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A few weeks ago I had seen on Yahoo this title: Print-Your-Own Makeup: 3D Printer Brings New Cosmetics Innovation. Of course it immediately caught my eye and I clicked on it, skimmed through it, and bookmarked.  Then last week, the lovely FrivolousFringe wrote about it and beat me to the punch. 

If you haven’t heard, Grace Choi, a Harvard Business graduate, presented her new invention at the Disrupt New York conference with Mink, a personal 3D printer that makes custom cosmetics in the comfort of your own home.  When I read the article, one of the first things I thought was yes! I will invest in this! As a makeup artist that is slowly building a clientele and base, something like this is not only a great investment, but also a money saver.


Mink is being marketed as an easy-at-home makeup color producer.  It works by pulling any color of your choice, insert the desired color into any photo program, and press print.  In a few minutes you have your own eye shadow, blush, foundation, and even lipstick in its own pot. Sounds pretty amazing right? Plus, at a tentative $300 price, I don’t see why this wouldn’t work.  What you’ll need is special ink and special paper in which you’ll be printing on.  She also assures that the cosmetics used are all FDA approved as well as being the same type of products that major makeup producers use. The only thing we won’t be able to know is just the quality of it.

Of course all of this new technology and innovation was met with some buts in the way.

Many have started asking questions like “would I really want to put printer ink on my lips?” “What about wearability?” “What about high end ingredients?” An expert in leading cosmetic chemistry was asked about his opinion on this new 3D printing technology and makeup and he was quick to say the following:

… I think it is far from actual implementation, because Choi does not have a cosmetic chemist’s grasp of the underlying technologies required to make this work. … many of the colorants that are used in makeup are mineral pigments, iron oxides, ultramarine colorants, etc. These are insoluble powders, and are not nearly the same as the liquid colorant solutions that are typically used in CYMK-type inkjet printers. And there are special effect pigments, micas and similar materials, to give sparkle and shine…how do those get included?

Now, we have to understand that this is coming from a cosmetics chemist.  This is someone who is used to making and mixing everything together.  I was actually saddened to read that an idea like this, which is exactly what it is, an idea that can definitely flourish, is almost immediately being discounted as something that is going to be extremely expensive to produce not only to Grace but also expensive to the consumer to purchase.  I understand that this is something that Grace has most likely thought of, but again, this is just a baby still, and I don’t think that people in the “industry” are giving it a chance.

This is really a great idea, and I’m pretty sure that Grace has a lot of work ahead of herself with this.  I only wish that instead of being met with a lot of negative comments, it should have been received with an open mind.  Yes, I understand that this could be something pricy, in a sense of buying high-end bases for a high end eye shadow, but c’mon! We’re already buying palettes that cost us in the upwards of $50.00! Why is it so hard to be able to buy and invest in something that you can always have a just a click of a button?

I believe that the industry giants are scared of what this can entail…. they should be.  If Grace finds an investor that is willing to see this as it is, speak to cosmetic chemists to find a way to incorporate how to add the micas and special pigments (which seems what they’re focusing now as the “negative” of this) and really find ways to make this more sustainable to incorporate a large range of what type of cosmetics you want, high-end or drugstore, this can be a huge success.

What do you guys think? Think this is something that can actually take off? Do you think it’s too much of a hassle to even bother of doing your own makeup? Do you think this would just be a waste of invention, time, and money?

xoxo
Lola

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