Review: Lip Lab Opens in Minnesota

Mall of America introduces customized cosmetics experience


Courtesy of Lip Lab

On September 18, the Lip Lab opened its first Midwest store in the Mall of America allowing customers to work with one of their color experts to create their own customized lipstick. 

I went to check out the store the day before it opened to the public and sat down with Store Manager and color expert Josh Barry and Vice President of Lib Lab Diana Peinado, to learn about the store and make my own personalized lipsticks. 

At the Lip Lab, you can pick your lipstick color, finish (matte, satin, luminous, and sheer), and scent. Then you can engrave your tube with whatever you want to name your personalized shade. The lipsticks cost $60 each, and are clean and eco-friendly. The Lip Lab will also soon be implementing a new vegan satin formula to honor their commitment to “world-conscious” products. 

Color experts go through two weeks of intensive training on cosmetics quality assurance and color theory to learn how to not only make lipstick, but also how to help find your perfect shade. 

Courtesy of Lip Lab

As part of the experience, Barry assessed my skin tone, undertones, hair color, eye color, and natural lip tint to mix my perfect satin nude and a classic red matte shade. He carefully measured out the ingredients for each lipstick and recorded it on a card with my name so that if I wanted a refill later, the Lip Lab would be able to perfectly re-create the shade. 

After giving me a sample of each to try, we figured out my favorite shades and moved on to picking out scents. I chose mango for the red and lime for the nude, which was also recorded on the card. As Barry began incorporating the scent into the product, we talked about potential Lip Lab creations, the most ingenious of which (in my opinion) is the ability to re-create discontinued or sold out lipstick shades. Simply bring in a photo or the remnants of an old product, and the color experts can match the shade and make a new one.

While Barry did the technical work of creating the lipstick through a process of heating and freezing the product, I chatted with Peinado (who was wearing a gorgeous pink shade of personalized lipstick) about the Lip Lab. 

Peinado reaffirmed the Lip Lab’s interest in encouraging sustainable makeup consumption by opting for customization over product options. Instead of constantly launching new lipsticks, the Lip Lab cuts down on product waste in favor of creating entirely new lipsticks for each customer, she explained. 

“We’re very sustainable in the idea that less is more. The fact that the product is tailored to you means that you probably spend less money and time buying a bunch of stuff,” she said.

We talked about construction of the new store and the other locations across the country. The MOA location is smaller than sister stores, creating a more intimate retail experience as you sit with your color expert and probably your friends. Peinado said 80% of Lip Lab guests book two or more spots at the counter.

“I hope that shoppers can see us as a social destination,” she said. “Have fun with your friends, make something that is personal, and walk away with a wonderful memory.”

Photo by Kate Lawless

The best part of the Lip Lab is hands down the kind team of color experts, but the second best part is the final step in the process when the color expert takes the lipstick out of the freezer and perfectly places your lipstick from the shaping case to the tube. If you’re a fan of @oddlysatisying on Tik Tok, you’ll understand why this step is so calming.

After the lipsticks were sheathed within their tubes, Barry engraved my name on the matte red and my little sister’s name on the nude, putting the final touch on this personalized shopping experience. I wore the nude out of the store and the red the next day, both of which proved to be fairly long wearing and highly pigmented in their final form. 

For lipstick enthusiasts like me, the Lip Lab is a fun way to involve yourself in the creation of your favorite products and get personalized consulting on the best look for you. 

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