Bite Beauty: The Lip Lab Experience

With Bite Beauty launching their new core collection of lipsticks, called Amuse Bouche, they will be forcing their former Luminous Créme lipsticks to shuffle off this mortal coil into the abyss of discontinued beauty products.

As Amuse Bouche launches, however, the Bite Beauty Lip Lab in NYC is still currently whipping up custom tubes of lipsticks using the OG Luminous Créme formula. I was lucky enough to go to the Bite Beauty Lip Lab in NYC for the second time in my life to have two of my very own Luminous Créme formulas made just for me.

Upon walking up to the Prince Street store in NYC’s SoHo, you could almost miss it. A small, glass window front reads “Bite” in classic red.
Store Front
Once you step into the lab, you’ll notice that’s blended the scientific sterility of an actual “lab” and the artistic design elements you traditionally find in a retail shop. There are a total of four work stations where a BBLL employee can help you blend the perfect lip color.
Stations
You can either walk in and hope an employee is available, or you can set up an appointment time if you call them. Yes, I said call them. Like it’s the ’80s. Because their website is currently down.

Here they are on Yelp and here’s their phone number: (646)484-6111

You’ll find the BBLL employees are uniformed similar to a specialist at a Clinique counter. Clad in white lab coats, the BBLL ladies (they’re all ladies from what I’ve seen. No men as of yet) are all sporting a bold Bite lip color.Despite the fact that you’ll be working directly with an employee to create your own, perfect lipcolor, the employees have never really been that friendly or personable. This is not to say that they are rude or unkind, however. They are more than willing to mix up any color you want. Even after I created my own two colors (a beige-y pink nude and a warm, muted, tomato red), the woman helping me offered to mix up a dark, wintery plum just for fun! Just be aware that the ladies are extremely reserved, not particularly fond of chit chat, and aren’t going to make you feel all warm and fuzzy.


After checking in, you will take a seat at a station and your paired employee will sit on the opposite side. If you’re wearing lipstick, you will be asked to remove it with the makeup remover sitting on the table (which looks a lot like one of those generic ketchup/mustard bottles, except clear). Then they give you a small amount of their Whipped Cherry Lip Scrub to smooth your lips.Honestly, a scrub is nice, but this stuff wasn’t nearly gritty enough. It was pretty useless. Not to mention, scrubbing your lips in public is not so comfortable. She then gave me a bit of the Agave Lip Mask to smooth over my freshly scrubbed lips. Ahhh. I love this stuff. Seriously, my DESERT ISLAND PRODUCT.
Pigment Jars
In front of me was an array of jarred, pure, Bite Beauty pigments. Placed in glass jars with the clear bottoms facing upwards, I could look at the bright reds, pinks, oranges, yellows, and blues. The employee placed a sheet of wax paper on the table in front of her and proceed to write my name at the top left. This was to hold all of the new colors we were to create together.

When I told her I was looking for a nude that wasn’t too pink, she nodded and began plucking pigment jars from the array before us. Taking a metal spatula, she retrieved a small amount of pasty pigment. Smearing the pigment directly onto the wax paper she’d previously laid out, she then proceeded to grab the next color and repeated the same process. Once she grabbed all the raw pigments she needed, she asked what finish I’d like. I could choose from glossy, creamy, or matte. Here’s where things got interesting.

Part Wax Sheet
When I came to the Lip Lab around 3 years ago, I got a matte lip that I loved. They mixed silica into the pigments to dry them out and give the lipstick a really MATTE finish. When I asked for a matte finish this time, however, I got creamy, even SHINY finish. I asked what was up… ’cause that ain’t right.

I was informed that the founder of Bite Beauty, Suzanne Langmuir, was not a fan of matte. Apparently Langmuir thinks that matte is drying and aging, and so it was pulled from the options at BBLL. Also, I was told it was rather “difficult” to get her to agree to offer a truly matte Bite formula at Sephora. But it’s a popular finish nowadays; so she had to secede.

