Hielscher Ultrasound Technology

Ultrasonic Milling for Lipstick Manufacturing

Lipstick manufacturing involves the grinding and mixing of waxes and colour pigments on a precisely controllable level to ensure a certain colour and texture profile of the lipstick. Ultrasonic grinding and mixing is a reliable, efficient, and exactly controllable technique to produce highly homogeneous wax/pigment slurries for the production of high-quality lipsticks.

Ultrasonic Mixing and Grinding for Lipstick Manufacturing

Lipstick pigments are uniformly milled and blended by ultrasonication.In general, the manufacturing of lipsticks is done in small to medium size batches, since the composition of each lipsticks variation varies in colour / shade, glossiness, ingredients (nourishing compounds) etc.
Lipstick manufacturing involves various raw ingredients such as waxes (beeswax, candelilla wax, camauba), pigments (e.g. organic and inorganic, pigments, carmine; plant-derived pigments, mineral pigments such as micas, oxides, ultramarines), alcohol (solvent), oils (mineral, castor, lanolin, or vegetable oils) and additives (preservatives, antioxidants, caring ingredients, fragrance). In general, the ratio of oil:wax:pigment is approx. 50-70% : 20-30% : 5-15%, respectively.
Those ingredients are melted and stirred in separate batches: one batch contains the solvents, the second batch contains the lipids / oils, and the third batch contains the fats and waxy materials.
To incorporate the colour pigments, the solvent solution and heated liquid oils (approx. 180°F or 85°C) are mixed with the color pigments by stirring in order to form a crude premix. The premix is fed into an ultrasonic flow-through reactor, where the pigment slurry is treated with intense ultrasonic (acoustic) cavitation. Ultrasonic cavitation is a purely mechanical treatment, which is based on extreme shear forces and inter-particular collision. Ultrasonic milling and grinding allows for a precise process control and thereby a continuously high quality output.

Hielscher Ultrasonics supplies powerful ultrasonic disperser to prepare homogeneous nano-particle suspension, e.g. for lithium battery production

Ultrasonic dispersion produces uniform nano-sized suspensions: green curve – before sonication / red curve after sonication

Ultrasonication is highly effective to mill pigments into lipstick formulations.

UIP2000hdT ultrasonicator for cosmetic products in a stainless-steel reactor

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The ultrasonic milling and grinding reduces the particle size of the pigments uniformly so that a smooth texture is obtained. This is an important step since the texture of a lipstick is an essential quality mark and a grainy feel is undesired. Furthermore, the uniform particle size distribution is crucial to obtain tinting strength and in-depth colouring of the lipstick.
Whilst conventional high-shear mixers, roller mills and bead mills introduce air into the oil/pigment slurry, inline sonication avoids the entrapment of gas bubbles. Ultrasonication has even de-aerating / degassing effects, which makes the subsequent step of de-aeration by vacuum superficial. By avoiding the deaeration step, processing costs and time are reduced.
In a mixing second step, the pigment/oil slurry is combined with the hot wax. The mixing of pigment/oil and the hot wax can be done by the ultrasonic mixer, too. 
Finally, the lipstick mixture is poured into molding tubes, where the lipstick is cooling and hardening whilst obtaining its typical stick form. As soon as the wax/pigment mixture has got solid, it can be inserted into a plastic or metallic packaging and is ready for sale.
Ultrasonic processor UIP4000hdT, a 4kW powerful ultrasonic reactor

UIP4000hdT, a 4000 watts powerful ultrasonic processor

Advantages of Ultrasonic Grinding and Dispersing

  • uniform mixing results
  • handles abrasive particles
  • de-aerating effect
  • rapid and efficient processing
  • easy to clean / fast changes between colours
  • simple and safe to operate
  • linear scale-up
  • High-Performance Ultrasonic Mixers for Lipstick Manufacturing

