Jan 2, 2018 | By Julia

As 3D printing rapidly takes over the fashion and design worlds, a new research investigation from the London College of Fashion is showing that cosmetics may not be far behind. As published last week in the scientific Journal of Dermatology and Cosmetology, the study titled “Exploring the use of 3D Printing Technology in the Fabrication of Personalised Lipstick Applicators” makes a convincing case that 3D printing presents a viable makeup source for a future of personalized cosmetics. And in that future, FDM printing and PLA filaments will likely be at the forefront.

a participant's lips (left) and the digital image model rendered by scanning

Focusing specifically on the growing niche of personalized lipstick applicators, authors Milica C Stevic, Peter Hill, and Slobodanka Tamburic of the College’s Cosmetic Science Research Group explore and test the potential of different 3D printing techniques and materials for this new application. Specifically, the researchers hone in on Stereo Lithography Technology (SLA) versus Fused Deposition Modelling Technology (FDM), as well as three different materials for making the personalized applicator: Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), Polylactic acid (PLA) and a clear Formlab resin.

In all cases, the lips of study participants were 3D scanned and made into a digital image model. The individual images of the participants’ lips were then transferred to 3D computer graphics software Autodesk 3ds Max, at which point they were subjected to a lengthy process of optimisation and modelling.

“It was envisaged that to obtain a personalised lipstick applicator, three elements would be required: a lipstick mould, base and cap,” write the authors. In the interest of selecting the most suitable 3D printing technique for producing a personalized lipstick, the researchers opted to use clear V2 Formlab resin at 0.1mm thickness as the selected printing material for the SLA printer, whereas ABS and PLA filaments were used for the FDM system, at 230°C and 210°C printing temperatures respectively. The plastic resins were extruded in a single mode of printing (with a single layer height of 0.10 mm) coupled with a high resolution printing quality.

personalized lipstick elements 3D printed in clear resin (left) and ABS

After producing the moulds with the three separate materials, each was filled with a lipstick formulation, then sealed and placed in a fridge for a period of 15 minutes. Only after removing the moulds did the researchers find that the PLA lipstick applicator was the sole iteration which yielded successfully detached personalized lipstick. While the ABS version proved to be usable, retrieving the lipstick from the mould presented a problem, as it was not consistently successful. “In the case of the clear resin applicator,” the researchers explain, “lipstick could not be created on a consistent basis.”

3D printing techniques and materials aside, perhaps the most intriguing result from the study is the entirely new model of applying lipstick presented here. In defiance of the traditional application method, which relies on the wearer carefully tracing a straight tube of lipstick along their lips, the London College of Fashion study develops a personalized lipstick applicator in which the wearer presses a sculpted lipstick surface onto their lips, depositing a uniform coating of lipstick. The method could potentially even remove the need for a mirror.

Overall, the results were conclusive: “it was shown that [as] a novel, bespoke, cosmetic product for the lips, a personalised lipstick applicator can be produced successfully using 3D printing technology.” The FDM technique and PLA material proved to be the most effective in making personalised lipstick compared to the other studied techniques and materials.

the final lipstick product in PLA, achieved by FDM printing




Posted in 3D Printing Application



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