As you may be aware I spent most of the Summer in New York City and truly had the time of my life: the people, the places, the food and the shopping (oh the shopping), was nothing short of fantastic and offered a totally different experience to what I am used to at home. Speaking of which, in New York there is the unique opportunity (I'm told such concept is also coming to Toronto, Canada) to create bespoke lipsticks, via the Bite Beauty Lip Lab NYC; an opportunity too tempting for any beauty addict to pass up on, and as such I booked an appointment to create the custom lip shade of my dreams - or at least that was my intention.
The store itself is located on Prince Street (a bustling street with plenty of boutiques and places of interest) and is striking with lots of bright, lip based art and installations - it almost has a high end boutique vibe, and doesn't give off the impression of being a micro-factory, which in essence is exactly what it is. As the Bite Beauty Lab process is an appointment only experience, you never run the risk of attending an over booked session and should in theory have the undivided attention of a dedicated staff member. Sadly that is not how my, or many others - a quick Google search flagged up similar experiences - Bite Beauty Lab session played out.
After watching a gaggle of YouTube videos, I fully knew what to expect in regards of my appointment - I would sit face to face with a Bite Beauty Lab staff member, describe my dream lipstick and they would do their best to create, said custom shade. To extent this is what did happen but not with ease; I went in store with visions of mixing up a light, milky blue toned pink and a creamy, mid-toned nude. Did I get either shade? Kinda.
I must stress, I'm not grumbling about lack of idle chit-chat, I didn't pay close to £100 for an extended conversation about the weather, or where I am from; rather I'm flagging up that I was very seldom asked if I liked the shades that where being mixed up in front of me, let alone if I'd like them to be deeper, lighter or altogether different. It seemed from the get-go, that my opinion on what I would like was not a priority, which is all too evident when you see my finished product. I was told that I didn't understand what a blue based pink really meant (8 years of wearing MAC Angel would suggest otherwise) and that a creamy pink wouldn't be flattering - a.k.a I'm not mixing that up for you. Cool. Thanks for making me feel both stupid and that I am a nuisance for daring to ask what I have paid for, Bite Beauty Lab.
In the end, after five variations of each shade where created I picked the most wearable and left it at that, far from happy or excited, basically I had given up as much as trying. Now I know what you are thinking, why didn't you speak up? Well I was with my sister and as it goes we booked the Lip Lab experience for her Birthday, which such day happened to be. Fortunately my sister's lip stick making session was a little better - her final lipstick (deep purple) was beautifully made (no cracks or weird indentions like my lipstick which you can see above), she got to make as many amendments as she deemed necessary and in general wasn't rushed into picking a shade she wasn't comfortable with, which I am beyond happy about, as it was her day. Had this been a different day, week or month, I would have spoke up - I'd have stood my ground and would have demanded that my less-than-perfect lipsticks were re-made on the spot. That's the beauty of hindsight though isn't it? If you are wondering where my nude shade has go to, the answer is at the bottom of a trash can somewhere in NYC - a few days later after the conception of such shade, I decided to try it out and found that it was brick solid and impossible to apply.
If you do get a more patient lip lab employee, the whole process is pretty enthralling, little blobs of cream pigment are mixed together in front of you, in order to build a shade custom for you and only you. The shades of pigment of the final shade are then jotted down on a chart, so you can return and re-create such lip colour should you wish - it goes without saying I won't be back. Then using chunks of solid pigment - that look more like sweet treats than make-up - the staff blend them together with a blend of natural waxes, oils and fragrance. In less than 20 minutes - thanks to the in-store technology - not only is your shade mixed, but also melted, poured, set and ready to go; it is suggested that you do allow any newly created lipstick a few hours to fully set before application. It really is a clever concept and something that I do deem a great innovation for the beauty world but the devil is in the detail. I think that Bite Beauty need to address any inconsistencies for this to be the stellar experience they promise, and of course to create repeat customers.
After such a poor experience, you'll forgive me for being less than enthralled about the entire Bite Beauty Lab process; I am by no means discouraging you from trying it out for yourself - like I said some staff members are more enthusiastic than others - rather I wanted to share my warts and all experience so you know what to avoid. What I do suggest is taking along some photos (screenshots that sort of thing) of the shade/s you aim to create, don't settle for what the Lip Lab employee deems to be perfect fit and don't accept a poorly poured finished product. If you do all of the above, I'm sure you'll walk away far more satisfied with your final lipstick/s.
Have you been to the Bite Beauty Lip Lab?
If so, what was your experience and what type of shade/s did you create?