Innovation That Matters

3D-printed makeup is created from color hex codes

Fashion & Beauty

Mink is a 3D printer that lets anyone print their own cosmetics by choosing a color from their computer.

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We’ve already seen 3D printing enable consumers to create their own jewelry courtesy of startups such as Zazzy in the Netherlands. But what about cosmetics? Mink is a 3D printer that lets anyone print their own makeup by choosing a color from their computer.

Introducing the device at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2014, serial inventor and Harvard Business School graduate Grace Choi explained that she wants to change the current business model of cosmetics companies, which use the same materials but charge different prices depending on how niche the color is. For example, Walmart may stock a popular color No.17 eye shadow for a low price — giving consumers value but not selection — while premium outlets such as Sephora can provide a more unique shade, but will bump up the price. Mink uses ink pigments and substrates ranging from powders and creams to lipstick that instead enable anyone to create their own quality cosmetics at home. The printer works with hex codes — the 6-character codes that define colors on the web (for example, #FF0000 for red). This means that users can simply take a screenshot of a picture or video they’ve found or taken which has a color they like, use Inspect Element or a color picker tool to find the hex code, and then use a program such as Photoshop to create an image filled with that color. Printing the image then tells the 3D printer to create the makeup using whatever substrate is loaded into it. The video below offers a more detailed explanation of the product:

Mink will initially retail for USD 300, with inks and substrates costing extra. The product is still undergoing development — it doesn’t currently have a website and is yet to jump the hurdles of FDA approval — but if successful, has the potential to shake up the way cosmetics are bought. Are there other products that could become more customizable through home 3D printing?


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