Did you know there is a place in New York City that will whip up any variety of lipstick you want in under 20 minutes? BITE Lip Lab in Soho is bringing us the future of makeup shopping with a walk-in mixing bar, at which you can get the ultimate custom-made lipstick shade that’s really you. I’m not just talking reds and pinks—this place has every shade of the rainbow, plus four formulas to choose from and six different scents.
Fresh moulded pigments categorized by shade
The BITE Lab has been around since early last year, but the modest-sized space was renovated recently. There’s a glass cabinet displaying chocolate truffle–shaped pieces of wax in various shades on little trays, along with lipstick-making kiosks, and seating throughout. It all gets you really excited about color mixing, and getting the chance to play makeup-maker!
Ranging from $36 to $48 apiece, a custom shade at BITE won’t set you back more than any luxury brand lippie would. But will it live up to all of your expectations? I brought in a discontinued color I love in hopes of recreating it. I assumed that might be a challenge, but it turns out these lipstick geniuses can mix up a shade to match nearly anything—from a favorite pair of shoes to a flower petal discreetly plucked from the florist up the street. Here’s how my experience went down.
Ask BITE to remake my favorite lipstick shade—a very particular orange-toned red left over from the early ’80s.
Stella’s beloved vintage lipstick, a red-orange from Halston, in its original tube
A Lip Lab expert named Brooklyn began by spreading a small sample of my beloved vintage lipstick on a work surface. He then pulled four jars of color—“pigment suspended in wax,” he called it—from a display and with a tiny spatula began to mix an identical shade right before my eyes. “Most of our employees have a background in art, so we have a great eye for color,” Brooklyn explained. It’s no joke. He matched the color better than I ever could have, and in under ten minutes.
Color tests including the original shade, circled in silver, and the finished BITE version, filled in on the second pair of lips
Once we were happy with the shade replica, I followed Brooklyn to another station, where he asked me to choose between four finishes (Sheer, Matte, Luminous Creme, or the vitamin-boosted Creme Deluxe) and a variety of fragrances. I went with Luminous Creme to match the basic finish of the original lipstick, and a violet fragrance. Brooklyn melted down the pigment with the fragrance and finish, and then quickly poured the hot mixture into a lipstick mould. Within minutes our new lipstick was unmoulded, snapped into a BITE tube, and sealed into a box.
The melted custom formula is poured into the mould
The finished product, Stella’s freshly made, custom lipstick in the signature BITE tube
The shade is an exact match to my vintage lipstick, but with updated into BITE’s long-lasting, moisturizing formula. I also got a handwritten formula card with the color recipe, so when I’m itching for a refill I can drop in and have a new tube mixed on the spot. For $36, I’d say the price is right for a lipstick made fresh, my way (plus the fun experience!).
The two shades side by side in their tubes and swiped on Stella’s forearm (BITE on the left. Halston on the right). Perfect match!