beauty

"No big deal, but I now have a lipstick named after me."

Image: Oh, this old thing? (Supplied).

I can count on two fingers the things I have in common with Gwyneth Paltrow. One: We’re both women. Two: We both have lipstick shades named after us.

It’s true. I mightn’t share Gwyneth’s riches, fame or claim to a makeup line, but as of last week I too have a lipstick in my name. Don’t be intimidated, I’m just kind of a big deal.

…Okay, so the real reason I now own a tube labelled ‘The Kahla’ is The Lip Lab, which has recently opened its doors on Sydney’s Oxford Street.

This first-of-its-kind store allows you to oversee the creation of a bespoke lipstick, lip gloss or balm. You have the power to dictate every single part of the process: the colour, the flavour, the finish, the amount of shimmer, the name, the container… basically, you get to be a complete control freak without any fear of judgement.

Yeah, I made this.

When I visited The Lip Lab a fortnight ago, I didn't expect this level of involvement. I'd assumed the staff would examine my face and determine the lip colour that suited me best, so I hadn't armed myself with any specific ideas. Big mistake. Huge.

My colour consultant Andrea kicked things off by asking what shade of lipstick I was after. Frankly, I had no idea. I'm well stocked in the red/dark pink end of the spectrum, and pale colours wash me out, so after some deliberation Andrea suggested we create a deep, vampy plum. It's set to be one of 2016's big colours, so I was totally on board (and relieved the decision had been made for me).

The first step was to create said plum. Andrea squeezed out blobs of blues, pinks and reds onto a transparent mixing template — making a note of the amount of each colour as she went — and blended them in front of me. When the goop began to look deliciously plum-like, I was asked to try some on to see if I liked the combination or whether I'd prefer more red or purple tones to be added.

Watch: Carla GS walks us through the classic lipsticks that have stood the test of time. (Post continues after video.)

Once we settled on a colour, Andrea mixed in some shea butter and asked me to choose between a matte or cream finish and to select a flavour. This part was easier said than done — there was a huge selection of fragrances available, ranging from lime and blueberry to pink champagne and chocolate.

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Ever the sweet tooth, I settled on creme brulee, because what mortal woman doesn't want a lipstick that smells like dessert?

The mix was then microwaved and placed into into a machine that smoothed out any remaining lumps or grittiness. From there, it was poured into the lipstick mould to cool.

As we waited, Andrea asked me what I'd like to name my shade. Having never bestowed a name upon a beauty product before, I was completely stumped. I spent a good three minutes racking my brain for a plum-based pun — we all know cosmetic companies love their punny product names — but drew a blank.

To put me out of my misery, Andrea suggested I just name the lipstick after myself. Yeah, it felt incredibly narcissistic, but I reasoned it was probably the only shot I had at ever being a lipstick muse. (Post continues after gallery.)

A moment later my now-set lipstick was pressed into a tube and handed it to me. And so, The Kahla was born.

The entire process took about 15 minutes, although Andrea said it can be longer depending on how, ah, particular the customer is. Many come in with very specific ideas about what they want — the most common request she'd had since the business opened was to recreate the shades from Kylie Jenner's sold-out Lip Kits.

This seems like the perfect "luxe for less" cheat move, right? However, the Lip Lab staff stress that it's difficult to recreate existing shades when they only have iPhone images to work with — especially ones that are probably Insta-filtered.

On top of that, customers often find that they don't like how the desired shade looks on their own lips, so it's better to come in with a general vision and then experiment with it. If you have an event coming up, you could always bring in the dress you plan to wear and go from there.

Lib Lab customers love Kylie Jenner, but it's Kendall who made the lipstick honour wall. (Supplied)

After witnessing the process, I'd expected the final product to cost a good $60 — but one lipstick or lip gloss creation costs $45, with a further $5 for each additional ingredient like SPF or a lip plumper. You can also buy a pre-made lip liner or nail polish to go with it.

The Lip Lab also keeps a record of the exact combination of colours, flavour, finish and other additives used for each creation — in other words, your very own Secret Recipe — so they can all be recreated in future. So yes, you are welcome to go in and order your own tube of The Kahla. I promise I won't mind.

Get some more lipstick inspiration here...

What would your dream lipstick look like?

You can make a booking at The Lip Lab here. Currently it's only in Sydney, but there are plans to open stores in other major cities. Stay tuned. 

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