Mink 3D Printer Could Shake Up The Makeup Industry With DIY Color

A new twist on 3D printing could let users print their own cosmetics at home. That’s the angle inventor Grace Choi is taking with her sub-$200 Mink 3D printer, anyway, and she hopes that young ladies age 13-21 will be the ones buying up the machines.

Perhaps it seems unbelievable impractical to own a 3D printer whose sole purpose is to print makeup, but if you break down the costs, it’s actually not all that crazy. First of all, you can spend a lot of money on makeup--hundreds of dollars every year. (The range is huge. Cheap stuff costs a few bucks and the elite products are marked way, way up.)

Grace Choi Mink
Inventor Grace Choi (Credit: TechCrunch)

Secondly, Choi asserts that the selection in most stores isn’t up to snuff. If you want something bold, beyond the conservative range of pinks and reds, you’re out of luck at many stores and will have to pay a markup at others. Mink is designed to let you capture any color you see online or IRL and use the software to create cosmetics in that color. Lime green eye shadow? No problem. Silver lip gloss? Sure. And so on.

Mink 3D printer
Mink 3D printer (Credit: TechCrunch)

The next issue would be quality. Choi’s position is that most makeup is all created from the same substrates, and her “ink” is made from the same, so the quality should at least be similar.

Whether or not Choi finds success with Mink, in the greater scheme of things this sort of innovation points to a future where 3D printing affects average users lives in interesting ways--not just tech nerds geeking over the ability to produce plastic models in their homes.