Here's a little secret that the cosmetics industry doesn't want you to know: the base materials for most makeup, from the cheapest lip gloss to the highest-end eye shadow, is basically the same. The markup comes from either the brand name or a lack of scale for a particular color. Larger outlets like CVS or Walmart buy only the hues that sell the best so they can order in bulk and score a discount. Mink hopes to bring the entire industry to its knees by eliminating all that nonsense. It's a 3D printer that mixes ink with powder, cream or whatever other raw material necessary to create an endless variety of cosmetics on your own desk.
[Image courtesy of TechCrunch]
Mink is the brainchild of Grace Choi, a self proclaimed serial inventor who came up with the idea while at Harvard Business School. The hardware itself is proprietary, but it uses the standard image editing software already on your computer to actually print. You can pick a color from any where -- a website, a YouTube video, a photo you took -- and then drop the hexcode for the color into Photoshop or even MS Paint. Fill a canvas with the color of your choice, hit print and wait just a few minutes while Minx mixes up a fresh batch of makeup just for you.
Choi expects to launch Mink at around $300 and, while she didn't have a price handy, she expects pigments and substrates to be surprisingly cheap. The appeal is obvious: girls (or boys, no judgement) could have an entire cosmetic store at their disposal in a small desktop printer. While custom colors of eye-shadow are the obvious use, it could also allow people to experiment with new shades without suffering from buyer's remorse. Watch the demo above from TechCrunch Disrupt and check out GraceMink.com to sign up for more info as the product gets closer to launch.