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Market Relevance Of Lipstick Transfer Resistance

Market Relevance Of Lipstick Transfer Resistance

Link: Market Relevance Of Lipstick Transfer Resistance | PCM
By: Martina Heldermann, KahlWax, Germany

Lip products have been used since ancient times in order to enhance the appearance of the face. They impart colour and gloss to the lips, and re-define the outline of the lips.

The three most common products used to achieve these properties are lipsticks, lip glosses and lip liners. On average, women are more likely to be regular wearers of lipstick, while use of lip gloss and lip balm tends to be more occasional. Differences in usage are partly driven by age, as older women are more likely to be lipstick users while younger women typically favour lip gloss and lip balm. Older women are likely drawn to the familiarity and longwearing benefits of lipstick, and rely on lipstick in their daily grooming routine. In the UK 85% of all women use lipstick, in Italy 68%, in the US 55% and in Germany 47%. Seventyeight per cent of Chinese women aged 20-49, who use colour cosmetics, have used lipstick or lip gloss every time they used makeup during the last six months in 2015. Many women wear lipstick even when they use no other makeup.

Lipsticks and lip glosses represent a large portion of the colour cosmetic market. The modern day consumer is increasingly savvy and critical about the cosmetic products they use. On average they want the products to perform and for an acceptable price. This has always been the case, but, due to the ubiquitous presence and use of the internet, especially, in this context, the growing importance and influence of blogs, celebrities, tutorials, apps and social media, sharing opinions, where these opinions tend to be extremely important in the decision making process prior to buying a product, the importance of performance of cosmetic products has shown a strong increase in the last 10 years. The increasingly important ‘selfie culture’ is another force to deal with. The need for looking ‘camera ready’ at any time point in the day makes the average consumer more critical about the performance of their colour cosmetics as well. On top of that, especially due to the economic crisis the world has been faced with since 2008, the average consumer has shown increased interest in buying, what is called, mass market products. This goes for the colour cosmetics market too.

Application performance

As for product performance of lipsticks, during application, the product must feel smooth, but not greasy; it should adhere well to the skin of the lips and, during wear, the colour should remain stable and not smear or run. Additionally, a lipstick should remain on the lips as long as possible and not transfer from the lips to other surfaces. During application and daily use, lipsticks should not break when force is applied. However, a texture would, which is too hard will be too difficult to apply. As for its galenic properties, the stick should be free from blemishes and pinholes, which can be caused by, for instance, too much air in the molten mass when sticks are poured. This phenomenon is most commonly found in sticks with pearlescent pigments. In time, these properties of the stick should remain constant. Separation of oil from the formulations, a phenomenon called ‘sweating’ is another such characteristic of, what is perceived to be bad quality lipsticks, which should be avoided. ‘Sweating’ can occur due to ingredient incompatibility and insufficient solubilisation or can be caused by using waxes with too low oil binding capacity.

On a worldwide scale, the colour cosmetics market is showing small, but healthy growth, both volume wise and financially speaking. In the US, for instance, the colour cosmetics market in 2013 was worth $9.8 billion and it was estimated to be $10.1 billion in 2015. In this sector, lip cosmetics represented $1.37 billion in 2013 and was estimated to be $1.41 billion in 2015. Within the segment, lip makeup represents about 14% of the colour cosmetics market in the US. Nowadays, colour cosmetics are widely available and offered in all segments of the beauty retailing industry, from mass market to the prestige market. In this context, mass market colour cosmetics have changed their approach to the market, being offered now in a way which makes them look much more premium than before. This obviously appeals to many consumers, but this also increases the expectations the consumer has from these products.

The biggest market share for colour cosmetics formulations is found in the mass market segment. In general, lip makeup users are more inclined to purchase from budget brands when compared to users of facial and eye makeup. This means that formulation developers have to find reasonably priced and multifunctional ingredients to cover most of the above-mentioned required aspects. Especially transfer resistance is a desired attribute as it improves long wear and helps reducing rub-off. Indeed, in a consumer survey in the US in 2014, 61% of lip cosmetic users rank longwearing as important, with 22% citing long-wearing as their most sought attribute. In the conclusion of this survey, it was recommended that lipstick brands should continue to highlight long-wearing benefits. In the period between September 2010 and September 2015, globally, 39% of all lip colour cosmetics launched, claimed ‘long lasting’.

