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Posted by andriantoangkadirjo85 on October 23, 2011

– What do people use for making up small test batches of cosmetics (liquid, emulsions, etc.)?

– Is there an alternative to the kitchen blender?

– In formulation development, would it be better to have a homogenizer or a mixer (or both)?

– My company just willing to order mixer for making perfume (liquid). Now, I”m just wonder several things : What is the rpm of the mixer? also about the type of blade, what is the best type to get homogenous liquid ? And what else to watch?

– I’m just wondering what’s the most efficient type machine used for loose powder/compact.  Is it a combined homogenizer and mixer?

– I’d like to know if we can manufacture stable emulsions on an industrial scale without using a homogenizer of rotor / stator type. In this case what type of mixing device must be chosen  (shape, speed, diameter..ect)?

– Would like to get a decent filler and some type of homogenizer or mixer for lotions that I don’t have to stand there and hold the whole time.

– I have to get some kind of mixer but not “lab” sized and not huge manufacturing size. Stinks to be stuck in the middle but that’s the reality of it. I would like to get something I can stick in the kettle with the emulsion and let it stir constantly to help cool and homogenize the mixture. I would like to do at least 5 gallons at a time (which is about all I can lift to put in the filler hopper). Please someone give me some advice on this. I have a very limited budget right now and I want to get something that will help make my life easier and my products faster ASAP!

– What would the correct type mixer / emulsifier be combined with a filler? I’m just not completely sure what I need but I am under the impression that a larger stick blender is not the correct type of mixer for making lotions and creams.

– I have a manual filler that works for now, but I have to make larger batches faster so I can be more efficient with my time. Any brands you recommend?

– We’re looking for something to either put on a stand or clamp onto the mixing vessel. I just want to make sure these are not “too” powerful or have the wrong blades for emulsifying and continuous mixing.

– If anyone knows of a link to videos showing how larger manufacturers fill paste-like granular products into jars I would love to see it

– Is the agitator a must in lotion making ?

Here’s just some example questions I collect to show how important these equipments in cosmetic production.

I have my own experience. Trying to copy nail polish product, I start creating  a formula, gathering raw material and creating prototype . At last I realized that it’s impossible for me to make nail polish product since I don’t have high-shear disperser nor miller/homogeniser.

high-shear disperser is needed to form gel of suspending agent not ‘hand blender’

colloid mill is needed to process this pigment not just ‘mortir’

According to their functions, we can divide these equipments into several categories, namely :

1. Equipment to process color cosmetics.

This equipment in the grinding process used to reduce colors, pigments and other color additives ( except pearlescent effect pigments ) down to their primary particle size of 3-5 microns.  You don’t want to grind pearls because a reduction in their particle size reduces or eliminates their visual effect. Grinding pigments is the most important part of producing color and decorative cosmetics.

The equipment available to perform this grinding process varies greatly in both function and cost. They are dependant on the particular type of product or its application. Different equipment is needed if you have a dry powder, a free-flowing liquid, or a viscous paste. These physical forms are all very similar as they are all dispersions of insoluble pigments in a suitable solvent vehicle. This dispersion, once it is ground, is then combined with the proper internal or external phase in the case of emulsions, or blended with other components – mica and other fillers for powder-based products, or waxes and oils in anhydrous lip products and other lipophilic one-phase systems. Even though a lipstick is a hard solid at room temperature, color is added as a dispersion usually in castor oil.

