3D printers for makeup – as good as the store front?

There has been some tech coverage of a new 3D printer startup called Mink which let’s you colour match and print makeup. The coverage is a bit patchy but I have a few questions that haven’t been answered in the press…

  • How much are the refills likely to cost?
  • How will the machine deal with the different materials required for different materials (eyeshadows vs lipstick vs eyeliner)? Will you have to clean it between (yuck)?
  • How will the machine go with laying down ingredients that are designed to change from solid to liquid at room temperature, or vaporise (ie fragrances)? The 3D printers I have used tend to be quite …. warm and I can’t see how they will go with laying down a wax product like a lipstick that is designed to liquify at body temperature. Not to mention that the texture of a lipstick that has melted in the car and reformed is not quite the same so I think that the volatiles that escape are actually quite important to the overall texture and perfomances
  • This isn’t only an issue for lipsticks and such, what about the moisturising ingredients in powder foundationss like shea butters and such. These are the difference between a chalky product and something that really dissolves into the skin and blends beautifully.
  • Equally the texture of makeup changes signficantly between brands – there is a reason that people go gaga over urban decay/MAC/Guerlain eyeshadows in a way that they don’t over cheaper brands, it’s the fine milling and texture that makes all the difference.

So these are all the things I am wondering about 3D makeup printing. I think it’s still a way away to be honest, not so much as as it hasn’t captured an issue but that the technology is not at the right point to make this happen well. (I think you could make the product, but I think the quality is more likely to be Wet’n’Wild at a MAC price tag than the other way round).

To be honest I’m more looking forward to the point I can print randomn bits of Lego we need and can’t find around the place than lipsticks! That’s the true market for a $200 home 3D printer.


2 thoughts on “3D printers for makeup – as good as the store front?

  1. I agree with you! I just watched Mink’s video today and I was still left confused. Also, how do I know what I’m putting on my skin? I’d be concerned about smearing printer pigments on my face. I know store cosmetics can be just as bad or good for your skin, but something off a printer? Sounds sketchy.

    • I know – they say the ingredients are all FDA approved but you can mix safe ingredients and get non safe ingredients… I don’t think the video is that clear on how it works either as I’m still unclear about so many things. Oh well, have to see how the development process goes I guess!

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