I had the amazing opportunity to visit the Bite Beauty Lip Lab in New York about a month ago! I went into thinking I’d create my “perfect nude” and “perfect red” (remember that series?).
My mom did it with me, and she wanted two create two lipsticks: one for my grandmother who is devoted to the discontinued MAC lipstick icon. I talk a lot in my reviews about overused or highly dupable shade, but unfortunately for my grandmother (and me because I’m searching for it) icon is very much a unique silver metallic with lavender undertones (see Temptalia’s post here). My mom also decided to make herself a lipstick, but she hadn’t decided what color.
There are lip labs in Toronto, and New York, where I went. There used to be one in San Francisco, but it has since closed.
Overall, I really liked the experience. Read on for my tips and suggestions!
Quick note: all of these photos were taken on my phone so please excuse poor quality. I’m also going to blur out the faces of people in these photos to respect their privacy.
Bite Beauty offers two types of lipstick creation services.
Custom Lipstick | $55 for 1 lipstick | $80 for 2 lipsticks |
- First you pick your own shade from nearly 200 available pigments. You do not get to mix shades.
- Second, you select a finish: glossy sheer, matte creme, and amuse bouche (same as the line Bite Beauty sells).
- Third, choose a scent: cherry, mint, vanilla, citrus, mango, violet, coconut, wild berry, and fresh citrus
Bespoke Lipstick | $150 for 2 lipsticks |
- First, a lip lab artist will help you mix the pigments to get your ultimate shade!
- Second, you select a finish: luminous, matte, and sheer cuvée
- Third, choose a scent: cherry, mint, vanilla, citrus, mango, violet, coconut, wild berry, and fresh citrus
- With this service, you get a free lip kit! Mine came with a mini agave lip mask, a mini lip primer pencil, and a full size whipped cherry lip scrub.
- There’s also a cool lipstick tube with lips on it.
My mom and I picked the bespoke service, because it was a special event for the two of us. My mom also had to do the bespoke service to match my grandmother’s lipstick.
We made a reservation to ensure we could do it, which you can do by calling the lip lab of your choice. There is more information available here.
I wanted to come a little early so I could swatch things (shown above is the Nearly Neon Fuchsia lipstick). They had available the Nearly Neon lipsticks (swatches), the new Amuse Bouche liquified lipsticks (swatches), the lip pencils, and the Prismatic Pearl lip glosses.
After the people making their lipsticks finished and my mom and I sat down at the counter. In front of each of us there were jarred pigments, a makeup remover, cotton pads, scents (for the lipstick), tissue (in back), and a garbage.
To begin the lip lab artists gave both my mom and I a lip scrub to smooth our lips, followed by a balm. Then we began.
I wanted a nude lipstick, but I didn’t have any greater specifications than just that. My artist began by mixing a rosy nude for me. I love rosy nudes, however I also have approximately 10,000 of them. I wanted this nude lipstick to be different from my other nudes.
Meanwhile my mom’s artist was trying to match the lip color. The issue with matching that lipstick is that it was metallic, which Bite Beauty doesn’t do. Instead, the artist mixed in a silvery shimmer, except that skewed the color. They went back and forth a lot, because as I mentioned above– icon is unique.
The next lipstick she mixed was brown, and I thought it washed me out. After that we were back to rosy again and my lipstick was going nowhere.
What I really wanted was for the artist to tell me which nude would be best for my skin tone, but she said she didn’t want to tell me what to wear. It was her job to create the lipstick I wanted not the lipstick she wanted for me.
While I understood that, it was a little frustrating because I kept searching for some guidance with the nude lipstick. I’d ask “what do you think?” or “how does this look?” and I wouldn’t get any helpful answers. My mom had more issues with this than I did because I had a better sense of what I wanted. My mom just knew she had to match my grandmother’s lipstick and nothing else. So when it came time to make her lipstick, she wanted someone to help her match a lipstick to her skin tone and eyes or some level of a custom lipstick for her, which she didn’t get. I think if you go into this service preparing for a makeup artist level of customization, you’ll be disappointed. Before you visit, I recommend you think about the lipstick(s) you want. Do you want a brown nude, a purple, a light red, a bright pink, or what other color?
Finally I made progress when I said I wanted a shade that was “my lips but better.” We got it on the second try after that.
The red was much easier. The first one was a deep red that looked wonderful, but it wasn’t the bold red I wanted. The second one was bold and bright, and the third was what my artist called a “summer red.” It was a lovely nude-pink shade that I almost wish I got because it’s not a shade I’ve found anywhere else. I have mixed it myself using RMS lip2cheek in demure, Julep it’s balm in almond nude, and Urban Decay vice lipstick in EZ, 714, and disturbed.
On the reds, my artist was super helpful. She advised me to pick the bold red over the deeper one because it was a good first red lipstick to pick. It was also more of what I was searching for– a true red. I’m now on the hunt for a summer red too though!
From the finished sheet of lip shades, I picked London fog and dragon blood.
We did start to get crunched for time at the end. Because we were one of the last appointments of the day, I felt our artists began to get a little tired. I began to feel pressured to pick a nude, and my mom felt really pressured to pick a lipstick. She went for a deep red too because she figured it was a color she wouldn’t typically pick.