 

I find this irritating, because I’m 26 years old and a matte lipstick is NOT going to age me. Sure, if I was 65, maybe I’d reconsider; however, I might also decide, fuck it. I don’t care if it makes me look “old”. I like matte. I like not having to reapply every 5 minutes. I like not having it slide all around my face. I like it, because I like it, and who are you to decide what I should and should not wear?

Interestingly, the Amuse Bouche collection is supposed to be more saturated and less glossy than the Luscious Créme formula. Hmmm. Less shiny? Aka more MATTE? I’m so confused Bite Beauty! So. Confused.

But I digress…

TIP: If you want to go to BBLL and still want a really matte formula, here’s a trick: Ask the employee to give you pure pigment and refrain from adding anything else. The pure pigment is far more matte than the “matte” substance they add to the pigments.

Wax Sheet
As I created new colors, she grabbed tiny doe-foot applicators and gave me a smidge of color that I could swipe on my lips. I could look into the handheld mirror they have before me to intermittently check how the color looked.

TIP: Be sure to look at the color while sitting at the station but also get up and see what the color looks like by the large window at the front of the store. You’ll see that the color is going to look way more blue-based (pinky/purple-y) in the natural light by the window. Keep this in mind when formulating your color.

Once you’ve selected the color(s) you want, your employee will refer to the little notations she’s made on the wax paper next to each mixture. These tell her exactly was in the brew she created for you. She then grabs the individual pigment blocks from the glass case behind the register. They look like little, colorful, chocolate truffles. They’re not. These little spherical-like compounds are pure pigment. The employee will slice out chunks of pigment that will be used to scale your small sample into a full tube of lipstick.

Pigment Wall

Here’s something fun. At the BBLL, you can add scents to your lipstick if you want. You can choose up to two scents from the following: mint, vanilla, violet, citrus mango, wild berry, and cherry.

All Scents
Their bestseller is citrus mango, and I completely understand why. I don’t even like citrus, but I LOVED this scent. I got both of my lipsticks formulated with this scent.

Citrus Mango

Wild Berry

Cherry

Vanilla

Mint

Violet
She then put the mixed pigments into a centrifuge. It takes about 10 minutes, and the centrifuge cools, condenses, and spins the lipstick in a mold. Once it’s done, they put it in a tube that you get to preselect (Bite Beauty has different shaped tubes, and you get to select which of the four you want).

MoldLipstick mold on top of the frost-covered centrifuge!


They’ll package your pretty lippie in exclusive, red packaging and also give you a small postcard with the exact recipe for your lipsticks so you can have them recreated again and again! They’ll be sure to tell you, but make sure NOT to use your lipstick for the following 30 minutes. It’s still sensitive, and you want to let it settle for a bit.

And here is the final product!

Lipsticks
And here’s what they look like on:

IMG_6262
IMG_6082
For $45 a piece, you better make sure you like the color. So don’t feel shy to try on a variety of shades. If you’re not too keen on shelling out that kind of dough for one lipcolor (#NoShame), stay tuned for reviews on the new Amuse Bouche collection!

