. Credit: YouTube/@sciencechannel
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A worker pre-weights all the ingredients, following a particular formula which may change according to the brand and is normally a company secret.

The ingredients are then poured into a kettle that melts and mixes them together.

There, a plant-based solution known as plantolatum is added. This acts as a skin softener and allows one to apply the lipstick easily.

Waxes such as the plant-based carnauba and candelilla, as well as beeswax, are normally used in the process as they help thicken the mixture and give the lipstick the characteristic sheen when applied.

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Now it's time to craft the specific hue of the lipstick, with the worker whipping up a batch of pigment using different iron oxide colorants.

This mixture is then scooped onto rollers that grind the pigment particles while also rolling it into sheet form. Three passes through the rollers are needed to fully grind and smooth the mixture for it to be added to the base mixture.

The ingredients then become a paste. Credit: YouTube/Science Channel
The ingredients then become a paste. Credit: YouTube/Science Channel

Meanwhile, the worker lowers the heat in the kettle to avoid scalding, then adds the pigment to the mixture until it becomes creamy.

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Once the mixture has the right texture, it is ready to be shaped into lipsticks.

Another worker tends to a filling machine, which also has a mixer that keeps the consistency creamy.

The worker places a mould under the filling machine and activates a lift, where the nozzles pump the lipstick liquid into the slots.

Once filled, the lipstick moulds go through a cooling tunnel where the liquid can solidify.

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In order to insert the solidified lipsticks into the swivelling tubular containers we're all familiar with, the worker places a rack on top of the mould and inserts the cases into the slots.

They then move to the turnaround machine, where bursts of air gently push the lipsticks out of the mould and up into the cases.

Hot guns will then make gave the lipsticks that perfect shine by warming them up just a little. Finally, the lipsticks pass through rollers that cause them to swivel down.

The finished product. Credit: YouTube/Science Channel
The finished product. Credit: YouTube/Science Channel
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Of course, lipsticks shouldn't melt on a hot day, which is why a tester determines the melting point by taking a sample off each batch. They do so by smearing lipstick shavings onto a glass disk to examine their consistency, placing them over a heating element and watching the lipstick melts to confirm the melting point is within an acceptable range.

We've now reached the very last step, in which another worker compares the colour of the freshly made batch to the standard to see if they match.

When they're ready to go, workers wrap up productions by capping each lipstick.

And people were surprised at the lengthy process, with one writing: "I didn't realize how many steps nor labor intensive this process required."

Another said: "Out of all the products in the world that I expected the production to be fully automated, lipstick was near the top. I'm consistently surprised how many products still have multiple steps that require human workers."

And a final said: "I had no idea that my lipstick was so labor intensive."

Topics: Beauty, Make-Up

Stefania Sarrubba
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