Blooming Lipsticks

We make natural all oil and wax lipsticks, no water.  When we use the lipstick right away, they are fine and have no blooming issues. However when they sit for a few months and are not used, they bloom. They have white fuzz on them. We make them up fresh now for our customers which solves the problem but we will be wholesaling soon and can't afford to have the products bloom on retailers shelves. What can we do to prevent this problem.  Many thanks in advance!


  • Sounds like a preservation issue. Have the "bloom" analysed to see what it is.
    Design of anti-aging creams, gels, and serums; shampoos; and therapeutic cosmetics. In-house label and box design capability.
  • Hi Belassi,

    There is no water in the product so it doesn't need a preservative.  I will send it off to have it analysed though. Good idea!


  • Cindy - Just because a formula doesn't have water doesn't mean it doesn't need a preservative.

    Moisture can easily accumulate on the surface of your lipstick and if there is no preservative, microbes can grow at the interface.

    If product safety is a consideration, there is no good reason not to use a preservative in every type of formula.
  • That is good information Perry.  I will add a natural preservative and test the shelf life. Is there any specific preservative you recommend for lip products? I have been using Aquaguard K12 for general skin care formulating.
  • Aquaguard K12?
    Design of anti-aging creams, gels, and serums; shampoos; and therapeutic cosmetics. In-house label and box design capability.
  • Aquaguard NK12
    INCI: Aqua, Sodium benzoate, Potassium sorbate Microformulation Cosmetic Consulting provides Custom Formulations for both large Commercial accounts as well as smaller entrepreneurs. We can provide Naturally compliant Formulations under the NSF, NPA, Whole Foods and USDA Organic Certifications.
  • Thanks @Microformulation. The company needs to do a better job with SEO because if you type Aquaguard K12 in Google, nothing cosmetic related comes up. It's a water treatment material.

    @cindyhr - if the pH of the water in your system is >5.0 then that preservative won't have much effect.

  • The "white fuzz" may well be mold. You really need to send it out for micro testing.
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • Aquaguard K12 sounds like Schulke's Euxyl K712
    UK based, Over 20 years in Toiletries, After a 5 year sabbatical doing cleaning products, back in the land of Personal Care
  • I realized that this product can't use Aqua Guard because it is all oil based. I cannot find a preservative without parabens that is oil soluble. I am going to try using a anti microbial like tea tree and substituting much of the wax for Makigreen Velvet Wax which inhibits microbial growth.

    If this doesn't work I guess I will have to use an emulsifier to add in a water based preservative. I may need to change the formula to include more water or maybe glycerin?
  • Sorry, I meant that the product is all oil based and Aqua Guard is water soluble.

  • I have no experience with lipsticks but in general, I should think that the bloom is more likely to be fungal than microbial. I'd get it tested by a microbiology lab asap. Meanwhile, what to use? How about phenoxyethanol? That's solvent in oils. I'd be very wary of using Tea Tree oil on the lips. There are plenty of other EOs with antimicrobial/antifungal activity. Also bear in mind please, although we call them "oils" they aren't really; they are very complex molecules and may not necessarily disperse in a lipstick in an even manner.
    Design of anti-aging creams, gels, and serums; shampoos; and therapeutic cosmetics. In-house label and box design capability.
  • edited January 20
    Phenoxyethanol isn't stong on molds.
    I'd use propyl paraben, an oil soluble paraben.

    Edit: I just looked it up, up to 0,3% is safe in lip products.
  • "I cannot find a preservative without parabens that is oil soluble."
    The OP wrote this so I assume they don't want to use parabens.
    Design of anti-aging creams, gels, and serums; shampoos; and therapeutic cosmetics. In-house label and box design capability.
  • edited January 21
    So customers rather have mold blooms than safe parabens... amazing.

    I wonder what it is during the manufacturing process that makes an unused lipstick moldy?
  • edited January 21


    We make them up fresh now for our customers which solves the problem

    I don't think so. Your formula is still the same, right? Can you guarantee that the customers can use it as long as the PAO symbol on the label indicates, say 12 months or so? If you already have mold problems while it isn't used, guess what the customers will have at home?

    I wouldn't want to sell it if I knew the formula wasn't safe! You're playing with your customers health!

  • Thank you Belassi for the good information. I purchased the formula from a company that had been in business for 13 years selling this lipstick with no problems. 

    I want to make sure the shelf life is at least one year. Doreen our customers will absolutely not by a product with parabens. They are looking for natural so I need a natural or plant based solution if possible. Phenoxyethanol would be fine but it sounds like it isn't strong on molds.
  • Thanks for your help and suggestions everyone. I truly appreciate the time you took to help me figure this blooming problem out. I found out that the white film is not mold. It is oxidation of the powders when the lipstick in unopened for too long. It is not dangerous, just not pretty. 

    I research over twenty natural lipsticks on the market and could not find a preservative in any of them unless the company used a complex formula which included water. 

    I found that a competitors product, which I purchased at Sephora, had the exact same white film on it. I had not used this lipstick in months. I contacted the company to find out what it was and if it was safe to use. They told me that the lipsticks will oxidize if they are not used for a few months. It is being in the dark container that causes the powders to do this over time. It is perfectly safe to use. Problem solved!

    I'll be adding the special wax to our formula which helps to prevent oxidation of our lipsticks.

  • Glad you figured it out!
  • @cindyhr
    Good to see the problem is solved and that it wasn't microbial contamination!

    Parabens actually are a 'plant based solution' (e.g. raspberries, blackberries).
    Here's a good read about parabens. Too bad the majority of the customers probably won't believe the truth anyway...
  • dear  @cindyhr,
    When clients' demand made me eliminate the use of propyl paraben in my lipsticks (oil soluble, excellent choice by the way),i had to pass a ANTIMICROBIAL PRESERVATIVE EFFECTIVENESS TEST with other preservatives. I had   tests with phenoxyethanol, which has some minimum solubility in oils.
    it seemed that it passed the challenge test of 28 days.
    On the other hand on what you see as bleeding, I noticed this in lipsticks that were refrigerated to get the mold cold, for a long time. this phenomenon is like a crystalization in a molecular stage,so, some of the raw materials of the lipstick formula, go out and bleed as a white powder. I had tests for molds, and went out negatives.In my case not a chance of oxidation, as I use Vit E, and B.H.T. in the formula.
    I dont know if i helped, this is what i saw in my case, which in an initial stage, terrified me a lot.

  • @marytsiang
    I suppose you don't use tocopherol and BHT together in one formula?
  • @Doreen81 indeed i use them together sometimes. BHT and a mixture of tocopherols(among them  A&D). Is there anything wrong?
  • @cindyhr what wax did you use in your lipsticks to stop the blooming? And did you find that it worked for you?
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