The glamor of DIY beauty (think Youtube vloggers) and the convenience of 3D printing could collide in the very near future. While at Harvard Business School, Grace Choi invented Mink, a 3D printer for makeup. The small personal printer uses color codes taken from color photos on the internet and recreates them as real powdery pigment.
Last week at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York, Choi said that beauty companies profit off of something that tech can provide for free: color. Choi claims that her printer ink is the very same used in mainstream products, and is FDA approved. The Mink process is simple: Consumers snap a photo or find one on the internet use a color picker to locate the hex code of the color they like, enter the hex code in Photoshop or Paint and press print.
For those of us who blow thousands of dollars a year on makeup (trust us, it adds up), this is a big deal. Mink seems to offer limitless possibilities, promising a world where one could feasibly copy a stranger’s lipstick color, or recreate their favorite flower in cream or powder form. Even more intriguing than the opportunity to rip-off your friends’ favorite eye shadows is the challenge the Mink presents to cosmetic companies—for the price of $300 a pop, a single printer could take on a $55 billion dollar industry.
Watch Choi’s entire presentation here.