Whatever your idea of beauty, everyone resorts to some sort of external catalyst to enhance it. For women and even in some cases men, makeup has been the most widely used tool to look more attractive and conceal imperfections. In fact makeup has been around for over 6,000 years. Today the makeup industry is worth somewhere around 55 billion dollars and is only growing.

One of the pioneers of the makeup industry was none other than the illusive Coco Chanel, a name that is synonymous with grace, class and beauty. Today, almost every day you see products competing for your attention, the same things packaged differently to appeal to the illusive buyer. But still, one often leaves a makeup store without a purchase because the choices are mind boggling. What looks good when you buy it may not look good on your face.

What if there was an inexpensive way to customize your makeup in the comfort of your own home. Impossible right? As impossible as a smart phone was twenty years ago??

Enter Grace Choi

Grace Choi, a Harvard Business School graduate brings to the world a 3D makeup printer – MINK.

3D printing itself has been developed since the 1970’s but Choi is the first one to come up with 3D printed makeup. It sounds great but how does it work? 3D printing as a concept itself can be difficult to get your head around.

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Image: TechCrunch

The concept is pretty simple actually. Say you are watching a movie and you love your favorite actor’s look in it or you are wearing an outfit and want a particular shade of eye shadow to match. All you have to do is switch on your computer, select the exact shade of color you want and press PRINT to create small tins of eye-shadow, lipstick, bronzers and more. You can even use a color you have seen online or in real life by capturing it on a photo.

Mink will give you your perfect shade in minutes, ready to apply. Obviously Choi’s version of makeup is compatible with all relevant FDA approvals and is ready to use.

Choi has observed that the makeup industry has capitalized on and monopolized the most simple and accessible aspect of makeup – color! They are just selling us color. The makeup industry sustains on the basic human emotion that is insecurity. Makeup companies with their photoshopped models thrive on our need to feel better by looking better.

MINK will change that by making makeup accessible to all. MINK’s target audience is youth between the age of 13 – 21. At USD 200 a piece printing your own makeup will definitely be easier and more accessible to youngsters, than blowing up money at MAC or the like.

Breaking into the market

Like with any other invention, there is some skepticism attached. Will it work or won’t it?

MINK

MINK

It is never easy to swim against the tide. When online shopping came about there were enough people who couldn’t relate to it and now there is a steadily growing number of people who find it a chore to physically go to a store.

We are entering or rather are living in an era where anything is possible. Futurists say that the generations after us will be printing just about anything from homeware to glassware. The way MINK has been priced and projected one can envision teenage girls gushing and thronging the stores. With time the market segment will grow to include consumers from all segments, from makeup artists to brides, office goers to party animals and all others.

Hats off to Grace Choi, the self-proclaimed serial inventor, for taking on a 55 billion $ industry. It remains to be seen how many women across the globe are willing to give up a Coco Chanel or a Maybelline for MINK. We have a feeling there’ll be many!