Let’s start with the easiest – lipsticks and lip glosses. These are usually one phase anhydrous hot pour systems with one major ingredient that is usually the main solvent in the system. It is this ingredient, usually castor oil or lanolin oil, which we use to grind the pigments. For this grinding process we can use a 3-roll mill or a ball mill/bead mill. They each have a totally different operating method but the end result is still the same – a nice smooth paste free from particulates, specks or color streaks. To achieve this, sufficient oil is used to completely wet out the pigments and the dispersion is usually passed through the mill a minimum of 2 times to sufficiently grind the pigments. This dispersion is then added to the remaining ingredients in the formula, and heated to a suitable temperature to allow for uniform mixing and homogeneity.

milling color – 3 rollmill

3-roll-mill in process

threerollmill theory



bead-mill theory

For powders, which are dry particulate systems, a different type of grinding and dispersing method is required. Here the pigments are blended with either talc or a mica or sericite and then ground with hammer mill or a canister type vessel with an internal high speed intensifier bar. This also requires 2 passes to break down the pigments to their proper particle size. In the hammer mill, the force of the hammers moving in a circular motion grinds the pigments and forced the dispersion through a screen with small hole usually 0.100 inches. This screen usually has circular holes to allow the powder to pass or openings with a herringbone pattern.

hammer mill



hammer_mill theory


The next, and probably the most critical process, is that of grinding pigments for emulsion-type products. Here the liquid vehicle is critical in determining which phase the pigments are to be dispersed. Here, no matter what the liquid vehicle, colloid mills and even ball mills can be used to grind the pigments. After the grinding process is complete and the dispersion is free of any unground pigments, this dispersion is added to the proper phase and the batch process is continued to completion.


A colloid mill’s grinding mechanism involves a rotor and a stator. As the names imply, the rotor rotates at a high speed and the stator is a stationary piece. The gap between the rotor and stator can be closed to within thousandths of an inch so that the grinding process can take place. In a ball mill, dispersions pass through a canister of tiny balls. The material that the balls are made of can differ depending on hardness desired and what materials you are grinding. They can be made of metallic or ceramic material. The friction of the dispersion passing between all the tiny balls creates the grinding mechanism. This type of milling as compared to a 3-roll mill is more effective in color development depending on the types of colorants being ground. Organic pigments usually develop better in a ball mill. Ball mills can also generate some heat in the grinding process so precautions should be taken in order to prevent solvent loss when working with volatile materials.

In my own experience when dealing with the nail polish, the milling of the pigment should use this kind of machine so the particle size is around 5 microns and they will easily kept dispersed in the product ( increase the stability ).

2. Equipment to mix, dissolve or disperse

They just used for mixing liquid, dissolve solid material or dispersing solid phase in liquid phase. In dispersing, the particle size down to 30 microns.

propeller_mixer for mixing liquids


hockmeyer mixer-disperser

disperser blade

cowles dissolver



dispax reactor

dispax reactor diagram

The DISPAX REACTOR is a high shear, three stage dispersing machine for the production of micro-emulsions and very fine suspensions. Three rotor-stator combinations (generators) in a series produce a small droplet or particle size, with a very narrow distribution. The generators can be easily interchanged, offering the ultimate in flexibility.

3. Equipment to homogenize

There are also homogenizers that can be used and are ideal for making dispersions or products uniform and homogeneous. They smooth out the product and reduce emulsion droplet size (emulsifying). This is also important for good product stability.



silverson homogeniser head

So that’s it for now. If you read this article and have comment pls write down below.

andriantoangkadirjo85 bottom line 

– It is very important to determine the specific application and needs before you go and purchase an expensive piece of machinery. You don’t want to spend all that money and the equipment just gathers dust because you purchased to wrong model and use it once every 6 months or so. You want to purchase the right model so that you can work with it every day

– You should also shop around to get the best price for the particular piece of equipment that will work best.



  1. Hitesh said

    ABF is one of the most experienced companies engaged in the Manufacture and Supply of Industrial Processing Machines & Equipment. Having wide range caters to variegated requirements in different industrial sectors ideally. The products in our array include Reaction Vessel, Ribbon Blenders, Agitators, Chemical Vessels, Limpet Coil Reaction Vesse, Resin Plants, Nutsche Filter Dryer , Roto Cone Vacuum Dryer (RCVD), Rotary Vacuum Paddle Dryer, Vacuum Tray Dryer (VTD).

  2. Enjoyed Your Perspective

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