A Comprehensive Guide to the New World of Customizable Beauty

Rachel Krause
A Comprehensive Guide to the New World of Customizable Beauty
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For the most part, the process of choosing beauty products has always been fairly rote: You go to Sephora or CVS or Ulta or whatever store has the strongest gravitational pull for you, pick your poison up off a shelf, and walk out (after you’ve paid, ideally). There’s nothing particularly personal about it, unless you count consulting a salesperson to help find your foundation shade and discovering that you’re between two and need to buy both immediately as “personal.”

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The closest you’ll get to customizing your own beauty products is with a palette of hand-picked eyeshadow colors, which many brands have offered for years, or the old faithful that is mixing stuff you already own and hoping for the best (and that you don’t sear off a layer of your skin by blending an anti-acne treatment and a wrinkle reducer).

But customizable beauty is being redefined, insofar as you can now formulate your very own skin care, lip color, foundation, and more without a chemistry degree—or a Pinterest recipe, for that matter—thanks to these six new services. It’s DIY without, you know, actually doing it yourself.

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Skin Inc. My Daily Dose Custom-Blended Serum Set

Your skin-care routine is so personal, which is a big part of what makes this custom-blended serum situation especially genius. All you have to do is take a straightforward quiz (available both online and in Sephora stores) about your skin type and concerns and it'll select three of the nine available standalone serum formulas based on your answers.

For $90 you'll receive the individual serums and a mixing bottle, so you can alter the ratios based on your particular needs—and since each is priced at $45 on its own, you're actually getting one of them for free.

Photo: instagram


This app launched late last year to much fanfare, and for good reason: It uses your smartphone's camera to scan your face, then analyzes your unique skin tone to create a customized shade of foundation. To sweeten the deal, the formula also multitasks in a big way—it offers moisturizing color and coverage while also acting as a primer.

The app itself is free to download, but each foundation is $49 if you choose to buy, which isn't half bad for a full bottle of foundation that's made for you. If you happen to be in the Santa Monica area, you can even schedule an appointment at the MATCHCo lab to experience the process firsthand.

Photo: instagram

Function of Beauty

Choose your hair type (straight, wavy, curly, or oily), your hair structure (fine, medium, or coarse), your scalp condition (dry, normal, or oily), your five most pressing #hairgoals (replenishing? Fixing split ends? Strengthening? Hydrating?), and your preferred fragrance and bottle, and a team of chemists will get to mixing up your personal shampoo and conditioner blends—with your name on the bottle, to boot.

The formulas are free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, GMOs, and triclosan (basically, all the bad stuff), and with prices starting at $22 for an individual 16 oz bottle of shampoo or conditioner and ending at $38 for 16 oz of both shampoo and conditioner, it's a solid economical choice, too.

Photo: instagram

Bite Beauty Lip Lab

Full disclosure, before you get too excited: This lip-color lover's mecca currently exists only in NYC, but the brand is looking to add more locations to that very exclusive list. Bite's ready-made lipsticks are known in the biz as some of the most pigmented, most comfortable, and most safe-to-put-near-your-mouth around, and their custom creations are no different. It takes less than 20 minutes to choose your own color, texture, finish, and flavor, and you'll be able to get up close and personal as the process takes place.

One tube will set you back $45, or you can snag two for $60—highly recommended. Bonus points for the fact that the space also hosts private events (with gift bags and complimentary dranks!), so if that sounds like the dream for your birthday or bachelorette party, you're in luck.

Photo: instagram

Kiehl's Apothecary Preparations

This one is currently only available at the brand's NYC flagship location in the East Village, but not for long—it'll be launching in cities nationwide come September, which all things considered isn't too long of a wait.

For $95 you'll get a one-on-one consultation with an in-shop customer representative (who will be wearing a lab coat to make the whole thing feel more legit) to help you identify which areas your skin could use some help in and your very own personalized facial concentrate made up of two of the brand's five potent complexes to help target wrinkles, reduce redness, refine texture, brighten dull skin, and shrink pores.

Photo: instagram

Lancôme Le Teint Particulier

This new innovation is about to be big—once it launches nationwide, of course, since right now you can only find it at two Nordstrom locations on the West Coast. (How cruel.)

At $80 for 1 oz, it's on the pricey end, but you get a one-of-a-kind liquid foundation—oil-free, paraben-free, fragrance-free, and safe for the most sensitive skin types—with excellent coverage and a weightless finish.

Photo: instagram

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