A Visit to the Bite Beauty Lip Lab in NYC

Exterior

On Friday afternoon I decided to visit and review Bite Beauty’s pop-up “Lip Lab” boutique in SoHo. I’ve always been curious about Bite’s lip color line (food-grade ingredients! shades named after different wine varietals!), but I usually find the atmosphere in Sephora too chaotic for any sustained browsing. The Bite pop-up seemed like a perfect opportunity to learn more about the brand and maybe, just maybe, to purchase a lipstick…

Interior

The boutique is located at 174 Prince Street and it will be open all summer; then it will be “re-designed” into a permanent space for the fall. For now, it carries the complete Bite Beauty line and offers a customized lipstick process for anyone who wants to spend a little more time having her obsessively specific lip color wishes granted.

Swatches

I gravitated towards the colors in the Berry and Pink families: here are swatches of Crème Lipstick in Zin (muted berry), Fig (nude rose), and Vouvray (ballet pink) on my hand. I was most partial towards the Fig, but I was hoping to find something just a touch deeper and cooler, so I decided to opt for the customized color option.

Mixing station

Two sampling stations are available for testing the colors in the regular lipstick and gloss lines or for concocting a customized shade in Luminous Crème lipstick. The pots contain blends of the standard shades, which is an easier (and more reliable) way to combine colors than layering them on the lips.

Materials 2

One of Bite’s makeup artists helped me to try three blends. I really fell for the one above, which is a mix of Shiraz (soft plum) and Rosé (peachy pink). I wouldn’t have selected either shade on its own—the Shiraz was too dark for me and the Rosé was too bright and warm-toned—but together, they were perfect.

Truffles

The pre-mixed colors are stored in the boutique as truffle-like solids, kept on shelves in a refrigerator-like unit. They really did look good enough to eat.

Melting

The makeup artist (whose name I forgot to ask, but she was very kind and professional!) melted a chunk of my chosen blend at the boutique’s “lab” counter. If I had wanted the color slightly lightened or made more sheer, or if I’d even wanted to add a dab of another shade, she would have made those adjustments too.

Melting and scenting

The custom lipstick can be scented with a choice of four extracts: peppermint, “superfruit” (berry-pomegranate?), cherry, or violet. Guess which I chose? Yes, violet. A prescribed number of drops was added to the now-liquid lipstick base.

Molding and freezing

Then the liquid was poured into a tightly screwed mold and placed on a high-tech chilling plate for five minutes. You can see the frosty residue gathering on the plate in my (slightly blurry) photo.

Putting into case

After the lipstick blend had hardened at that low temperature, the makeup artist wore a special black glove to open the mold and fit the lipstick “bullet” into its screw-up tube.

Finished product

The finished Luminous Crème Lipstick was sealed up in a Bite Beauty box and was handed to me with a card recording the lipstick’s color formula and scent, in case I want to have my “recipe” duplicated on future visitl

KICX5073

Here’s the final product, photographed at home. (I love Bite’s minimal, yet tactile, matte-gray packaging.) Its color is a soft, but deep, plummy rose. I have a feeling that I’ll be using this lipstick more than almost any other in my collection.

The Bite Beauty Lip Lab is located at 174 Prince Street in SoHo. For more information, see the Bite Beauty blog.

Images: all photos by Tinsel Creation.

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15 thoughts on “A Visit to the Bite Beauty Lip Lab in NYC

  1. That is fabulous! I would love to work there and play with lipstick all day. It’s like a beauty junkies dream come true. I love the picture of the lipstick truffles.

    1. Poodle, it really *is* a beauty-product lover’s dream come true! I was fascinated by the whole process. I’ve never seen this done before. I think there’s a company called Three Custom Color Specialists that does custom cosmetics blending, but I’ve never really looked into it.

    1. Icaria, as if I didn’t have any nice lipsticks right?! hah. But it really was an enjoyable process, and this shade really is perfect for me. I’m also very impressed by the quality of this formula. I know you have Bite in Canada, since they’re Toronto-based — have you ever tried them?

      1. I have not tried them, maybe because their display at Sephora is so small (at the end of a gondola way in the back of the store) and boring to look at. Reading about your experience, I will definitely have a second look. :)

        1. I’ve never really stopped to “explore” the line at Sephora, either — mostly because the NYC Sephoras that carry Bite are always loud and crowded! But I have to say, I’m really impressed by the Luminous Creme formula, and my friend Nancy (see her comment) recommends the lip tint!

  2. Wow what a fascinating process! I really love the idea. Thanks for letting me tag along. And what a perfectly lovely shade your custom Lipstick turned out to be.

  3. Your custom color looks perfect for you! I might have to venture down there to mix up one of my own. I already have Bite’s Lush Lip Tint in Watermelon and like it very much.

    1. Nancy, you would really enjoy this, with your eye for personal color! They carry the full line for sale, but if you’re looking for something just slightly cooler/warmer/deeper/paler than any of their existing shades, this process is perfect.

    1. Ah, I should add that information to the post! Not cheap, but still less than a fancy-pants lipstick from a line like Chanel or Dolce & Gabbana or, heaven forbid, Tom Ford… $28.

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