The Chemistry of Lip Gloss


Lip gloss is a glossy liquid that moistens and can sometimes protect your lips. It comes in various colors and flavors, and sometimes even contains sunscreen! I chose to research lip gloss because it is a part of my everyday life. Lip gloss affects my life daily because it keeps my lips from drying out.

Composition of ...

Most lip glosses are composed of polybutene, a liquid, and hydrogenated polyisobutene, an oil that prevents water loss. Other ingredients in lip gloss are mineral oils, petrolatum, titanium dioxide, and many other chemicals that are hard to spell. Lip gloss can even be home made.

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

  • Polybutene and hydrogenated polyisobutene are the two main components of lip gloss.
  • Polybutene’s formula is C4H8.
  • Hydrogenated polyisobutene’s formula is C4H7.

Chemistry's Role

Polybutene is made by the cationic polymerization of butylene that contain mixed C4 feedstocks. The C4 feed streams are treated and purified to remove sulfur and other elements. It is then fed to a suitable reactor and mixed with a Lewis acid catalyst system while under pressure and temperature in order to produce the polymer grade. The mixture exits the reactor and the catalyst residues are removed. The polymer mixture is then distilled to produce a light and a heavier polymer stream. The light and the heavier polymers are each produced for different products.

Hydrogenated polyisobutene is made from cat cracker mixed C4s.

Lip gloss is man made and chemistry plays a role in it because van der Waal forces and hydrophobicity play a part in making lip gloss. Van der Waal’s force involves the attraction between non-polar molecules. The interactions between the wax/grease molecules help to form a solid barrier to water, but wax and oils repel water.

Background Research

Lip gloss is made in factories all over the world. It is designed to give lips shine and color. To make lip gloss, petroleum jelly is first melted. Then, flavoring is added to it until the two substances are melted together. They are then set to cool before they can be used.


-ingredients in lip gloss

-how lip gloss is made

-the role of lip gloss

About the Author

Sierra Schantz is a junior at Billings Senior High school. She enjoys track and field and she loves music. She plans to attend college after graduating high school