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A device that prints your own makeup — yes, seriously

Kristen Fischer is a writer living at the Jersey Shore. In addition to writing for SheKnows, she has penned articles for Prevention, Health, Woman's Day, BELLA, and New Jersey Monthly. Kristen enjoys spending time with her family, friend...

Beauty you can control

Print your own makeup? It's happening... and the Mink device makes it possible to print the exact shade you want based off what you see online.
Woman applying eyeshadow
Photo credit: Glowimages/Getty Images

Still looking for your perfect shade? It may be as close as your printer.

When Grace Choi was a student at Harvard Business School, she came up with the idea for a mini 3-D printer — the Mink — that lets people print their own makeup.

Yes, you heard that — print your own makeup.

She spoke at TechCrunch Disrupt this week, explaining that beauty companies "charge a huge premium on something that tech provides for free. That one thing is color."

Choi said that all beauty products — high-end and low-end goods — have the same base ingredients, known as substrates, which enable anyone to print out their own makeup. The technology is available on everything from powders to cream to lipstick.

Choi said that because color printers are available to everyone and the ink they use is the same as that used in makeup products (and FDA approved), everyone should be able to create their own colors. The device hooks into a regular computer and printer.

Mink printer
Photo credit: Mink

Here's how Mink works: First, users will choose a color that they want, using the color picker to copy the hex code of the color. Then, users will paste the hex code into a new document using Photoshop or Microsoft Paint. It then has pods of makeup in the machine and prints that color into the makeup. The tins can go into a pre-made compact that enables women to store them and take the makeup on the go.

"You don’t have to spend any money or resources on actually getting the makeup, and the price per unit is going to be around the same as mass retailers, but with the most color options of any brand in the world," she said at the event.

"The most important thing out of all of this is that this is going to finally train our girls to understand that the definition of beauty is something that they should be able to control… not our corporations," she added.

While Choi still has a long way to go to bring the product to market, it’s kind of cool to know that we may soon have more control over the colors we choose — and the makeup we wear.

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