Sorry for the absence – I’ve been on vacation, and instead of at least pretending to work, I worked on my tan. Well, hey – the weather was spectacular, and after all the events of the past year, I really needed to chill out. So now, for the first time in ages, I actually have a tan in the middle of summer (Don’t look at me like that, it’s a gothic Capricorn thing – somewhere between moonbathing and work is play, ya know?)
But now that I have a tan, I need a new lipstick, and the color is going to be tricky. We red-lovers don’t just switch because the seasons change – no, we look for a red that works with a tan. And that’s not easy, especially for a finicky makeup artist.
Hearing about Bite Beauty’s summer pop-up Lip Lab on Prince Street, my hopes for a perfect summer red are raised. I like Bite’s products – they’re made with food-grade ingredients, and their packaging is clever and beautiful, so the main thing is just getting the color right. Can we do it?
I show up at the Bite Beauty Lip Lab and meet Brooklyn, the expert in charge that morning. I see that one of the consult tables is right at the window – a good sign, and while we start talking I park myself there for the best light.
I tell Brooklyn about my quest, and that I loved Bite’s Tannin, but wanted something that worked with a tan. He told me he knew a great way to make it work: mixing the Tannin with Scarlet, a deeper color that was sold in limited edition, but is not in the line now. Brooklyn mixed a small sample, and it was perfect – a nice, deep red with a lingering warm red stain.
Brooklyn heads over to the bakery racks containing all the Bite Beauty “truffles” – little pods of lipcolor laid out in sheets – while I choose a fragrance. (I choose violet – it’s really subtle and sophisticated, though brighter flavors like peppermint and cherry are available as well.) After it’s all melted down, he puts the mixture into a centrifuge to get all the pigments mixed perfectly.
When the mix comes out of the centrifuge, Brooklyn pours it into a lipstick mold and sets it onto a cooling table, which is a frosty -18 degrees C – not cold enough to burn you if you touch it (I did), but it cools the metal mold quickly. The lipstick bullet was ready to go in about 5 minutes. I chose my lipstick cover as Brooklyn fitted the bottom casing over the new color.
And voilà! My new color: a beautiful deep red that’s deep enough to work with a tan (and not too purple or brownish, either.) I thought we’d be mixing all day, but Brooklyn tells me that consults usually last around twenty minutes – less when customers can tell him what they like, as I did. And he’s keeping all his recipes on file, for when there is a computer database (which is rumored to be coming, along with a more permanent residency…)
Custom lip colors are things of beauty: yes, it’s fun to be surprised by what the cosmetic companies come up with, but sometimes we just want that one particular color. Bite Lip Lab will be closing later this summer (with a rumored reopening – watch for it), but they hold events at Sephora locations, so if you find them, check it out.
And one more thing: here’s a video they made of the process:
Bite Beauty Lip Lab: 174 Prince Street, NYC, open from 11 AM – 7 PM, Tuesday-Saturday, 11 AM – 5PM Sunday. 646-484-6111