Natural resin

KahlWax uses a natural resin a so-called dammar resin which is obtained from Shorea genera of the Dipterocarpaceae family of trees in India and East Asia. The resin (INCI: Shorea Robusta Resin) is produced by tapping the trees and is then carefully purified. Blended with an emollient it acts as a film-former, provides superior gloss, and enhances adhesion on lips/skin and lashes/hair. It can be used as an alternative for traditional film-forming technologies which are polyisobutene and products based on polyvinylpyrrolidone (VP/Eicosene Copolymer, VP/Hexadecane Copolymer), or carboxylated resins (Acrylate Copolymer, Acrylate/Acrylamide Copolymer).

A comparative evaluation was conducted with a panel of 20 volunteers. They received seven lipsticks of which four were based on the same formula, no. 1 with 10% shorea resin, no. 2 with same percentage but of a volatile emollient, no. 3 with same percentage but of a synthetic polymer, and no. 4 without a transfer resistance agent and just 10% more emollient. The other three lipsticks were products bought in a drugstore out of three different price categories: Low end mass market (4 EUR), middle price segment (8 EUR), and a more premium brand (12 EUR). The mass market lipstick contained high amounts of volatile emollients as their INCI was straight in the first third of the ingredient list. The middle price segment lipstick had no film forming polymer or volatile emollient in the ingredient list, and the premium brand stick contained a known synthetic polymer.

The volunteers had to test the products by applying one per day, and to fill out a questionnaire (Table 1) directly after application and 2 hours later. In the meantime no eating, drinking, or kissing was permitted. The volunteers had to rate from ‘outstanding’ and ‘good’ over ‘average’ to ‘unsatisfying’ and ‘disappointing’. The lipsticks samples were just marked with ‘A’ to ‘G’and came all in the same packaging. Fours lipsticks had the exact same red colour and the other three lipsticks were in similar red tones.

Table 1. Questionnaire
Directly after application How uniform is the applied colour?
Has the lipstick a good coverage?
How smoothly does the stick glide over the lips?
Does the stick leave a sticky feel?
Does the colour film feel pleasant on the lips?
Is the colour glossy?
Two hours after application Is the colour still uniform?
How is the coverage?
How pleasant is the skin feel?
Do your lips fell moistured (and not dried out)?
Is the colour still gossy?

Each question resulted in a rating of points from five to one (five represents ‘outstanding’) and all the points from each questionnaire have been counted up giving every lipstick a total ranking number. Therefore 55 points would represent an excellent lipstick with overwhelming performance measuring up to everyone’s expectations. Analysing the answers, the impression is received that the long-lasting effect of the different sticks has been very differently perceived by the volunteers.

Trends of personal preferences are very obvious but it is very hard to find a correlation between the used or absent transfer resistance agent and the performance. Nevertheless it was obvious that lipsticks with high amount of volatile emollients feel after a while very dry on lips but show a very long lasting and robust colour. One lipstick was almost impossible to remove pleasantly; it stained the lips for the whole day.

Figure 1. Test results of natural resin formulas for lipstick.

Figure 1. Test results of natural resin formulas for lipstick.

The transfer resistance of a lipstick is influenced by many factors such as the used waxes, oils, and pigments. Therefore it is very clear that even a transfer resistant agent performing in some formulations very well cannot turn a miserable lipstick formulation into an eight-hour wear experience. If a lipstick does not provide a pleasant, uniform pay-off and has a low transfer resistance, it is more worthwhile to revamp the base formulation or reconsider the pigment selection than just adding a film-former.

Of course there are some tricks formulators can use. Using primarily fast spreading and light emollients helps to keep a thin film on the lips that the lipstick user tends to use up less.

It is also worth double checking the used pigments. The finer they are the better they usually adhere to the skin.


In summary, lipstick formulations need to perform, not just taking all galenic and subjective parameters into account, but long-lasting properties as well, and be economical.

The Shorea resin is not volatile and leaves a smooth film on the lips without drying them out. As it is just pale yellow coloured, it does not have an influence on a product’s colour even used in lip gloss formulas. It is a perfect compromise between an enhanced transfer resistance and a pleasant lip feel. It is clear soluble in some polar oils and emollients and compatible with most commonly used ingredients for lip gloss and lipsticks.


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