Finding the perfect lip color is like swiping through Tinder to find true love. Or just a cute date. Mostly disappointment. Quite a bit of suspicion. Some indecision. And when you finally swipe on one that seems right, you wonder if it’ll last through the day. Or if it’ll even make it through coffee.
Well, even if you don’t get to custom-make a lover, you can custom-make your very own lipstick at the Bite Beauty Lip Lab in New York, Toronto, San Jose, and San Francisco! There are three custom lipstick experiences to choose from.
“Custom Lipstick” Option #1: Choose a shade from 200 pre-made colors. Choose a finish (glossy sheer, matte creme, amuse bouche). Pick a scent (cherry, mint, vanilla, citrus, mango, violet, coconut, wildberry, fresh citrus). $55
“Custom Lipstick” Option #2: Same as above, except you get to choose two shades and make two lipsticks! $80
“Bespoke Lipstick” Option #3: Same as above, except you get to work with one of Bite Lab’s lipstick genies to create two of your very own shades! Comes with exclusive lip kit that includes: Whipped Cherry lip scrub, Agave Lip Mask, and Line & Define Lip Primer. $150
The Bite Beauty Lip Lab Experience
I received the Bespoke Lipstick package (Option #3) from Take Risks Be Happy as a special gift, and headed over to the Beauty Bar Lip Lab at the Westfield Valley Fair Mall in San Jose, not knowing what to expect. I was super excited to create something completely my own, but also scared I was going to devolve into an indecisive nervous wreck in the face of infinite options…literally!
Before the appointment, I exfoliated my lips to get rid of any dead skin and put on some lip balm to moisturize. Honestly, I felt pretty naked without any color on my lips…
I walked into the Bite Beauty Lip Lab, which is located next to Hugo Boss in Westfield Valley Fair Mall. I was immediately greeted by two friendly Lab specialists, Katie and Judy, dressed in impeccably chic black outfits. At the time, I knew I wanted to have a go at creating a my-lips-but-better color for me. I always felt like “nude” colors wash me out and pinky-pinks look garish on my skin tone. Nothing ever worked perfectly for me and I would find myself grabbing a sheer gloss when I wanted a more natural look. So my go-to was always a red lip, which I feel brightens my complexion and complements my dark eyes and dark hair. I told Katie that I wanted to create an every day, my-lips-but-better color, something warm, rosy and soft, with minimal brown tones.
Katie was confident and knowledgeable about the colors and what would look good with my skin tone, which immediately made me feel at ease. There is a tray filled with pots of pigments with delicious names like Rhubarb, Chestnut, and Pecan, that would be used to mix and match to create just the right shade.
Katie introduced me to the 3 finishes of lipsticks:
- Sheer Cuvée: Bite’s most popular finish. It’s NOT sheer. I would describe it as a full coverage, satin finish with a subtle sheen. It’s comfortable to wear and not drying, although not particularly moisturizing either. Mimics the finish of your natural lip.
- Luminous: Similar to sheer cuvée, but with more shine. Not glossy by any means, still full coverage, but a little more “dewy” looking than sheer cuvée.
- Matte: Also called “Comfort Matte.” A moisturizing, semi-matte finish. Quite comfortable to wear. Definitely not your traditional Kat Von D liquid lipstick type of matte. There’s actually a bit of sheen, less than sheer cuvée.
The “finishes” come in little round blocks that are mixed in with different colors to make a little swatch. Then the color is applied with a doe-foot applicator. Katie wrote down the colors, how much she used, and the finish for each formulation. She was really quite intuitive with what I wanted and tweaked the color until it was just right.
The first was a little too brown, the second a bit too orangey, and…perfection on the third try!! She made sure I was completely happy with each color and we also experimented with different finishes. It’s surprising how the color and the vibe changes when the lipstick is done in different finishes. The winning combination for My-Lip-But-Better: 1/2 Apricot, 1/2 Rhubarb, 1/4 Rose Cuvée with the sheer cuvée finish! Natural and rosy, almost like my lips are blushing 🙂 Perfect for an every day no-makeup makeup look or to balance out a more dramatic eye.
After getting the color just right, we moved on to creating the second lipstick. I ended up just trusting Katie to make a color that she thought would complement my skin tone. And she did just that! We concocted a bright but wearable, juicy watermelon shade with warm undertones that looked just like spring. I chose the Luminous finish for a little more shine to liven it up.
Now for the fun part! Lipstick making!!
One of these little blobs + a finish cube (luminous, matte, or sheer cuvée) makes two of the same lipstick. Katie slices off the correct portion of each color and mashes them together. Then, the concoction is placed in a machine that spins super fast and melts the colors and finish together in a creamy, even goop.
I also get to choose what scent I would like my lipsticks to be. The scent is created by using drops of essential oil and the best part is, I can mix any of the oils I want for a custom scent. For the My-Lips-But-Better shade, I chose mint + wildberry and for the Juicy Watermelon shade, I chose mint + mango. Yum!
The liquified lipstick is then poured into metal molds and placed on top of a machine to cool. Two of the same color is poured, just in case one of them comes out wonky. The machine itself is extremely cold, and is able to solidify the lipstick in around 5-6 minutes. Easy!
The plastic lipstick tube is then placed over the lipstick itself. Annnd…*drumroll* The finished product emerges!
I know that the Bite Beauty Lip Bar experience is in large part determined by who you are teamed up with at the store, and I am so thankful to work with Katie (and Judy!), who was patient, knowledgeable, and fun to work with. I definitely recommend either of these ladies if you decide to visit the Bite Beauty Lip Bar in San Jose.
Tips for Your Visit
- Exfoliate and moisturize your lips before your appointment. You don’t want flaky lips for something like this!
- Bring something to touch up your foundation for after the appointment. Yes, your foundation will be swiped off when you’re taking off one lip color and putting on the other.
- For the San Jose location, go in on week nights! I was the only person there at 7:30pm on a Thursday. That way you’ll get the full attention of the lipstick genie, and the full experience 🙂
- $150 is not cheap. Go in with an idea of what you would like, what look you are hoping to achieve with these lipsticks, or just come prepared to share what color lipsticks you usually like to wear. This will minimize stress, gives the staff some idea of the direction you want to go in, and make your experience as useful and enjoyable as possible.
Lipstick review coming soon!