Lips unsealed — Sabrina Suhail’s bespoke lipstick

August 03, 2018 03:45 pm | Updated 03:45 pm IST

Bengaluru-based makeup artist Sabrina Suhail realised that when she was applying makeup on someone, she was not really using one product per se, but a mix of several kinds to create that perfect look. “If I applied foundation, I would mix two shades to suit someone’s complexion; the same principles applied for lipsticks and eyeshadows,” she says. “I wondered if I could make a product that my clients want.That way, my client can have control over what she wants” So she created a bespoke line of lipsticks (liquid, liquid matte and matte), lip glosses and balms (with plans to make concealers, blushes and foundations). Launched last week, the eponymous label offers you a choice of colour, texture and aroma to create a one-of-a-kind lip colour. The makeup artist joins a small army of bespoke lipstick manufacturers, including Canadian company Bite, Australia’s The Lip Lab, and Chennai’s The Custom Lab.

Animal instinct

An animal lover, Suhail works with her dog Bob by her side at her pet-friendly studio. With a focus on cruelty-free products, the online offerings on her website (coming soon) will include a range of nylon and Taklon fibre instead of animal hair makeup brushes, and false eyelashes made from synthetic mellow fibres rather than the commonly used mink fur. “All my manufacturers (she will not divulge details but they are from outside India) are cruelty-free and vegan-certified,” she claims, sharing that she has applied to PETA for vegan certification. A chemistry graduate, Suhail found herself going back to the subject to learn more about the science of makeup composition and ethical, sustainable products.

But why bother customising a lipstick when there are so many choices in the beauty market? ““When you go to a commercial brand and like a lipstick for instance, you might want a creamy texture, but the brand only offers it in matt. Now they will offer you a powder to pat onto your lips for that mattifying effect. Which means you will have to buy the powder too,” explains Sabrina. “What if you are allergic to fragrances? Most commercial brands come with aroma and are not cruelty free. As a client you should have control over that,” she notes.

Matte made in heaven

I sit down at an all-white lip station lined with tubes of pigments, moulds, beakers and mirrors. Suhail mentions that the permutations and combinations of colours that can be achieved are infinite. Since the launch of her label, she has created 60 unique colours!

I opt for a red with brown undertones — a kind of 90s throwback. Suhail mixes drops of red (with pink undertones) and brown pigments with a spatula. If you have seen those oddly satisfying lipstick smashing videos on Instagram, you will love this bit. A reddish pink with a hint of brown tone is achieved, but I would like it to be redder. She then mixes an orange-red shade and I am already close to my colour, but I want it darker, and we keep mixing and matching till I get what I want. Mixing the pigment with hydrating natural waxes and plant oils, she (to make the lipstick hydrating) over a heater and adds my choice of a coconut aroma (vanilla, mandarin, and After 8 are some other options). Set in a mould, it solidifies and my lipstick is ready to be put in a black and gold casing. I also test out her highly pigmented and glittery eyeshadows in gold, topaz, coppers and pinks, meant to be applied by hand, before I head out. (For those who cannot make it to Suhail’s studio, a set of lipsticks will be up on her site soon.)

As for my brand new, hydrating lipstick, which I named Retro, it lasted me through two meals and left a nice burnished stain, even after all the moisture was gone.

Lipsticks are priced at ₹2,702 per tube, and eye pigments at ₹820 for two grams. Customisations by appointment at 9538477770.Online shopping to be made available soon at

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