August 31 2014

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Give ‘Em Lip


Bite Beauty Lip Lab

Finding the perfect lipstick that encompasses the ideal shade, texture, and finish all in one tube is never as easy as it seems. In fact, it’s often hit or miss whether you can actually find what you have in mind at the makeup counter. And with brands constantly refreshing their spectrum of colors, once you find “the one,” it’s never guaranteed that it will still be for sale when you wear it down to a nub. There are a few companies that offer shade-matching services (in which you send your precious leftovers off via mail), but Bite Beauty’s Lip Lab offers consumers the opportunity to participate in the process by creating their own bespoke bullet on-site.

The pop-up store the brand opened mid-May in Soho was so well received that the Canadian company set up a permanent shop this month—revamping the space from floor to ceiling to include stainless steel countertops fitted with light boxes (optimal for blending the gluten-free, food-grade pigments), as well as expanding the options available to customers. In addition to the existing range of hues, it included colors normally only available to cosmetic chemists, such as blue and yellow, which can be used to punch up the standard burgundy or red. While only four essential oils (cherry, mint, lilac, and superfruit) were previously available to scent your concoction, the company added two more fragrances (vanilla and mango) to the line. Another added benefit is deciding on the level of opacity and shine you desire: matte, luminous crème, sheer, or crème deluxe (infused with Japanese silk).

With trained makeup artists on site, you can opt to do the mixing yourself or leave it to the pros while you keep an eye on the process. Once you’ve finally devised your unique hue (mine was a moody bordeaux tinged with violet), the pigments are melted, blended with the oils in a centrifuge, poured into a mold, cooled on plates at -2 degrees Fahrenheit, extracted, and put into a soft-touch tube. It sounds complicated, but the entire process takes approximately ten minutes. You can even rent out the space on Thursday and Sunday for a flat rate ($500 per hour, for a maximum of two hours) and host your own lipstick soirée—giving a new meaning to the notion of cocktails with friends. But with the lab hosting only two of these events per month, you better start planning now. I have a feeling snagging one of those coveted slots will be tougher than getting a Cronut from the Dominique Ansel Bakery up the street.

$36 per lipstick ($48 for the crème deluxe finish), 174 Prince Street, New York, NY, (646) 484-6111.