Makeup lovers who like bargains and do-it-yourself projects can apparently mold a luxury lipstick at home with free samples if they have the right materials and patience.
Cosmetics Repair, an anonymous cosmetics repairer and content creator on Facebook and TikTok, has gone viral for demonstrating that designer lipstick samples can transform into a whole lipstick for a fraction of the retail price.
“12 color cards make three lipsticks!” Cosmetics Repair wrote in a recent Facebook Reel, which has been viewed more than 5.2 million times.
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Cosmetics Repair used a dozen Tom Ford color cards to reveal the DIY lipstick project.
The video shows each color card has three samples in varying pink-red shades and a small applicator.
Cosmetics Repair separates each lipstick sample by color and placed three empty lipstick tubes with their respective spirals, outer shells, inner bodies and caps in a metal bin, which was then filled with what appears to be a sanitizing solution.
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The multi-part lipstick tubes were then placed on a paper-lined tray and were set on a metal rack.
It’s not immediately clear if the metal rack is part of an autoclave machine – a steam sanitizing chamber – which can retail for as little as $20, according to current Amazon listings.
Professional-grade autoclaves can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Fox News Digital reached out to Cosmetics Repair for comment via Facebook and TikTok.
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While wearing gloves, Cosmetics Repair opens each lipstick sample and removes the lip color with a small metal spatula.
The three lip colors are sorted into three miniature-sized glass beakers, which were melted down on a temperature-controlled hot plate.
Cosmetics Repair pours the melted lip colors into a lipstick mold and allows each lip color to cool down until it beccomes a solid lipstick.
With the lipstick tube already assembled, Cosmetics Repair gently presses the tube’s spiral into the mold to insert the solid lipstick.
Although Cosmetics Repair used a lipstick mold with a “TF” emblem that looks almost identical to the Tom Ford logo, it’s not necessary to do so.
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Tom Ford lipsticks retail between $58 and $60 per lipstick tube on the brand’s website and in most major makeup stores.
Fox News Digital reached out to Estée Lauder Companies Inc – the parent company of Tom Ford’s cosmetics line – for comment.
On Facebook, the lipstick hack video has received more than 95,000 likes, 900 shares and 260 comments.
The footage was also shared to the @Cosmetic_Repair account on TikTok in March, which has a following of more than 3.2 million. There, the trick garnered over 28,500 views.
“This is what I do when [I] have so many testers,” one TikTok user wrote.
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While DIY lipstick kits have been available to consumers for decades and people have made their own cosmetics, chemists seem to be divided on whether it’s safe to melt lipstick samples to form a full-sized lipstick tube.
Mark Nelson, of Novato, California, the vice president of science and business development at CP Lab Safety, told Fox News Digital that consolidating lipstick samples can be done, but DIYers should be wary.
“Basically, lipsticks are made of waxes, oils and pigments that color the product. If the lipsticks are safe to begin with, they should be safe to melt and combine,” Nelson said.
“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does regulate cosmetics, [but] it’s up to the maker to generate a lipstick or cosmetic free from contaminants that may be harmful to the user,” he continued. “The colorants used in lipstick are also regulated by the FDA, and typically do not pose a problem when heated and combined.”
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Nelson recommends that at-home cosmetics makers check the safety profile of their individual cosmetics before making a purchase or attempting a project.
“Low cost, bargain-basement, and even expensive lipsticks may contain contaminants, and in some cases toxins such as heavy metals like lead and cadmium,” Nelson said. “The best way to avoid exposure is to use lipstick sparingly or not at all, and that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.”
The FDA has limits on the trace amounts of heavy metal that can be present in cosmetics on a parts-per-million (ppm) basis, according to current published draft guidelines for the industry.
A 2022 FDA report on heavy metal testing shows that heavy metal limits set by the agency vary for cosmetic ingredients and color additives.
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Regulators at the FDA reportedly conduct surveys to test commercial cosmetics for heavy metals, impurities and other limited ingredients.
Surveys have shown that more than 99% of cosmetics contain less than 10 ppm of lead, lipsticks included.
David Petrillo, of Reno, Nevada, a cosmetic skincare chemist who founded Perfect Image Skincare, told Fox News Digital that lipsticks that are produced at a professional facility are made “under strict” good manufacturing practice (GMP) guidelines and quality control measures, in addition to stability and shelf-life testing.
“Each formula is going to be unique, so when you try to melt it down in a non-sterile environment and mix it back together, there are certainly some risks in doing so,” Petrillo said.
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“There is a good chance of contamination since you are messing with the preservatives which were specific to a unique combination of ingredient percentages that were added in phases,” he continued.
Potential microorganism and bacteria contamination aside, Petrillo warned that melting together lipstick samples could change the stability or shelf life of the product, so the manufacturer details on the original packaging can’t be relied on once changed.
“Worse, your lips are made to absorb things into your skin and body, so you may experience a host of possible side effects such as irritation, dryness, peeling and etc.” Petrillo said.
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Most commercial lipsticks are manufactured to last for one to two years, according to the Mayo Clinic Health System, a nonprofit academic medical center.
DIYers who attempt to consolidate designer lipstick samples into whole lipstick tubes should be aware that any attempts to sell the lipsticks for personal gain would likely violate national intellectual property rights, as outlined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) “Counterfeit Cosmetics, Fragrances” warning from 2014.
The FBI is partnered with the National Intellectual Property Rights Center and doesn’t recommend buying cosmetics from flea markets, unfamiliar websites and unauthorized stores or dealers due to the health risks that are associated with counterfeit cosmetics.
The viral DIY designer lipstick video is trending at a time when custom lipstick brands have become popular with makeup aficionados, including Lip Lab by Bite, a custom lipstick chain with nine locations throughout the United States and Canada.
There are other custom makeup studios and brands in the U.S. and abroad, such as the MYX Blend Bar in Dallas, Texas, and La bouche rouge, Paris, an online-only cosmetics company in France.