Features, Lips, Reviews

Bite Lip Lab Adventure

Bite Beauty Lip Lab

Back at the beginning of April I fiiiiiinally got to take my very first trip to NYC. How I managed to survive more than 30 years without doing that, I couldn’t tell you. The husband and I headed up there for a few days with a friend to see a concert (Phantogram and Alt-J at Madison Square Garden, if you care). I’ve been chomping at the bit to visit the Bite Beauty Lip Lab ever since I first heard about it so duh, that was the one other thing that had to be on the itinerary. I mean, there aren’t nearly enough lipstick colors in the world already so it was imperative for me to make my very own. Obviously.

I made an appointment about a week beforehand because how distraught would I be if I got there and couldn’t make a lipstick? Trust me, no one needs to see that. So I went in at 1:30pm on a Tuesday and I literally had the place entirely to myself, well, myself and two employees. We got right down to business immediately.

When I first sat down, I was offered a little scoop of the Cherry Lip Scrub, presumably so I wouldn’t see all my lip flakes and blame it on the lipstick. I’d spent half of the day before on airplanes, so my lips did look a little like some dried up thing you’d find in a desert somewhere. Soooo hawt. After the scrub I got some Agave Lip Mask to slather on (which I already own and love). After that I got to test-drive all the different lipstick formulas. As of my visit you could pick between:

  • Creme ($36) – the same formula as their Luminous Creme lipsticks (ie the “regular” ones). I already have a bunch of those, so meh.
  • Matte ($36) – it’s a ‘modern matte’ which is to say, not shiny but also doesn’t look like it’s sucking all the moisture out of your lips. Fairly close to my most-fave-ever Givenchy lipsticks, actually.
  • Sheer ($36) – just like it sounds. The sheer covered evenly with a little bit of sheen, but I’m not really a big fan of sheer formulas for some reason, I have to be in the mood for it.
  • Deluxe ($48) – the Deluxe formula is veeeery nice. It feels a little more moisturizing than the Luminous Creme, and a bit creamier/heavier on the lips. The closest comparison I can think of would be Tom Ford lipstick. Unfortunately I have a lot of trouble with super-creamy lipsticks gathering in lines, so I decided to give this one a pass (for now, anyway).

Bite Beauty Lip Lab

I set out with two goals: make two lipsticks, and don’t get carried away and end up with twelve. I chose the Matte formula for both of my custom shades.

The first up was a color match. Ages and ages ago I got a sample of Shiseido Lacquer Rouge in Nocturne, which is an amazing beautiful red. But the formula itself should be outlawed. It’s sticky, wears unevenly and bleeds all around my lip line so I look like some distant relation to the Joker. So yeah, this needed to be resolved, and we happily mixed up different colors of lipstick until I got something I was happy with. In retrospect I realize I should have taken the swatches around to different light sources, because it turned out to be not quite as orange as I wanted. It’s still very pretty and I still love it, but that’s my word of advice to you. Take that business over to the window before you commit. And I somehow managed to get a shade of red that’s different than all the other shades of red rolling around my makeup drawers!

Bite Beauty Lip Lab

Bite Beauty Lip Lab

Left to right:

  • Bite custom red
  • Shiseido Lacquer Rouge Nocturne
  • Bite Grandifolia
  • Urban Decay F-Bomb
  • NARS Cruella

So not quite as orange as the Shiseido one but close enough, and infinitely more wearable formula-wise. PS – I know those all look similar in the photo but I promise there are variations in the finish and undertones. Which makes them totally different and I need them all.

Next up was my unicorn – the perfect red-toned pink. Because I love red, and I love pink, and why should I have to choose just one? There were a couple false starts with shades that were much too blue-based, but after lots of mixing, it happened. I took the disposable applicator with the swatch on it, put it on my lips and there was a ray of light, and angels singing and shit. This is the one. Awww yiss. I immediately became concerned that I might have accidentally duped another shade I already have (I love warm pinks) but luckily, nope.

