Mink Lets You 3D Print Any Shade of Makeup Using Your Home Computer

the mink 3d printer

Did you know that regular, available at Target printer ink uses the exact same substrates as most makeup? I sure didn’t. Good thing Harvard Business School Grad Grace Choi figured it out, and has come up with probably the biggest thing to hit the beauty market in a very long time. Choi realized that not only do printers and makeup use the same materials, but also that a lot of markup on cosmetics has more to do with how many shades there are than the actual quality of the product. So, she’s created a product called Mink, which is an inexpensive 3D printer that can print any colour of lipstick or eyeshadow.

Choi showed off Mink at TechCrunch Disrupt, a large tech conference that ran this week in NYC, and showed off how Mink works. You can pick literally any colour in the world: from real life photos to Youtube videos, you use a Color Picker program to find out the hex code (which is what HTML uses to assign colour values) of the colour you’ve chosen. Then you put that code into Photoshop or Paint, then print the colour like you would any other document on your computer. The Mink then prints it out as either an eyeshadow or lipstick. It’ll retail for under $300, and uses the same ink as your regular printer, which makes Mink a lot more accessible than most 3D printers on the market.

But while I love this idea, and love the idea of being able to make any lipstick colour in the world that I desire in my own home, I do have some concerns about the demo. My main concern is: quality. As any beauty junkie knows, there actually is a pretty big difference in quality between a lot of drugstore and high end cosmetics. Eyeshadows in particular are much more pigmented and apply more evenly than drugstore options, which tend to be chalky. As you can see from the eyeshadow demo in the video, the pigmentation on that shadow is not very good. Neither is the colour matching. The colour she picked is a very vibrant, fuschia pink, but the end result is more of a pastel pink. If I’m going to spend $300 on a printer to make makeup, I want the quality to be way better than what’s being shown here. It’s going to be hardcore beauty buffs (not teen girls, which is who Choi is apparently trying to target) who have tried every product at every price point that will want this product, and I can say with certainty that this is not gonna cut it for them.

Writer, editor, and founding member of Paper Droids. RPG-lover, baby game maker, owned by corgi. Spends way too much time on Twitter @mk_patter. To reach by email: sciandtech@paperdroids.com

  • Mase

    I was so excited about this, but the quality concern is a good point. Sad face.