The Mink 3-D Make Up Printer: Wearable Tech’s Cosmetic Innovation
The most beautiful make-up of a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy. ~ Yves St-Laurent
3-D printing is what used to be referred to in decades past as the "cat's meow." Up to now, these amazing printers have created incredible works of art, shoes, apparel, food and countless other household objects. As amazing as these feats are by themselves, the Mink printer takes a giant step further into wearable tech accessory space. The name has nothing at all to do with that furry little creature whose desirable fur significantly shortens its life span. It refers instead to the name given to a 3-D desktop printer created by Harvard graduate, Grace Choi, that prints all kinds of make-up.
Target audience and selling points of the Mink 3-D printer
According to Mink's creator, the goal is to provide girls with access to make-up in every color because drug store selctions are limited to more mainstream shades such as reds and pinks, excluding the bolder tones for those who dare. The high end lines such as Sepphora and other retailers of that ilk do have a wide selection of colors but they are marketed towards those consumers with deep pockets.
Choi is well aware that consumer patterns for buying make-up are largely the result of coincidence. Her target audience is teenage girls between the ages of 13 and 21, a group picked expressly because within that range girls are still testing out the make-up that best suits them and most have no loyalties to any particular brand. The Mink 3-D printer can satisfy any make-up desire at an affordable price and from the comfort of one's own home!
In her own words:
"Big make-up companies take the pigment and the substrates and mix them together and then jack the price. We do the same thing and let you get the make-up right in your own house."
How does the Mink 3-D Printer work?
Any camera, phone or laptop has the ability via this special printer, which utilizes existing software to transform any image into a wearable color cosmetic. Mink uses cosmetic-grade, FDA-compliant dye printed onto a powder substrate (a substance that is acted upon, especially by an enzyme, in a biochemical reaction). All make-up, whether it comes from Chanel or your neighborhood drugstore, is derived from the same basic substrates. Any color in the rainbow is possible because in order to create a color, the printer connects with a unique tool that locates the hexadecimal number associated with that particular hue and then prints that selected shade into a blush, eye shadow lip gloss, lipstick or any other type of make-up.
Features of the 3-D MInk printer
The Mink Printer is the same size as a Mac Mini and sells for under $200. Its two most marketable attributes are that it has do-it-yourself capabilities and the fact that it can provide instant gratification to the consumer. The entire world is a palette; choose from any color from nature, Pinterest or any website, or snap an image with your phone. The only thing you have to get is the hexadecimal code for the color; put that into any program like Photoshop or Paint and just print.
Plans to launch the Mink 3-D printer are slated for later this year. Time will tell on how well it does, but it seems destined for success as a unique and innovative product filling a distinct need within the burgeoning wearable tech industry.
M Dee Dubroff
Fashion and Technology Blogger