When I found out that Bite Beauty offered a customized lipstick mixing service at its New York City flagship, it seemed like the perfect indulgence after a long weekend of teaching. After reading multiple glowing reviews about the custom service, I wanted to see for myself what all the fuss was about.
Trekking through Nolita, we came upon a matchbox-sized store with a five feet tall lipstick illustration covering its entrance.
Once we’d stepped inside the glossy white walls, lipstick techs outfitted in pristine lab jackets left me with the sneaking suspicion that I’d just entered a mad scientist’s laboratory…dedicated solely to the art of lipstick.
Against the back wall, a massive floor-to-ceiling portrait of a model with heart candy puckered in her mouth took my attention. Bite is made in small batches of food grade ingredients but beyond the highbrow formulations lies a subtle playfulness that comes across in its ads.
As you can imagine, the customized lip color service is very popular and even on a Monday afternoon, there was a substantial line. I promise you, the experience is worth the wait, though (and there’s a gourmet chocolate shop tucked away next door if you need to kill some time).
The process for procuring a custom-made lipstick color goes like this: once you’re seated, a lipstick tech consults you on what lip colors you usually prefer. I told mine that while I love red and orange hues, I shy away from pinks completely. From there, he began precisely scooping small amounts of lipstick out of big, flat plastic pots and mixing them by hand until he got just the right hue.
Once the lipstick was on, I felt that it was a little too intense. The deeply pigmented red left me feeling more like Snow White and honestly, a bit too costume-y for my everyday life. Kat, Gala and June gave it the thumbs-up though and as I thought about it more, I realized that I didn’t own anything quite like it. Realistically, I didn’t need another neon-hued orange or soft neutral in my lipstick arsenal; this was something completely fresh.
Luckily, I found out that Bite offers their custom lipsticks in two formulas; the original, which is densely pigmented and then a lighter, glossier option. Since I wanted to get my wear out of it and not just save the shade for special occasions, I chose the lighter formula.
What I appreciated about the process is that it never felt rushed, even as the store filled up. The techs expertly brushed on their mixtures, handed us oversized white mirrors, answered any questions we had about the formula and fine-tuned the color further based on our responses.
Once your color has been finalized, the tech scrapes “lipstick bullets” off of a stack of cooled cookie sheets and, with black latex gloves on, blends the final formula (if you want to see the process in action, Gala made a mini video). And then, onto my favorite part: they ask you what fragrance you’d like added to the concoction. There are four options to choose from including peppermint, lavender, cherry and superfruit. After some debate, I finally settled on cherry because it reminded me of old school chapstick.
I watched my lipstick mix being carefully poured into a mold which was placed on a cold plate and less than 10 minutes later, I was being handed a package with my name handwritten across a tiny label. How’s that for service?
As we finished up, the results spoke for themselves: we all had very different outcomes that completely suited our preferences (and personalities). Bite custom lipsticks run $28.00 and I highly recommend this experience, especially if you’re looking for a fun way to spice up your beauty routine. Up until now, I’d considered custom-blended lipstick a luxury but for the care and craft that goes into these, I think it’s worth every penny.
All photos: June Cochran
Location: Bite Beauty, 174 Prince Street, NYC
* Note: I was not compensated by Bite in any way, I just think this is a service you should know about!