Behind the Sciences

Lip Stain

Daniel Gräber stands in the production rooms of Kryolan and carefully pulls off the cover of a white square tub. There’s no other way to say it, other than what he sees next is a load of glaring pink.

“Here we have 20 kg of Lip Stain in Pop,” says the foreman, who has to blink involuntarily upon seeing the powerful color. “It’s a very intense shade, and neon pigments haven’t even been added.” This concentrated bulk shows perfectly clear the radiant brightness that Lip Stain entails. A make-up product that, a few years ago, made the experts unanimously respond with a categorical: “it isn’t possible”. This is because what Yousef Atapour has developed is something of a paradox at first glance. “The requirements were once again really interesting”, says the chief product developer, and is still pleased that he has managed to overcome this challenge. “The product is for sensitive lips – it shouldn’t dry them out, but is rather supposed to dry onto the lips quickly and with a matt effect, needs to be smudge-free, durable and should be easy to remove again.” Therefore, at first, the Iranian-born developer played around with the ingredients of the base and thought about which of them could be used and harmonize well with each other, or rather which ones won’t get in the way of one another. “Lip Stain is a paste and its consistency is very special”, he explains. “The base consists of solvents, thickening agents, film formers, caring ingredients and oils to prevent the skin from drying out.” Sounds simple. However, it took a lot of focused work and trials in the lab in order to build up the formula little by little. The result was always the same: certain ingredients didn’t work well together with others. There were constantly recurring dissonances, particularly when it came to solvents and film formers; sometimes the result was too sticky, sometimes too dry and sometimes there was no harmony left at all and individual ingredients dominated the combination after a few hours in the drying cabinet. “After a week or so, I had a sound basis that remained stable,” Yousef Atapour remembers. “Then I had to check which color pigments were compatible with this consistency. After all, the pigments also have their own unique qualities. Some absorb a lot, some not at all. It’s like working with sugar and flour in the kitchen. Flour thickens the mixture, whereas sugar disperses at first. That’s why I then spent time on the individual shades of color. When it comes to Kryolan, there aren’t just three colors. Our range of color variations is one of our strengths and something we stand for.” And that’s why Yousef Atapour has already mixed together 12 shades, which needed to pass more tests before being introduced to the market; these are then sent to his colleague’s lab for stability control.

Stress Test

Alongside the development, the products are also tested for their stability. In the work area there’s a heat cabinet with a constant 40 degrees Celsius, where potential products basically have to sweat it out in their original packaging for one to three months. “The use of heat simulates a longer storage time. A product that can withstand these conditions for one to three months can also withstand a longer period of time. This is based on experience,” explains Chemist Dr. Gottfriedsen. After this procedure, the test product has to hold its ground and pass the stability test, meaning: How does it withstand in terms of appearance, smell, consistency, application and packaging? “We check whether the original characteristics are still the same”, says Dr. Gottfriedsen. “We check to see whether the product has separated, if it still contains all the same ingredients, or if some have evaporated. Lip Stain contains many volatile solvents. If these evaporate, then the base becomes dryer and cannot be applied as easily anymore. Aside from this, we also need to make sure that the drying time of the product itself does not change and become shorter; the make-up artist still needs to be able to blend it easily. The color should be strong and we test the smell: Have the ingredients developed another scent because of the heat or does the fragrance remain unchanged? How does the packaging look – has its color changed, has it shrunk or become softer? For products that contain water, we also do additional microbiological tests. However, this is not the case for Lip Stain as it doesn’t present the right conditions for microbes to grow.” If the prototypes are unchanged after spending time in the heat, then the product is considered complete. After application tests comes the long-term stability control lasting 6 months before the product is finally sent for production.

…and so it goes on.

By following Atapour’s recipe, the individual shades are mixed together in the production area, homogenized via roller mills and filled into white tubs – just like the one that Daniel Gräber opened at the beginning. Lip Stain is processed at a workspace measuring around 2x1 meters. The first step involves filling the highly pigmented mixture into a stainless steel tank, which is then hermetically sealed. “This needs to be done so that none of the volatile solvents evaporate; the formula only works with this exact composition,” explains the expert. “However, it sometimes happens that a base passes the stability test easily, but then cannot be processed by the machines.