12 thoughts on “Bite Beauty: The Lip Lab Experience

  1. I’m VERY curious about the actual difference between the Luminous Créme and Amuse Bouche lipstick formulation. Or it’s just a marketing spin?
    I’m uber jealous that you have access to the Bite Beauty Lab! They don’t even have one in Toronto and the brand was born there. *pout*
    So interesting to read your experience… it was as if you were really at a Serious Place of Science, haha!
    Huh, quite interesting about the founder’s view of matte lipsticks. I guess if I founded a lipstick range, I’d not focus on mattes but I wouldn’t omit it entirely – gotta go where trends go, right? Also, it would have been a great opportunity for the brand to improve on the matte lipstick experience, maybe innovate so it’s a matte lip that isn’t drying and aging – how novel. 😛
    Aw man, I want to choose my own scents and tube shapes! I NEED to visit the BBL! *pout intensifies*
    Can you swatch the shades you got custom made for you? And please name them, for fun… 😉
    I can’t wait til I get my hands on the Agave Lip Mask… my VIB sale list is growing by the day. And looking forward to hearing about the Amuse Bouche.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re comment had SO MANY good points! Omg.
      1) Yes, I can ABSOLUTELY swatch them. I’ll add those to the post 🙂
      2) You’re absolutely right. They could have really done some great things for matte lips. Sad they’re shying away, instead of pioneering.
      3) That is so strange that they don’t have a BBLL in Toronto. They’re so proud of being Canadian, you’d think that should be their flagship. Odd.
      4) Agave Lip Mask = LIFE. Stock up, lady 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi! I was wondering if you knew what the “cuvée” formulation is? Is that the “creamy” one of the three you mentioned (cream, glossy and matte)? And also wondered if you knew the difference between cuvée and Luminous Creme. I know I could call them and possibly get answers over the phone. I may attempt that but I thought I’d see if someone else might know and I’d like to share my experience with the lip lab while I’m here.

    See, I went to the Bite Lip Lab last Jan and bought two tubes of my custom color in the Luminous Creme formula. I came back with a friend this weekend (March 19) and I asked the color therapist to look up the formula of my previous color for my friend and she did, and when she whipped it up, she said she made it in the cuvée formula so it would be longer lasting. I wonder if they are no longer making anything in Luminous Creme. Anyway, I missed this detail until it was too late (the lippies were done) and my friend was a little indecisive so our appointment took longer than I thought it would.

    You are totally right about most of the girls not being particularly chatty since two that I’ve worked with were not really very sociable although I really liked Nicole. She seemed the exception. Patient and warmer than the others, almost bubbly even. I wonder if I could ask for her in particular if I made an appointment in the future.

    Anyway, I had two other colors whipped up for me and Nicole said she made the red one into a matte (because I didn’t like the sheer glossy with shimmer) and the other one, the coral that her co-worker created for my friend, was this cuvée. That’s what she wrote on the “recipe card” that she gave me. The cuvée one said Creme Deluxe on the bottom of the tube and on the box. My friend didn’t like the coral one but I did, so I took it home and my friend got the shade I had last January in the cuvée formula. Truthfully, the Luminous Creme ones I have always bleed down to the corners of my mouth after awhile. I’m hopeful that this problem is something that doesn’t happen with the Creme Deluxe. I haven’t used it yet but I guess I will find out how it’s different from the matte and the Luminous Creme soon enough. Also noted today that all the lipsticks were the same price. I spent over $150 on the three tubes. I got two tubes of the same lipstick for $70 just 2 months ago. Oh well.

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    1. Cuvée! That’s one of the finishes they used that I couldn’t recall! If I understood correctly, I believe Cuvée was the new creamy finish that wasn’t the most glossy. I think it went: pure pigment, matte (wasn’t really that matte), cuvée, gloss. Don’t quote me. Perhaps Cuvée was the most shiny/sheer. They should have had a chart printed out. It was very confusing. The matte was glossy, and then Cuvée made no sense. If you go back, definitely pick their brain. I know I got some interesting info from them when I asked. For example, now I know that the Amuse Bouche collection is more of a matte formula than the Luminous Créme, despite the fact that the founder (Langmuir) hates matte. Go figure!

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      1. I’ve used all the lipsticks and I think I’ve figure it out! The cuvée must be the new, “improved” version of the Luminous Creme which explains why they made the shade I had from January into that finish, because they don’t make Luminous Creme anymore. It’s true that it’s a little longer lasting. It’s a little dryer and leaves a stain but it still feathers, just not quite as bad as the old Luminous Creme on me.

        The new Amuse Bouche seems to me like the “Matte Creme” that they offer at the Lip Lab. You’re absolutely right about it not being a true matte. This doesn’t bother me though. I don’t mind mind a sort of semi-matte cream finish.

        Next time, I’m going to ask more questions before I get any more colors done. Thanks for replying, by the way!!! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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