A stick is a solid delivery vehicle cast in an elongated form. By rubbing a stick onto skin, a variety of cosmetic ingredients can be delivered, such as fragrances, coloring agents, and emollients. In particular, sticks are ideally suited to deliver insoluble substances, e.g., pigments.

The most popular cosmetic sticks are lipsticks and antiperspirant/deodorant sticks.

There are mainly three basic vehicle types of sticks:

1. Mixture of waxes (e.g., beeswax, carnauba) and oils (e.g., mineral, castor oil) that are cast into solid form, containing dissolved or undissolved active ingredients
2. Hydrophilic or aqueous sticks: solutions based on aqueous, propylene glycol, alcohol mixtures, solidified usually by sodium stearate, containing, e.g., aluminium chlorohydrate as antiperspirant
3. Matrix consisting of a high-boiling volatile silicone (e.g., cyclomethicone) gelled by fatty alcohol (e.g., stearyl alcohol)

In recent years, clear sticks have become popular. As a gelling agent, dibenzylidene sorbitol is used in propylene glycol or other related polyols.

Source: Handbook of Cosmetic Science and Technology - André O. Barel, Marc Paye, Howard I. Maibach