Then we selected the scents. I picked vanilla and violet for my nude lipstick (I wanted a bit more of a gentle scent for the gentler lipstick) and wild berry for my red. My mom picked vanilla for my grandmothers lipstick because her artist said that’s the closest to the MAC scent. For her red lipstick, she picked violet.
The one thing to keep in mind is that the scent is pretty strong in the lipstick. You can definitely smell it as you open the tube and when you first apply it to your lips.
After I picked my final shades, the artists each went to these racks with chunks of pigment. They selected the colors corresponding to the jars of pigments and melted them down to get the same shade.
Mine turned out perfect, but the lipstick for my grandmother was way different from the one that the artist mixed. I think because it was so hard to get close enough and it was so close to the end of the day, the artist sort of gave up. The color we ended up with was nothing like the swatch above on my mom’s sheet. That was the most disappointed because we though we could get really close to matching her lipstick. Unfortunately, we have to keep looking.
After the colors were melted down, the artists poured them into moulds and set them on top of a frozen sheet. We waited for the colors to freeze and then one of the artists took a spatula and scraped off the upper layer of pigment. There was some melted pigment left over, but I assume that just gets thrown out.
Then they put tubes over the frozen bullets and pulled them out of the mould. The tips of mine were a little mangled, but that didn’t translate to any issue with applying them.
After they pulled the lipstick from the mould and put it in a nice container. You can’t use it immediately because the lipstick is frozen solid and will break if you try to apply it. We had to let it defrost. They suggested 15 minutes (or so) but I let mine sit until the next day.
I wore the summer watermelon shade out because it was such a nice color!
Now for the nicer quality photos!
I talked about what I got in my New York Haul post here. I love the way they packaged it up with this beautiful lipstick tissue paper and nice bags that say Bite on the side.
I tried my hardest to get these home without squashing the bag. I think I mostly succeeded!
Aren’t those tubes beautiful? They’re like the Amuse bouche ones except with little lips along them. That’s unique to the Bespoke service. The tissue paper also makes an awesome photo backdrop.
Inside each bag there was two boxes with sliding containers. Both of our lipsticks were within! The only bad part is there’s no way to tell apart the two lipsticks without opening them. I just hope I don’t accidentally grab a red lipstick instead of a nude when I’m running late!
With the lip kits, we each got the following:
- One sample sized Agave lip mask
- One sample sized lip primer (no sharpener)
- One sample sized whipped cherry lip scrub
I’m loving the lip scrub, which surprised me a little because I really hate cherry scent. One thing to keep in mind is that this is a fairly gentle scrub, and it’s not a sugar scrub. It’s got particles in a moisturizing balm that exfoliate, but it’s not going to be as harsh as a sugar scrub. I love that, but I know not everyone will.
I haven’t tried the primer enough to say what I think of it. I like the lip mask, but I don’t find it extremely moisturizing. It’s like a nice thick gloss.
With your lipstick, they also give you cards with your lipstick combination on it, finish, scent, and name. They do have this information on file under your name, so if you wish to reorder your exact shade, you can. It costs $60 (I think) to reorder without going into store and repeating the whole experience. I’m not quite sure, so I emailed Bite Beauty (firstname.lastname@example.org) because there was no information on the website, and will update this post when I hear back from them!
Update: If you did the custom service, it costs $55-80 to replace your lipstick ($55 for one, $80 for two). If you did the Bespoke service, it costs $60 per lipstick to replace it. The best way to reorder is to email bite beauty with your lip color combo (the sheet pictured above) and they’ll be able to replace it!
Lastly the swatches! The top one is the shade for my grandmother and the one below that is the shade my mom picked for herself. Below that is my “perfect red” and then my “perfect nude.” I’ve been wearing my nude quite often, and I love it! The formula is a little drying, but it truly is a beautiful color!
Here are the color combos for anyone interested!
Mac Icon dupe (ish): brown + silver shimmer glossy
Mom’s shade: 1/2 121, 1/4 tan, 1/8 scarlet matte
Dragon blood: 1/2 307, 1/8 121 matte
London fog: 1/2 nude, 1/4 musk, 1/4 rose, 1/8 brown cuvée
You still with me?
I thought I’d end this post with a few tips for anyone considering a visit:
- Go into your appointment with an idea of what you want, regardless of whether you’re doing the bespoke service or custom service. I wanted a red lipstick, that I’m planning on wearing for the first time once my braces come off. I also wanted a perfect nude. Think about what you want out of your session and what colors you want and I think that will enhance your enjoyment.
- I really enjoyed the Bespoke service and I had a lot of fun getting to adjust my own colors, however it is really pricy. Besides the lip kit and different tubes, the difference between the two is small. If you choose the custom service, don’t feel like you’re missing out on the full experience. You’re still picking your own shade and formula, you just won’t be able to fine tune the colors in the same way.
- This is a great thing to do with friends, or as a mother-daughter trip! It’s a super fun experience to have!
- If you go to the one in New York, the sushi place across the street is awesome! Sorry, I had to include that!
Overall, I had an amazing time and am so grateful for my experience! Thank you to everyone at the Bite Beauty lip lab who helped me and my mom make our lipsticks!
This experience was paid for and not gifted for free.
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Read more about my affiliate link/PR samples policy here.
Check out more on the Bite Beauty Lip Lab here!
You can call 646-484-6111 to schedule a reservation!