Cosmetic pipette stem

In Depth: Cosmetic Dropper Pipettes (Part 1 of 3)

Pipettes are widely used in both the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries - but while there's a lot of information for the pharmaceutical industry, it can be hard to get your questions answered when you're talking about skincare! Hence this three-part series covering technical aspects of cosmetic pipettes.

The Pipette Tube

Exploded Pipette Diagram (Bulb, Collar, Stem)


The Pipette Tube, also known as the Stem, Pipette or simply the Glass Part, is the component which draws the contents of the bottle up when the bulb is squeezed. It must be the correct length to suit the bottle, so that it is long enough to get all of the liquid out of the bottle; however it can't be too long as this could cause it to touch the bottom and possibly break. The tube also needs to be the correct diameter, so that it can fit a pipette wiper seal, if one is being used.


There are many different variables to take into consideration when it comes to choosing the right pipette for the job, such as: tip type, material, graduations and recyclability; all of which are discussed below.


Tip Types


There are five widely-recognised tip shapes for dropper pipettes, which are:

  1. Bent Ball (or Bent Spherical)
  2. Bent
  3. Blunt
  4. Ball (or Spherical)
  5. Straight shown in the diagram below:


Pipette Tip Types


The most commonly used types in skincare are the straight tip (#5 above), and the bent spherical (#1 above), which you will find in the Richmond range. The straight tip gives a sleek, precise image, while the bent spherical provides a slight medical connotation for a number of users - the bent tip is also designed to help you get the last few drops out of the bottom when you tilt the bottle. Raise a glass to good old-fashioned 'no waste' thinking!



The most common types of materials used in pipette stem production are glass (usually clear - either soda lime glass or borosilicate glass); and polypropylene (PP), a recyclable, strong yet relatively soft plastic, which is resistant to many chemicals and other substances.

Most of the pipettes in Richmond's range currently utilise the bent-tip clear glass stems.

GL18 Cosmetic Pipettes

Browse our unique and extensive range of glossy, metallic, smooth wall pipettes.

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Push Button Pipettes

Button dropper pipettes add some elegant design lines to the pipette silhouette, whilst still providing the precise function.

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Graduations - markings on the side of the stem to show how much liquid has been drawn up into it - are a good option for anything requiring a precise dosage. While pipettes do have some level of inaccuracy, they do give a very precise, 'medical' image to skincare products. This is because they can be applied topically with a great level of control and accuracy by the user about exactly where they want the product applied. Opting for graduations can help to enhance precision, and in some cases is very useful - for example, when products need to be accurately dosed, such as tanning drops into a cream or when there is CBD content within a formulation.

It is your choice whether you want volume markings like this or not, but in many skincare, pharmaceutical, tanning or CBD applications, the style of application is enough, without having exact volume markings on the stem. As well as this, you can calculate the volume per drop and use this as a dosage guide, without the need for specific graduations on the stem.




It is worth noting that with regard to the recyclability of pipettes, there are very few recyclable (mono-material) options available in the market, and generally, the stem, bulb and hole-cap are each made from a different material.  The stem, being usually made from either PP or glass, would be recyclable on its own, but in the hands of consumers, it is fixed together as one whole, with a holecap made of a different material, and the soft bulb at the top made from a third material. Therefore the pipette component as a whole is correctly defined as 'mixed materials', so not recyclable. If you can provide clear instructions for disassembling the pipette into its individual parts, then the individual parts (if made from PP, or soda lime glass) may be recyclable on their own.




Feel free to reach out to the Richmond Technical specialists to discuss pipette options in more detail. We're looking forward to presenting you with Part 2 and Part 3 of this series soon, to cover the other components within the cosmetic pipette story.