Teen Vogue

Teen Vogue

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"I think I'm ready for round two."

For $6, you can easily pick up any drugstore lipstick you want. Depending on the brand you’re after and how many coupons you can coax out of the CVS coupon scanner, you might even walk away with two. But will they feature the exact color, formula, and finish you want — not to mention the name of your choice? The chances are slim, which is why Finding Ferdinand’s $6 custom lipstick service just blew my mind.

“There wasn’t a good solution for personalized cosmetics online,” says founder Nhu Le. On her site, she offers refillable makeup palettes, brushes, and lip kits, but my favorite option by far is the custom mini lip stick sample, which lets you create your dream shade, wrapped in a refreshingly cool, lucite case. “Many customers come to us to recreate a shade that’s been discontinued,” explains Nhu. “They make the color online to the best of their abilities and let us know that they’re looking to resurrect that specific color.”

When I heard about Nhu’s custom service, I instantly knew I had to test it out. Since she currently offers three finishes (sheer, creamy, matte), I decided to commission a lipstick in each formula — for research purposes, of course. Request one was the deepest, matte red imaginable. The final color swatch reminded me of a brick, so I imaginatively named it “Brick.” Then, I asked for a cream-finish version of Charlotte Tilbury’s Bond Girl, one of my favorite matte lipsticks. I called it “Bond Street” after the tube station in London, mostly because it was the first thing that popped into my head. Finally, because I figured I might as well make something I definitely couldn’t find at the drugstore, I dreamed up a sheer lip tint meant to mimic the cherubic pouts characteristic of Rococo portraiture. As I explained to Nhu, I was inspired by the frothy shades of pink in Fragonard’s “The Swing”, so “Fragonard” was clearly the only name that would do.

The system is simple: you mix your dream color from a grid of 15 pre-existing swatches. You can select up to four colors, then fiddle with each shade’s concentration, by percentage. From there, you select your desired finish, pop in a name, and add references in a section called “additional notes.” These notes can range from questions for the brand (Is the shade I mixed a match for this existing lipstick?) to references (like pictures, product links, or more detailed descriptions) that help Nhu and her team make any necessary tweaks. Since I spend large amounts of my time thinking about my dream makeup products, the whole process took me mere minutes.

My trio of tiny lipsticks arrived within a week, sealed in an aluminum pouch with a handwritten label. The hues were spot-on, and although I wasn’t completely in love with the matte finish (a touch drying) or the scent (a light hint of play-doh?), they were all well worth the price. Fragonard is my favorite of the three, and I’ve taken to applying a few, quick coats every morning. It instantly transforms my mouth into a glistening, pink smile — like the most angelic lip balm you’ve ever encountered. I think I’m ready for round two.

Originally seen on Teen Vogue