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I Designed My Own Lipstick at Bite Beauty Lip Lab

Updated on March 7, 2015
The recipe for my custom lipstick from Bite Beauty Lip Lab!
The recipe for my custom lipstick from Bite Beauty Lip Lab!

I had some awesome news last week and to celebrate, my friend took me to Bite Beauty Lip Lab in SoHo. I didn't know much about Bite Beauty Cosmetics at that point, but she filled me in; they specialize in cruelty-free, gluten-free, food-grade (because let's be real, we end up eating it anyway) lipstick, and they're normally only sold through Sephora. But in SoHo, a west side neighborhood in New York, there's a tiny little shop where you can design and mix up your own lipstick, customizing everything from the color to the scent to the packaging. Basically it's Build-a-Bear, but you get to put what you make on your face.

Bite Beauty Lip Lab in New York City
Bite Beauty Lip Lab in New York City | Source

Location, Location, Location

Bite Beauty Lip Lab is in located at 174 Prince Street. That's in SoHo, between Sullivan and Thompson Sts. It's really close to West Broadway, which was good for us because the shopping there gave us something to do while we waited for our call that we were off the wait list! Making reservations first is definitely ideal, but we ended up getting in about an hour after we got there. There's no waiting area and no bathroom at Lip Lab; seriously, it's really small.

As far as getting there goes, it's close to stations for the C/E and the N/R trains.

The shop itself is adorable. So colorful, and lined with truffle-shaped samples of their dozens of colors. The staff calls them "chocolates," and they really look like it.

Bite Beauty Lip Lab:
174 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012, USA

get directions

How it Works

When it's time to start, you'll sit down at a stool across from one of the Lip Lab Artists, who know the kind of sorcery that goes into precise color-mixing. First, my friend and I were given a lip exfoliator, which was gently gritty and smelled like cherries, and then a leave-on agave lip mask, to make sure our lips were at their best. Then the magic began!

First, she chose the finish that she wanted--you can get matte, creme, sheer, or a very fancy creme version that has silk powder and other beauty witchcraft in it. They all cost $36 (except for the fancy one, which is $48) and that price includes the entire consultation and mixing experience, so it's a pretty incredible price.

My friend wanted the matte finish, so our artist added a bit of the colorless matte-making bass to the clear plate in front of her to start mixing. My friend was looking for a dark red she'd tried to find again and again, that was deep but without too many purple or brown tones. The mixer knew exactly what she meant and got straight to work. She picked out two base colors to start with, smeared a bit of them on the plate, and started mixing.

The fun begins!
The fun begins!

The first shade the artist made was the right tone but a little too light. Our artist started right up again, adding some more of a different color for the second try, and this time it was absolutely perfect. If it hadn't been, the artist would have mixed more and more samples until it was exactly what she wanted.

The two shades mixed up for my friend. She chose the darker.
The two shades mixed up for my friend. She chose the darker.

Then it was my turn! I chose the luminous creme finish, because I like my lipsticks to be really hydrating. I usually wear coral lipsticks, now that my hair's pink again, but since I already have a ton of corals I love I wanted to try something different. I planned ahead and wore a fuchsia cardigan to the Lip Lab, and I asked her if she could match it.

And she did! The first shade she gave me was the same color as the cardigan exactly. But when I put it on my lips I knew it didn't translate quite as well as I'd hoped. A little tweaking, and...

Here she is beginning to mix the winning shade!
Here she is beginning to mix the winning shade!

Try #2 was perfect!

After that we got to pick our scents, which was possibly my favorite can choose between berry, citrus-mango, plain mango, vanilla, cherry, violet, and mint. My friend chose citrus-mango, and I went with citrus-mango mixed with cherry. It smells like something you'd drink on the beach.

Pick your scent!
Pick your scent! | Source

Then, our artist grabbed the right proportions from the case of lipstick "chocolates" and mixed them drops of our scents, then put them in the centrifuge so they could mix perfectly. After about a minute in there, she poured them into molds and put them on a cooling plate for them to harden.

While we waited, we got to choose what shape we wanted our case to be in. Some of the sources I'd read beforehand made it sound like the shape of your case influences the mold that they use so, therefore, the shape of your lipstick. Not true. It's purely an aesthetic choice, so i went with the dramatic swoop. It helps it stand out from the rest of my makeup!

Tube shape choices
Tube shape choices | Source

The people who work there are so nice, which is great since there's a fair amount of downtime while the lipsticks are mixing and cooling. We really felt like VIPs for the half hour we were there. We were so excited that they asked us where we were visiting from...we had to break the news that we were New Yorkers just acting like squealy tourists.

And then we were done! They gave us recipe cards (mine is pictured at the top!) with the formulas for our lipsticks on them, in case we ever wanted to get them mixed again. They packaged our lipsticks in pretty bags and told us we had to wait a half an hour for them to finish hardening fully before we could put them on, which was the longest half hour of my life.

Luckily, by the time I got home, the half hour had passed...and here's my lipstick!

Me in my custom lipstick! I must have taken about a hundred model shots of it that night.
Me in my custom lipstick! I must have taken about a hundred model shots of it that night.

And the quality? Amazing. i fell asleep without taking it off and it was still on my lips the next morning.

And my lips also smell incredible.


If you're a local or you're visiting New York, go to Bite Beauty Lip Lab! For $36, you get both an amazing experience and a fantastic product. Just be sure to make a reservation, or be prepared to do some shopping and Starbucksing while you wait like we did.

Have you been to Lip Lab? Does it sound like your sort of thing? Let me know in the comments!

My friend vlogged the whole thing!


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