On Friday, I went to the Burlington Arcade to have a bespoke lipstick made. I was keen to have Gucci Rene Pink recreated in a crème finish instead of a balm at their Colour ID Lab so I took it along just in case that could happen. As it turned out, I wasn’t disappointed although you have the option to be advised and guided or bring along a long since discontinued favourite.
The process isn’t dissimilar to watching chocolate being tempered – I mean, the pigments looked good enough to eat – but its reliant on excellent colour theory knowledge. I’m still somewhat stunned that Anna, the expert colour mixer, could replicate the pink/orange/red of Rene Pink so quickly and easily. In fact, everyone at the store is an experienced make-up artist so you can get as much (or as little) advice as you like.
I looked at the colour on my lips both inside and outside (if I have one piece of feedback, it’s that the store needs a daylight replicating mirror because gosh, I looked every kind of exhausted in the one they have) to make sure it was exactly right. We reckoned that it was a 99% perfect colour match – Anna made one formula that ran slightly pinker and I was sooooo tempted to opt for that as my lipstick, but, I stuck with the brief after dithering for a while.
So, the process is that Anna takes portions from the pots of pigment that you can see in front of you using a pointy spatula while you sit watching at the lipstick bar. It gets smoothed together, you try it on, amendments are made if needed – a little more red or a little more yellow, depending – and then more magic happens. The colour mix is melted to a liquid consistency and then placed in a mold and put into the ‘machine of dreams’ which freezes it hard in the shape of a lipstick bullet. That takes around half an hour (you can nip out and get a coffee and a macaron at Laduree just along the arcade) and then your lipstick is ready.
I was a little early so Sasha demonstrated some colour theory before Anna arrived and made a gorgeous pink shade – so gorgeous I asked to keep it so it all went into a little pot for me to use with a brush. She also tooled out the remnants of my Gucci lipsticks and now I have at least half a Rene Pink balm in another pot because there is so much waste once you reach the ‘end’. Notes are taken with your exact pigments so that if I ever want another, all I need to do is give them a ring or email and they’ll have the recipe to hand to make the next one. You can, of course, name your special shade – I was so cross about how much waste there was with my other lipsticks I called it Revenge – then we added Boiling – so that’s what it started as … Boiling Revenge … and it made us laugh a lot – however, I’m going to change it to The Best Red Ever if you order. You can order it by phone 07894413895 or email (HERE). Better yet, get your very own colour and name it what you like. The finish is nicely sheeny and well pigmented so if you like things more balmy you an add a layer of (any) balm underneath (or on top) to get that same feel but if you prefer matte, there is a matte formula available for the bespoke service.
The experience was so much fun – I was nervous about it because I’m only really just getting back to doing things like this – as well as being fascinating watching the shade come to life before my eyes. It’s a great thing to do either on your own or with a girlfriend and an absolute treat for a bride to be. Prices start at £75 and you’ll be there for around an hour. If you want to see more of the process than my pictures show, the Code 8 Website HERE has all you need to know. To replace my lipstick using the colour formula is £45 and it will be hand mixed for you.
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