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Will 3D Printing for Makeup Finally Bring Diversity to the Beauty Industry?

Estee Lauder campaign

Estee Lauder is one of the few beauty brands which shows diversity in its campaigns / Image:

Last month, an inventor named Grace Choi unveiled a prototype for a 3D printer called MINK, which can print makeup from any home computer. The product can produce blush, eye shadow, lip gloss and other types of makeup in any color, by pulling color codes off of digital photos. MINK prints makeup with the same ink used by beauty companies (Choi told Business Insider that the ink is FDA-approved). 

When it goes on sale later this year, MINK will be priced around $300. If that seems fairly low for such a new and futuristic-sounding technology, that's because Choi isn't really in it for the money: she wants to disrupt the beauty industry's hold over young women and their self-esteem. In an article which just went up on The Daily Beast, Choi tells fashion reporter Erin Cunningham that she sees her product as a form of activism. 

Choi, who is Korean-American, says that she created MINK to combat the lack of racial diversity represented by cosmetic products and advertising:

“After graduating from Harvard, I thought I would feel more confident about myself. But for some reason, I looked in the mirror and I still felt insufficient, ugly, and just not enough… I’m like, ‘Where is this coming from?’ I think it pummels back to when you’re young and how corporate America companies market [things]. They’re [always] telling you you need more… We live in a society—I feel like we live in the matrix already—that’s controlled by marketers. People just don’t realize it yet because we’re taught to accept the status quo…I decided to do beauty first because that is the most important [industry]—in terms of self-confidence, and shaping women. Also it directly [deals] with race. You can put this whole thing—the supply chain and whatnot, and do it with hamburgers. But when you’re doing it with cosmetics, you’re dealing with a racial issue because it [deals] with skin color. This is so much more of a societal issue than just a commercial issue. I was like, ‘This is too important for me to ignore.’”

The printer will be specifically targeted to 13- to 21-years-olds.

You can watch Choi present MINK in the video below:



[This 3-D Printer Can Change Fashion's Diversity Problem – Daily Beast]