Since I saw photos of the Bite Beauty lip lab in New York City I’ve been dying to try a custom blended lipstick ~experience~. You get to go along and they work with you to blend a lipstick to your exact preference and then put it into a tube right there for you.
Then a few months ago I was invited to the opening of Blend Beauty, a custom lipstick and foundation blending experience at Dollface Beauty Hub in Lower Hutt. Custom lipstick right here in the city I grew up in! And it’s a local business!
So obviously getting a custom lipstick blended is super fun, but it has some other advantages too. If you’ve ever felt like you can’t find just the right red or nude or whatever for you, this is the way to try a few iterations and adjust it until you get something perfect. Or if you have a lip colour you love but it’s discontinued, the team at Blend Beauty can whip you up a match. And did I mention it’s really fun? And cheaper than buying a MAC lipstick, even? (It’s $37!)
So for $37 you get a half-hour appointment to blend the colour of your choice. (My appointment was free, but I’d still go do it for $37!)
Matty, my lipstick-blending-consultant-assistant-guy (I don’t even know what his job title would be?) was super friendly and entertaining and made it an extra fun experience. It’s very interactive, because you’re picking colours and trying them on and constantly revising, so it’s pretty important that the person you’re doing it with is a good time.
He asked what kind of shade I wanted and frankly I hadn’t considered it much (because it was Saturday morning and my brain hadn’t woken up yet) but after thinking about the many shades of pinky brown that I already had, I decided to go for something more fun instead and suggested we do a “deep dark” shade.
Matty picked a deep warm red-brown to use as a base and started mixing it up on the palette. All the pigments are set out in front of you to choose from and are based on lipsticks from the Dollface line, so if there’s one you like on its own, you can just buy that (but that’s no fun!)
The mixing is super satisfying to watch and I kind of wish I had got to do it myself… but I guess I can just squish up some lipsticks at home if I really want to.
Matty then added a raspberry shade and some royal blue, consulting with me all the while. I think we could have started a bit deeper because I kept saying “more blue! more black!” but to be fair, I think when most people say they want a deep dark shade they don’t want as deep and dark of a shade as I had in mind.
I got to try the colour on (with a disposable lip wand) at every stage throughout. One thing I really appreciated was that at no point did anyone talk about what was flattering. This was my lip colour to make and the choices were up to me.
When the colour finally done, Matty scraped it into a bowl, melted it up and then it was time to choose a fragrance. I’m not particularly bothered about what my lip products smell like, but when the opportunity to add a sweet caramel scent arises, that’s not something you pass up. (The other Blend Beauty scent choices were vanilla, cherry blossom and melon, but the caramel scent was by far the best.)
The lipstick was poured into the mould and went into a fridge to set for a bit. I don’t have a picture of the pouring part because I was juggling my camera and my phone trying to document the experience for the blog with my camera while posting to my Instagram story with my phone… and I picked my phone for the pour. (I’ve been posting Instagram stories heaps lately, so go follow me there if you don’t already!)
After the lipstick is all set up (well, almost all set up—they suggest not using it from the tube for a few hours while it’s still hardening) it goes into a gold leopard-print tube. So you do end up with a proper lipstick, not just some pigment scraped into a tiny jar. The mould is exactly the same kind that gets used for “real” lipsticks.
You also get to name your lipstick! I’m atrocious with names—I hate titling essays or articles I’ve written, so I thought this part would be agony. As we were blending the colour, though, we were talking about how it looks like the colour of ink that’s leaked out of a ballpoint pen, you know, blue where it’s concentrated and purple where it’s thinner. So the lipstick is called Biro. Idk if that’s a cute name or cringy or what, but nothing could be as cringy as the names of Shaaanxo’s lipsticks, so it’s fine.
I also somehow forgot to take a good photo of me with the final lipstick colour on, except for the selfie on the right which I took at 9 o’clock that night, so almost 12 hours after I applied it, with no reapplication! (The selfie on the left is one of my earlier iterations of the lipstick, before it was dark enough.) But anyway, the formula—it’s firm but not stiff, still comfortable on the lips, but lasts for dang ever. You can see it’s wearing off a bit in the middle of my lips there in the second photo, but that’s after eating and drinking and having a nap so like, that’s perfectly acceptable.
Your Blend Beauty lipstick even comes in its own box! It’s a nice finishing touch that makes it feel like a real lipstick—I mean, it is real, but I hope you know what I mean.
A few quick things to note: custom foundation is also available at Blend Beauty, which is awesome if you have a darker skintone and find it hard to get colour matches in stores, or if you have weird undertones, or again, if you just want a fun custom makeup experience.
Also, the lipsticks are cruelty-free but not vegan as they contain beeswax (which is probably what helps the formula last so long on the lips).
I had such a good time doing the Blend Beauty thing that I booked in right away to go back to get my nails done with Debbie, the owner of Dollface and Blend Beauty. (Spoilers, they’re great and she’s great!) I think it’s such a good idea, and it’s awesome to have a service like this in Wellington—well, little old Lower Hutt, technically. It’s the first of its kind in New Zealand and it seems like it’s been really popular, for good reason.
Do you have an elusive lipstick colour you just can’t find? Or an old favourite that’s discontinued? You should head along to Blend Beauty if you’re local!