3D Printing Meets Makeup

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What if I told you that you can print out a specific color of makeup you wanted and use it right there and then? 3D printing is all the rage right now and an entrepreneur is seizing the opportunity to incorporate cosmetics in this market. With the Mink (a makeup printer!), you can pretty much snap a color, print it out, and wear it… Just like that.

You think I’m kidding? Check out this video!

Make sure to check out the demo from 03:17 – 05:17, your mind will be pretty blown.

If you didn’t watch the video, let me give you a quick run-through of the Mink. The Mink is a makeup printer created by Harvard Business School grad Grace Choi. This printer allows you to capture a color to use as eye-shadow, lipstick, or blush. The printer prints out powder or cream consistencies by taking the color you chose and blending it with the substrates and the ink in the printer.

So you’re surfing Pinterest, Tumblr, or Sephora and you see a really cool makeup color—electric green, vivid yellow, bright fuchsia, candy apple red—and you think “Wow! I really want to try out this color, but I’m not sure if it will look cool,” or “This will totally match my dress, but I only want to wear this color once…” Both thoughts end with “Well, I don’t really want to spend $10 - $25 on an eyeshadow or lipstick color that I’ll never really use.” If you have the Mink, all you have to do is use a color-capturing device to get the color and then you print it via the makeup printer for the color you were ogling. Instant gratification!

“We’re going to live in a world where you can take a picture of your friend’s lipstick and print it out,” Choi says.

The printer will be about $300 and then each additional unit of substrates and ink will be commodity-priced. Choi is targeting us (13-21 year olds) because we live for pinning and Instagramming, and with one click, we can have that color printed out. Mink takes the difficulty of going out and trying on daring colors and brings it to the comfort of our own homes. The price tag is a bit steep for the non-working child, but if you save all your allowance and forgo a VIB membership at Sephora ($350/year), you can soon have the Mink and print out all the cosmetics you (and it) can handle.

My only concern is about the quality. I love my foundation (which will be an added feature to the Mink) because it has it all: age-reducing benefits, vitamins, oil-control, and the perfect color tone. It took 10 tries for me to find the right consistency and shade of foundation. The Mink will be beneficial for the daring individual who wishes to try out all the colors or the girl who just does not want to take a trip to the local Sephora, but unless there's a way to incorporate a lot of extra things (such as vitamins or SPF), then the Mink will not be able to make a huge rift in the billion dollar makeup industry. 

Nevertheless, the Mink is a really cool invention that is changing how we buy, use, and think about beauty and technology.

“The definition of beauty is something that [we] should be able to control, and not our corporations,” Choi explains as she ends her presentation.

Choi holding up the finished product from the Mink.

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About The Author

Elodie is currently enrolled at Duke University, Class of 2016.

She is involved in her sorority, Chi Omega, Bench & Bar, GlobeMed, and Students of the Caribbean Association. She is pre-law and studying Political Science with certificates in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) and a minor in Sociology. As one of our Beauty School bloggers, she is fairly obsessed with all things makeup and cosmetics. When she's not running debt on clothes and makeup, you can usually find her out and about, exploring whatever town she is in or watching Netflix cuddled with a mug of hot chocolate. Currently, her favorite show is "Hawaii Five-O". She aspires to be the next Olivia Pope and Annalise Keating rolled into one, but with a stable marriage and children.

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