Bite Beauty Lip Lab

Bite Beauty Lip Lab

Left to right:

  • Bite custom pink
  • Givenchy Le Rouge Rose Dressing
  • Givenchy Le Rouge Rose Dentelle
  • Givenchy Le Rouge Rose Budoir

If you didn’t notice, the Givenchy Le Rouge Roses were the closest shades I could find in my lipstick stash, but no real dupes. The Bite matte formula finish is pretty similar to the Le Rouge one, but the Bite lipsticks are just a teensy bit more drying.

Bite Beauty Lip Lab

After all the color-choosing shenanigans there was one last stop on the decision train – what scent to put in them. All the scents are in little pots for you to sniff, along with a jar of whatever the scent is, in case you need a visual reference I guess. The options are:

  • Citrus
  • Wildberry
  • Mint
  • Vanilla
  • Mango
  • Lavender
  • Cherry

I can’t swear to it, but I’m pretty sure you can mix multiple scents in the same lipstick. I did not do that, though now that I think of it, cherry-vanilla might be nice. I chose Cherry for my red lipstick and Wildberry for the pink one; however, due to a tragic mishap at the lipstick factory, the scents ended getting swapped. But no Powerpuff Girls were born or anything. The SA helping me apologized profusely and offered to re-make them with the original scent set-up but I wasn’t terribly concerned about it. One thing you should know about the Cherry scent – it’s extremely strong. Not quite as long-lasting and pervasive as the rose scent in the Bite Deconstructed Rose trio from a while back – I can barely handle that one – but still quite noticeable and it takes a little while to fade. Wildberry, on the other hand, is an extremely subtle scent, so much that I’m not sure if I’m smelling it or the actual lipstick components. So if you don’t like heavy fragrance on your lips, Wildberry’s for you.

Once the for-real lipstick is all mixed up and put in the chiller, all you gotta do is wait. That’s a convenient time to pay for them, as it turns out, and luckily I resisted the urge to make a zillion other colors so I didn’t damage my wallet too much. I think it took something like 10-15 minutes for the lipsticks to be ready, though she suggested that I wait a couple hours before wearing them to make sure they had a chance to fully set. Ok, I can handle that.

They send your lipsticks out in fancy red boxes taped shut with a label that says ‘174 Prince Street’ (oooh lala), in a super-minimal design Bite Beauty bag. Also in the bag are recipe cards for your lipsticks, so you can come get them again when you run out. Or you can show all your friends and they can copy off you. Either way.

Bite Beauty Lip Lab

Would I do it again? Ohhh yes. Both of my lipsticks are really pleasant to wear – fully pigmented, wear off pretty evenly (sometimes just a bit sooner in the corners) and they don’t parch my lips despite being matte. Like many lipsticks, they do transfer onto my coffee cup and my husband’s forehead, but less so than their creamier versions. All in all, I’m trying to figure out how to make this an annual pilgrimage.

The Bite Beauty Lip Lab is located at 174 Prince St, New York, NY. 


  1. Jennifer X

    June 7, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    Ohhhhh, that’s gonna be on my bucket list – to make my own lipstick! I wouldn’t know where to start.

    I also like the red pinks or pink reds.

    Are you going to give your mixes their own color names? :) I think I’d do that, lol.

  2. Stevethemonkey

    June 12, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Do you think you’re allowed to just skip the scent?

    1. Nikki

      June 12, 2015 at 2:23 pm

      I’m almost 100% positive you can. As far as I know it doesn’t affect the formula of the lipstick. I don’t remember what the unscented pigments smelled like as I was trying them on during the mixing process though – but if I don’t remember, I assume that means they weren’t very noticeable!

  3. Joyce (bronzerbunny)

    June 19, 2015 at 12:42 am

    yay i’m so glad you were able to go!! i just panicked and thought maybe i lost my recipe card. but now that i think of it, it is probably in my blog post. I want to go again one day, though i don’t really need to haha

    1. Nikki

      June 19, 2015 at 9:20 am

      I should probably add mine to the post! I’m definitely going back – I mean, all the possible lipstick colors probably already exist but why should we let that stop us, right?

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