Goes well with that post about the Pantone of 1692.
May 8, 2014 2:34 PM   Subscribe

You'd really think someone from Harvard could spell "convenience" - especially in a big presentation.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:52 PM on May 8, 2014

Cool idea but the end products will probably too expensive considering that printer ink is the most expensive liquid on the planet.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:11 PM on May 8, 2014

This seems like it would be fun, but not very practical. What a color is going to look like where you pick the color from and what the color is going to look like on your skin aren't going to be very similar at all so people are likely to spend a hell of a pile of ink/product trying to get shades that actually work as makeup. Plus a $300 or so upfront cost.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:18 PM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

She seems to have hardly any awareness of what people look for in makeup, though. Like, the amount of thought she's put into it seems almost insulting to me as somebody who loves makeup. She talks about how companies make a ton of money on "bullshit [...] by charging on the one thing that is available for free: colour". What? It's true that makeup, especially high end, costs ludicrously more to buy than it does to make, but there are many other factors to worry about besides colour and they're not trivial. There is a huge quality issue with things like texture, pigmentation and wear time. And then there are things like finish, packaging and scent that are less absolutely central but that people also care about. Not to mention various formulations for dry skin, oily skin, combination skin, sensitive skin, etc. Also not to mention actual colour accuracy, which she hasn't achieved. The quality will need to justify the $300++ cost, because if all you want is shitty makeup you can already buy that for next to nothing.

For this to be really useful, the printer would need to be able to accept a huge range of bases (which would have to be produced by somebody and marketed to consumers), and people would have to be able to afford them and take the time and put in the effort to learn about them. And then shop for them, I guess, in the same way they now shop for... makeup. Only less fun? As a woman who's had some trouble finding colours that are designed for people the shade of me, I kind of like the idea of being able to apply any colour I like to a base that works for my skin. But I'm certain it's a more complicated proposition than this. I could see a much better version of this being used by serious makeup artists and beauty parlours, but I can't see normal people using this at home unless it's the legit future and the whole world is different in ways I can't even imagine yet.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 3:20 PM on May 8, 2014 [24 favorites]

If there's one thing that always works just how you'd hope, it's conversion of RGB colors to CMYK pigments.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:37 PM on May 8, 2014 [32 favorites]

This is a cool idea but merely a stepping stone to the true be-all-end-all makeup product: Nanobots. Applied and controlled via smartphone app, adaptable to changing lighting or moods (can detect heartrate and pheromone secretion), water-and-smear proof, and as soon as you climb into bed (or pass out on the floor) they'll fly back to their container to recharge, but not before first applying moisturizer.

I mean, I get it that we're already living in the future and stuff is pretty rad. But I just can't wait for MORE future.
posted by bizwank at 3:38 PM on May 8, 2014 [7 favorites]

Correct me if I'm wrong (not a makeup user, but I do have a Marketing degree), but I believe the single biggest expense in cosmetics - aside from marketing - is packaging. The cosmetics themselves are, essentially, just dirts and oils. Mostly very cheap.

I guess that if the substrates were thoughtfully and professionally designed and formulated this could be a viable idea. A long shot, but maybe...
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:41 PM on May 8, 2014

In other makeup news...
posted by Sys Rq at 4:11 PM on May 8, 2014

MAC is not super fancy -- it's basically mid-range. Hopefully the Simpsons collection will be more interesting than Maleficent, which is on sale as of today but basically a snore.
posted by rewil at 4:53 PM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

$20 on average for a tube of lipstick is "basically mid-range"? I mean, it's probably possible to pay more than that for makeup, but I would not know where to go if I wanted to do so. And I wear makeup pretty regularly.
posted by NoraReed at 5:33 PM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

MAC runs at $16 for lipsticks, which isn't that much higher than drugstore prices any more -- I think L'Oreal is $9 at Walgreens, though who'd pay that without a sale I have no idea.

In the $20-26 range you can get Urban Decay, MUFE, Too Faced, Lipstick Queen, NARS, etc.

And then you get to the high end, $35 and up, Dior, Chanel, Tom Ford. $51 for a Guerlain Rouge G, stuff like that.

Basically I was just thinking the lede needed a bit of tweaking -- if Givenchy were releasing a Simpson collection, that'd fit, but MAC isn't outrageously expensive and does pop culture collections all the time (Wonder Woman, Disney villains, Barbie, Miss Piggy, etc.).
posted by rewil at 5:46 PM on May 8, 2014

In other makeup news...
posted by Sys Rq at 4:11 PM on May 8 [+] [!]
For the woman who has only 4/5ths of a second to get ready!

Apparently people paid $3000 for a ticket to that conference. Seems to me holding conferences for gullible technology enthusiasts/investors is the real money maker here.
posted by Poldo at 6:05 PM on May 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

From the Materials Safety Data Sheet of Epson Magenta ink, which seems representative of this product:

Section 4 : First aid measures
4.1 Description of measures

Eyes : Immediately flush with room temperature, low pressure, clean water. Seek medical attention if irritation continues.

Skin : IF ON SKIN : Wash with soap and water. Take off contaminated If skin irritation occurs, get medical advice/attention.

Inhalation : Remove subject to ventilated fresh air. If not breathing, give artificial respiration right away. If breathing is difficult, give oxygen. Seek immediate medical attention.

Ingestion : Seek medical advice, and attention if stomach continues to be upset.

4.2 Most important symptoms and effects, both acute and delayed: Ink contact with skin may cause irritation, swelling, or redness.

Printer ink was never intended for use directly on the human body. It has nasty chemicals in it.

On a related note, my sister collects vintage cosmetics. She once showed me her favorite, a power puff with inert powder for a binder, plus White Lead. I told her she should seal it in a plastic bag and take to a toxic waste disposal site. She put more on and said, "but look at how pale and beautiful my skin is!"
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:24 PM on May 8, 2014 [6 favorites]

Harvard Business School graduate

posted by 1adam12 at 8:25 PM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

How this becomes a viable business model based on current makeup marketing: buy the latest Beyoncé (OK, Blue Ivy by then) official makeup color by purchasing the formula and having your printer create it immediately. Buy a subscription and every day you can print exactly the same shade Beyoncé (or your celebrity of choice) is wearing that day.
posted by girlhacker at 11:04 PM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

After buying a Dior lipstick when my friend was working for them, I have no need for other lipsticks, ever (it is THAT good, and the color that perfect). Better to spend $30 on one great lipstick than work your way through a bunch of unsatisfying $9 ones.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:46 AM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would love a nail salon at which you could specify a hex code for your polish.
posted by editorgrrl at 8:29 AM on May 9, 2014

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