I love Lip Stain for its durability. The product lasts all day. As a make-up artist this is the key factor you wish for all your products – especially for the lips. Lip Stain has this beautiful velvety matt finish. The product glides perfectly over the lips and does not drag or pull the lips when applying. It allows several layers of application for a higher coverage. I recommend applying Lip Stain with a precision lip brush or with fingers – just make sure you dab it on – and then you’ll receive beautiful results. To frame the lips I either apply Faceliner before or after I use Lip Stain. This gives me perfect definition and assures the color does not bleed. I always recommend to apply a lip balm prior to add moisture before using the Lip Stain. I use Lip Stain whenever I can – there are no limitations. It’s great for Beauty, Fashion but also for SFX work – you really can apply Lip Stain for all genres of make-up but I also love using it on myself. And if I do not have the color I want to go for, I mix two or three colors together to achieve the desired result. Sometimes I even add a shiny finish with any gloss. Lip Stain is just such a versatile and long lasting product.
MUA Gemma Horner

This is then down to the viscosity, for example. If it is very tough, then this can cause problems when bottling.” This is understandable, as Lip Stain “Pop” appears like a creamy-soft strawberry mousse before processing. How is it supposed to get through the millimeter-small opening of the acrylic tube? “With air pressure”, says Daniel Gräber. “The tank is funnel-shaped underneath and tubes at the end transfer the mixture to the distribution block. There it is drawn up by pistons, which shoot exactly the right amount – four milliliters – into the packaging with tiny nozzles.

Lip Stain is a long lasting lip fluid with intense pigmentation so that the covering properties are bright and strong. Precise contours are easy with Lip Stain because of its liquid-like texture. It’s easy to use and most of the times one layer is enough. Of course, you can build the color by adding layers. I prefer using it with a lip brush for hygienic reasons. At times I prefer applying Lip Stain as the base and then I add a lipstick or gloss on top, depending on the results I want to achieve. I also recommend mixing Lip Stain with other products such as HD Cream Liner. It works wonders, you can create any desired color and also achieve a nice texture by doing so. It’s such a durable product that it’s perfect for weddings and other parties. Using Lip Stain in its best way is to do a scrub firstly, then apply a lip balm before dabbing on the product to the lips.
MUA Emilie Guillermin

They are filled from bottom to top.” He points to the mini nozzles: “Here we can see it well.” But only with a trained eye it seems: it feels as though they are filled within the space of a second. A circular disk, whose external border is embedded with 24 openings, rotates next to the filling line and places the containers in firing position. A worker with sterile gloves inserts the empty acrylic tubes – which are in the sterile tubs next to him – into the openings and then joins the stripper loosely on top. “You can influence every part of the work process and adjust every station and speed from the control panel,” says foreman Gräber and points to a white box next to the tank with 17 toggles, different knobs, green and red buttons & connection sockets, which are not accessible to laymen. It could just as well be part of an airplane cockpit. Colorful cables are tied together and hang on the side and end somewhere in the apparatus. Next to this, an analog meter that appears strangely anachronistic logs the production and counts around 1200 Lip Stains every day. “We adjust the machine in such a way that the worker can meet all procedures while filling the container, without running into trouble,” explains Daniel Gräber. Every tube inserted by hand first goes to its air blast filling – whoosh! Then the wiper is put on by hand and dented by a kind of stamp with just one punch – click! The applicator is then inserted by hand. “You can also add applicators with the use of a machine, but that only makes sense for large margins,” explains Daniel Gräber. “We are always happy when we have quantities of over 700 or 800. Before we fill the machine with the next color, it needs to be cleaned thoroughly, which can take up to around 2 hours”, he says, and points, smiling, at a row of cleaning products next to the machine. “But at least we have stronger cleaning possibilities than a lady applying make-up to her lips.” Correct, and their surface is also considerably more manageable. And with the 2-phase Eye Make-up Remover, the intense Lip Stain is easily removed again – even the most glaring pink.

Lip Stain is one of my favorite matt options for lips. I love its durability and strength of color. ‘Rock’ is one of my ‘go to’ classic red lip colors. It’s perfect! Lip Stain is a product that has been designed to set and seal on the lips to prevent transfer and increase durability, it isn’t an average lip fluid and therefore needs to be applied a little differently. Lip Stain performs much more effectively when it is pressed into the lips and is built up slowly rather than applying a lot of material in one application. This product is designed to have a matt, velvety finish. Applying a little lip balm before application can help to enable a smooth finish. Using a synthetic brush press the product evenly over the surface of the lips and repeat the process until the required density has been achieved. Lip Stain is a great product for long events like weddings and red carpets. I often use it as the base of my lip detail even if I apply a normal lipstick over the top, just so I have a solid base color that will last.
Head of Make-up Paul Merchant