Earlier this week at TechCrunch Disrupt, Grace Choi presented an idea for a product that could revolutionize the beauty industry.
Choi's concept, Mink, is basically a 3D printer. But it prints makeup. Choi explains that it has the potential to turn "any phone, laptop or camera" into a beauty aisle. Choi was at Harvard Business School when she realized out that the makeup industry, as she puts it, "makes a whole lotta money on a whole lotta bullshit." Companies charge a premium for color. Makeup is cheap at Walmart, but you won't find all the colors you can get at more expensive stores like Sephora.
Mink allows a user to create an eyeshadow/blush/lipstick by selecting the pixel of any color. You could take a picture of a dress, or a couch, or a bird, use Photoshop or some other software, select the hexcode for that color, and then print it. The ink is FDA-approved, and Choi explains, "The inkjet handles the pigment, and the same raw material substrates can create any type of makeup, from powders to cream to lipstick."
While the price of Mink — it's starting at $300 — is pretty high for Choi's target market (girls between the ages of 13 and 21), think about it this way: If you bought ten Dior lipsticks over the next 2 years, you'd be spending $320-$360. In any case, it's an interesting idea; who doesn't love customization? Being able to have makeup unique to your own skintone — or bring back discontinued colors, zombie-style — or experiment with colors you'd never find in a store — sounds really great. In Choi's words:
"What we're doing is taking out the bullshit… Big makeup companies take the pigment and the substrates and mix them together and then jack the price. We do the same thing and let you get the makeup right in your own house."