Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Bite Lip Lab: Creating My Own Shade Of Lipstick!


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My experience at the Bite Lip Lab: creating my unique shade of lipstick!


The first thing I did when the dates of my recent trip to New York were confirmed was to book an appointment at the Bite Beauty Lip Lab. To be honest I don't remember where I first heard about this place - I think I've known about it for a couple years - but I always kept it in mind for my planned NYC vacation.

I had been wanting to go to New York since I moved to the US 4 years ago, but something always got in the way until this June! And there's the fact that NYC isn't actually much closer to San Diego than it is to Paris... call me a dummy but I didn't realize how big America was until I first drove from home to San Francisco! Short trip on the map, but not so short when you have to drive for hours and hours through California's Central Valley...

Anyways, I'm sure you've heard of Bite Beauty, a brand sold at Sephora that specializes in lip products made from food grade ingredients. The Bite Lip Lab is a place where you can create your own unique shade of lipstick, which is then hand-crafted on the spot so you can go home with your customized tube. The only Lip Lab in the USA is situated in SoHo, a trendy neighborhood of Manhattan, so it's the perfect stop during a day visiting the area. Walk-ins are possible but it's better to book your appointment online, which is what I did. I reserved my spot about a month in advance, and while week days were still wide open, weekends where already filling up.




My experience at the Bite Lip Lab in New York: creating my unique shade of lipstick!
That's me working on my lipstick color on the left!


When I showed up for my appointment I was actually the only customer in the Lab, and I was quickly sat at a lipstick crafting station. Each station has a large mirror plus a hand mirror, makeup remover, cotton pads and tissues. On the table in front of me were more than 30 little jars containing different creamy colors, from black to all possible shades of pink you can think of. You don't actually get to mix your shade yourself, a makeup artist is assigned to you and does the work based on your requests. She was using a metal spatula to get color out of the jars and mix it on a rectangular transparent plastic palette, with a sheet of white paper underneath so the colors would show.




I was pretty excited to create my own color of lipstick, but I have to say that the makeup artist who worked with me, although very nice, was less than enthusiastic. I didn't get the feedback I was hoping for from her and it affected my experience. I thought it was going to be really fun, but I felt like she wanted to be somewhere else during the whole process.


My experience at the Bite Lip Lab: creating my unique shade of lipstick!


I didn't have a very clear idea of what shade I wanted to create in mind, but I was thinking about a red with shimmer, something like the discontinued Nars Misbehave lipgloss in a lipstick form. I was informed that they only have one type of shimmer (i.e. not different sizes such as micro-shimmer, sparkles...) and only 3 shades of it: gold, white and pink. So if you're hoping to create a fun lippie with blue shimmer, nope! (I love blue shimmer). I decided to go for the gold shimmer, but I was also told that they couldn't add too much of it because if they did the lipstick wouldn't pour properly during the hand-crafting phase. Their shimmer is extremely fine, and while it adds luminosity it wouldn't really show up on the lips, except when she added a ton - and then the lipstick turned completely metallic.

So I settled for a moderate amount of gold shimmer and a sheer finish, then we starting working on the shade of red. After mixing colors she would let me try it on with a disposable doe-foot applicator. Man it's hard to apply your lipstick well with those flimsy things, and I was super conscious of butchering my lip line every time I tried a new shade on, lol! I think the embarrassment influenced my decision to choose a sheer finish... Originally I wanted to go for a cherry red, but I kept asking the artist to make it warmer and warmer, until we got to something very orange. Then I also tried a neutral nude, just for fun, and it was actually pretty nice. Eventually I picked an orange-red that I thought looked the most flattering for everyday wear.


My experience at the Bite Lip Lab: creating my unique shade of lipstick!
My "palette". The shade I picked is the second from right.


The next step was to choose a scent/flavor. They had a few different options and everything smelled really nice. I decided to do a cherry-violet cocktail, because why not! While the tube itself is the classic Bite black lipstick packaging, you can also choose between a handful of caps with slightly different shapes. I picked one that looks like it was pinched at the top. I was hoping to be able to name my shade and have a sticker at the bottom of the tube with it, but no, the label just says Sheer Creme Lipstick.


Bite Lip Lab: available flavors for your lipstick
The different flavors


The manufacturing process was pretty straightforward and quick. The artist told me that I didn't have to stay and could just come back later to pick up my tube, but I really wanted to see how it worked! First, she put together the right amount of pigment and the sheer lipstick base in a small bowl - both come in the form of small balls that look like wax, the size of a bite-sized chocolate truffle. Then she warmed them up (in a microwave I believe?) for just a few seconds and mixed them together well, and added the shimmer. At this point she did a swatch of the color on my palette to make sure the shade was exactly the same as what I had created. Then she poured it in a mold made of two separate parts, and put it on top of a freezer for a few minutes (not inside the freezer). When it was ready she removed the top part of the mold, and inserted the frozen bullet in the tube by pushing down and twisting (I would so destroy the lipstick at that step!). That was it! I was instructed not to use the lipstick for 30 minutes because it was still very cold.


Bite Lip Lab: making the lipstick
The mold, with the top half off in the bottom picture


The price of a session to create a lipstick is $45, and it should last under 30 minutes (I think the color creation process didn't take more than 15 minutes for me, plus less than 10 for the hand-pouring). Since I wanted shimmer, which is an add-on, I paid a little over $50 for my lipstick. Yeah that's a bit steep. You can also have 2 tubes made of your unique color for $60, and they keep your recipe on file so you should be able to order a new one if you run out.

Now let's have a look at my shade! One thing I noticed is that the color looked darker and more intense when I was trying it on during the creative process. It makes sense: you're applying it like liquid lipstick, using a lot more product than you do directly from a lipstick bullet. That's something to keep in mind when you create your shade.


My experience at the Bite Lip Lab: creating my unique shade of lipstick!





It's a little patchy when swatched, luckily it doesn't look like that on the lips


Wearing my unique shade of Bite Beauty lipstick:
a luminous, sheer warm red for everyday wear


Overall

While I'm really glad to now own a unique lipstick shade that I created myself, the experience wasn't exactly what I had hoped for. It was still fun and also very interesting for me to observe the process, but the artist being so withdrawn I never felt really comfortable being there. Because of that the session felt overpriced. I would do it again, hoping to get a more engaging artist - I think I could have a blast with someone that guides me better.


What do you think of my lipstick shade? What should I name it?



Shop Bite Beauty lipsticks



The product featured in this review was purchased by Lulle. I received no compensation to write this post, which only reflects my personal opinion. This post contains affiliate links.



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