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7 May 2014

Customised Makeup

(pigments, in an art shop in Venice)

In a world where bespoke, custom, limited run "things", where the "one size does not fit all" mentality and the exclusivity of designerwares has become the norm for those who can afford them, makeup is no different.  It's not unusual to encounter limited edition makeup, makeup which is released just once and once only, so you need to "get it when you can".  Of course this is largely a marketing device to drive sales (I am a complete sucker, add the words "limited edition" beside anything and it makes me completely and instantly want it, and now, and a backup, just in case), but the "once it's gone, it's gone" mentality grips most of us.

Aside from LE (limited edition) or once-off items, makeup products are frequently discontinued, ranges are ended, and even brands go belly-up.  And that beloved item of makeup that you just have to have (like the Chanel Rouge Noir lippie that my mother loves or the Chanel Ballerina nail polish that MontyC loves) and that you can't dupe when it's gone, becomes all the more sought-after and obsessed-over, when it's gone.

So what to do?

There are, of course a few options.

1.  Learn to live with the fact that once they're gone, maybe you should find something else.  And start all over again trying to find that "something else".  And spend time and effort and money on it.  And never be quite happy that you haven't found it.  And bug anyone who'll listen to you on the subject, for well over ten years.  And become an annoying twit :-)

2.  Become obsessed by your absolute favourite products, those products which have cult status in your own eyes.  Become BFF with the sales assistants at your local counter, be in the know when they're end-of-life-ing, and stockpile them, in a preparing-for-doomsday fashion.

3.  Engage the services of a bespoke makeup company, the likes of Cosmetics a la Carte.  This is a London-based makeup company which sells their own range of products from their bijoux makeup store in Knightsbridge (and online) and who also will match a product for you - so if you have a favourite lippie that has been discontinued, they'll do their very best to match it up for you.  Or, if like me, you become obsessed with a particular shade of red, they'll actually work with you to formulate your very own lipstick shade, just for you!

4.  "Frankensteining".  Although a term more frequently applied to nail polishes, this just involves mixing what you've got to make up something else.  Using basic colour theory (red+yellow=orange!) and some product knowledge (what you can layer on top of what), and knowing that, for example, a black cream base will darken whatever you put on top of it, as will a white base make it "pop" a bit more, playing with your makeup to try to dupe what you loved before.  Of course, unless you mix it up yourself, it's going to be difficult to do this everytime, as it's time consuming, but it is fun.

5.  The most interesting one I've seen in a while: 3d makeup "printing" - look here for more information! From its founder, Grace Choi, comes a new technology called Mink, which you can use to actually create your own makeup from a bunch of pigments and a makeup substrate using 3d printer technology!  Although it's not yet available, she plans to sell this for around the $200 mark later this year (I'm assuming substrates and pigments will cost more).  Whether this works well, or is successful or not, it's a fascinating idea.

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