If you've ever wandered through Sephora in search of a foundation that actually matches your skin tone, then you already know how challenging (read: impossible) it can be to find an exact match. Modern-day makeup mixologists are rejecting this traditional retail model offering 10 shades that fit most and replacing it with made-for-you lipstick, foundation, hair dye, and more. Here are 7 innovative companies leading the bespoke beauty charge.
Who: Bite Beauty Lip Lab
Where: 174 Prince Street, NYC
How It's Different: Finally, the world has an answer to the never-ending search for a shade of lipstick that matches flawlessly with your skin tone. At Bite Beauty in Soho (shown above, along with a peek into their custom-lipstick-making process), a lip color artist will blend up a lipstick in a custom hue, texture and flavor (superfruit, anyone?). Watching all the pigments get sliced, diced, and melted into a new hue is a color-lovers dream come true. At $55 a pop or $80 for two, this lipstick is pricey, but it probably evens out when you consider how many not-quite-right drugstore shades this one tube will replace.
The Perfect Perfume
Where: Online at sarahhorowitz.com, or book an appointment at the Blending Bar in Westlake Village, California
How It's Different: Ready to put your soul into a scent? Meet Sarah Horowitz, your scent shaman. Sarah started mixing up custom perfumes for her college classmates in the 1980s, and over time has honed her ability to decant a person's personality down to the perfect blend of vanilla, fig and musk. If you don't live near her California-based Blending Bar, you can embark on an online "fragrance journey" by completing a questionnaire that asks your favorite food, season and time of day. Based on your answers, you'll be sent three custom-blended samples, and after picking your favorite, will receive a 1-ounce bottle of the winner. The total cost of finding your soul scent: $125.
Where: Online at Prescriptives.com
How It's Different: Beauty brand Prescriptives is no newcomer to the custom-blended makeup game. The company first started mixing up personalized face powder in the 1980s, and revived the process when the brand re-launched in 2011. While it used to be difficult to mix up personalized foundation without seeing the client's face in the flesh, the company now uses video chat or a combination of texting and photos to create a flawless match. The foundation costs $78 per 1-ounce bottle, but if you don't think the match is spot-on the first time around, Prescriptives will stir up another free of charge.
Custom Shampoo & Conditioner
Who: Function of Beauty
Where: Online at Function of Beauty's website
How It's Different: If you're a believer that good hair days start in the shower, order a personalized shampoo and conditioner from Function of Beauty. Start by answering some questions about your hair type and setting five ambitious "hair goals," then customize the color of the product, the bottle design, and even the scent. Cost: $32 for an 8-ounce bottle of shampoo and conditioner.
How It's Different: Makeup palettes are one of those things that seem like a great idea, but what usually happens is you end up using about 25 percent of the colors it contains. To avoid paying full price for a mostly wasted product, MAC lets you customize palettes in a huge range of sizes, from a simple two-shade concealer palette ($31), to a deluxe 15 eyeshadow-, 4 blush-, and 2 cream- color kit ($200). You can visit the store to try on shades IRL, or if you're already familiar with MAC colors, their site lets you slot in hues to fill an empty palette.
Customized Hair Dye
Where: Online at eSalon.com
How It's Different: If you like to DIY your hair dye, skip the boxed drugstore kit and let the stylists at eSalon blend a custom color based on your current hair color, hair history, and the shade you're aiming for. New customers can get their first dye for just $10, and a subscription plan costs $20 per treatment. My only disappointment is that they don't currently offer highlights, but all you single-process fans out there should give it a go.
Where: Visit Mink.com
How It's Different: This is one to watch. Mink's founder Grace Choi, armed with a degree from Harvard Business School, is fighting back against the overpriced and diversity-deficient beauty industry by using technology to hack the way cosmetics are made. In an effort to bring affordable customized makeup to the masses, her newly launched Makeup Hacker can instantly change a small portion of makeup you already own into any color you like. Don't believe it? Watch the video to see it in action, then check out the $60 starter kit.