This month, Business Week provides a peek into the business end of Bésame cosmetics. Entrepreneur Gabriela Hernandez started the company with $1 million of her own money, brought the retro-inspired line to high-end stores such as Henri Bendel in 2004, and is set to do $1.7 million dollars in sales this year alone.

The story has plenty of advice for would-be entrepreneurs, but I was more interested in the accompanying audio slide show. It's a step-by-step tour of the lipstick-making process, from designing the tube to filling them with the finished product. (Remember the Sesame Street segment that showed viewers how crayons are made? It's a lot like that.)

To see a gallery and to learn how lipstick is made, read more

A more in-depth guide explains each tiny step, but here are some highlights:

  • The lipstick tube design is inspired by a lipstick case that belonged to Hernandez's grandmother.
  • After sketches are drawn, a 3-D prototype is made.
  • At the factory, custom-built molds hold 80 lipsticks at a time. The lipstick formula is heated, then poured into these molds before cooling on a frozen table.
  • After the lipsticks are inserted into their tubes, they're flamed to create a high-shine finish.