HP inkologist Thom Brown: “a printer could print make-up”

A few weeks ago we reported on Grace Choi’s Mink printer. Mink is a 3D printer that would ultimately be able to print make-up for you. When we posted the article on social media we had varied responses. We decided to run some of the questions and concerns past HP inkologist Thom Brown.

Brown is HP’s resident Supplies Technology Specialist and runs a YouTube channel for the company that gives you a little bit of insight into inks and printing. We asked Thom to take a look at the Mink and give us his thoughts. His initial view?

I wouldn’t consider this a 3D printer. A 3D printer would actually build something of structure. Maybe I’m wrong, but this cosmetics idea is just using colour ink to create whatever shade of colour you wish.

The Mink uses printer ink to form the make-up. There’s a safety implication and we wanted to know how safe it would be to use printer ink as a make-up base. Thom responded:

As far as I know, there are zero inkjet inks from the major manufacturers that are FDA approved. My guess is the food dye inks which are edible which they would use to print a picture on rice paper and put on birthday cake are FDA approved. Those inks from what I understand are basically the same as kitchen food dye inks.

A quick FYI, HP inks and products all have an environmental product steward to ensure that items are sourced responsibly and reduce their impact on the environment. Though HP would suggest you didn’t ingest or come in contact with the ink.

mink make up1

When we asked him if the Mink idea was feasible though?

Sure, a printer and ink if designed properly could print makeup, I guess.

When we showed the Mink article to Chantelle Bester, a beauty blogger at Not Another Poppie, she voiced concern that the printer may not be able to get the metallic finishes and glittery tones we’ve come to expect in certain eye shadows and lipsticks. However, Thom says this is not the case and that inks could potentially provide metallic and glossy finishes, just like paints.

The consensus? We hope Choi’s Mink Printer comes to fruition. Cleary it is feasible and with some tweaking could definitely work.

Imagine never having to run out of your favourite eye shadow again?

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I'd love to chat to you some more.


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