    Hielscher Ultrasonics supplies high-performance ultrasonicators to cosmetic manufacturers worldwide. Ultrasonic milling, grinding and dispersing is a reliable and efficacious technology to produce homogeneous mixtures consisting of waxes, lipids, O/W or W/O emulsions, pigments and nourishing additives. Ultrasonic mixers easily handle highly viscous slurries such as wax melts, high particles loads, and pastes. Even the handling of very abrasive particles is no problem for ultrasonic mixing and milling systems.
    Ultrasonic processes can be run in batch and in continuous inline operation. Especially for larger lots, ultrasonic inline processing using an ultrasonic flow-through reactor offers various advantages, including higher product uniformity, since the retention time in the sonication area and the processing temperature can be precisely controlled. Using an ultrasonic inline system with flow cell prevents the entrapment of air bubbles and provides even de-aerating / degassing effects.
    Hielscher Ultrasonics is long-time experienced in the design, manufacturing and distribution of high-performance ultrasonicators for the production of cosmetic products. We assist our customers from first feasibility test and process optimisation to the installation and operation of the industrial-size ultrasonic dispersing unit.
    Hielscher Ultrasonics’ industrial ultrasonic processors can deliver very high amplitudes. Amplitudes of up to 200µm can be easily continuously run in 24/7 operation. For even higher amplitudes, customized ultrasonic sonotrodes are available. The robustness of Hielscher’s ultrasonic equipment allows for 24/7 operation at heavy duty and in demanding environments.
    The table below gives you an indication of the approximate processing capacity of our ultrasonicators:

    Batch Volume Flow Rate Recommended Devices
    1 to 500mL 10 to 200mL/min UP100H
    10 to 2000mL 20 to 400mL/min UP200Ht, UP400St
    0.1 to 20L 0.2 to 4L/min UIP2000hdT
    10 to 100L 2 to 10L/min UIP4000hdT
    n.a. 10 to 100L/min UIP16000
    n.a. larger cluster of UIP16000

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    Hielscher Ultrasonics manufactures high-performance ultrasonic homogenizers for dispersion, emulsification and cell extraction.

    High-power ultrasonic homogenizers from lab to pilot and industrial scale.



    Facts Worth Knowing

    Lipsticks, Lip Gloss, Lip Balms

    Lipsticks are one of the most popular and widely used cosmetic products. Other cosmetic lip products are lip glosses, lip balms and chapsticks.
    In general, lipsticks exhibit a longer-lasting staying power and more coverage than lip glosses or lip balms.
    The range of colours and finishes of lipsticks is almost limitless: Lipsticks are available in any colours, nuances, and finishes – from high-gloss to shimmery/shining/glittering to satin to matte. This turns lipsticks into a very versatile make-up product and gives the user manifold options to create an individual look.
    Whilst the appearance and look are the main and most obvious effects achieved by lipsticks, they often come with additional features such as nourishing additives, lip boosting ingredients, sunscreen and other add-ons. In order to obtain certain lipstick qualities and properties, lipstick formulations are varying and can be quite complex. The basic raw materials in lipstick are pigments, oils, waxes, and emollients, which contribute color, moisturization, and protection.

    The base of waxes, polymers, (sub-)micron particles, and fibres are used to give the lipstick its form and structure. Therefore, crystalline and amorphous waxes that provide a small crystal size when cooled down and harden, must be combined so that the final lipstick offers good stability, oil/pigment binding and strength. Commonly used combinations are e.g., ozokerite + microcrystalline; polyethylene + microcrystalline; polyethylene + ozokerite; or beeswax + candellila + carnauba.

    The type and amount of emollients in a lipstick formulation are important factors that heavily influence the lipstick’s application characteristics, color strength, spreading, durability, and finish. Commonly used emollients arecastor oil, lanolin, shea butter, cocoa butter, synthetic lanolin (bis-diglyceryl polyacyladipate-2), polybutene, hydrogenated polyisobutene, and triisostearyl citrate.

    A typical lipstick formulation looks like the following:

    • Emollients: 41-79 %
    • Wax / polymers: 15-28 % (as a blend of 2-5 raw materials)
    • Pigments: 3-10%
    • Pearl luster pigments: 0-10%
    • Matting agents: 0-5%
    • Wear ingredients: 0-5%
    • Fragrance: 0-0.3%
    • Preservatives / Antioxidants: 0.2-0.5%