Photo: Courtesy of Love & Make
Teens and tweens are using social media to document their hands-on beauty experiences at local maker spaces.
At Myx Blend Bar in Rice Village, which opened this summer, customers sit at a large, curved bar and work with a staff “myxologist” to make their own lipstick or lip gloss.
Using a palette knife, they rub colors onto a calibration board and try on different shades while the staffer discusses the formula of each pigment.
Founder Rebekah Reedy Miller conceived of the from-scratch retail experience while watching her then 12-year-old stepdaughter glued to YouTube videos about DIY cosmetics.
Teens and tweens are “really interested in custom but also interested in the process,” she says. “That’s why they love all these social-media platforms and creating content and putting it out and defining themselves.”
After determining their custom color, the client chooses from eight avocado-derived bases along with scents, such as pink champagne and cherry.
Next, it’s time to add shimmers, glitters and properties such as moisture, SPF or lip plumper.
The final step is often the most difficult, Miller says — naming the custom product.
“The names really reflect their personalities,” she says of her customers of all ages, and the product they take home is tied to a memory.
“I feel like retail is moving to experiences,” she says. “They totally made it, and they are proud of it — it’s theirs.”
Appointments, which last about 30 minutes, are $35 for ages 13 and younger (myxblendbar.com).
Also located in Rice Village, Love & Make is a boutique DIY studio owned by sisters-in-law.
Co-founder Amara Aigbedion says that female customers, between ages 13-18, often use the hashtag #satisfying to share their soap-blending and bath-bomb-making experiences.
“It’s a huge trend in that age range,” Aigbedion says of crafting experiences “that really heighten the senses visually.”
Mimicking terms used by social-media influencers and YouTubers, she hears them discussing the satisfying nature of playing with colors and chopping ingredients to make their self-care products.
“You get to get your hands inside the powder, you get to crush it in between your fingers,” she says of the DIY videos and photos they post.
After combining scents, such as watermelon, apple, vanilla and lavender, participants melt and pour the soap, some opting to blend hues for a multicolor product and adding dried botanicals.
In addition to experimenting with measurements and ingredients, she says, the demographic is interested in learning the therapeutic properties, such as clays that extract oil from the skin.
Because a soap-making session yields 10-20 bars and a bath-bomb class makes about seven bombs, students usually gift some of their creations to family and friends.
“They come out with a professional-looking end product, which makes them feel like, ‘Wow, I actually made this, and I’m a kid,’” Aigbedion says.
Two-hour bath bomb and soap classes are $50-$55 (loveandmake.com).
At the in-house candle bar at Forth & Nomad in Heights Mercantile, Generation Z clients typically book the one-hour experience in a group, says co-owner Andy Sommer.
All the better for capturing their step-by-step experience for TikTok and Snapchat, he says, adding that Boomerang is often used to capture wax-pouring.
“They want to document all the cool things about it so they can tell their friends,” he says.
Using a notebook and beaker to blend, test and balance custom scents, such as white tea and jasmine, students are offered coffee beans as a palate cleanser.
After melting the pure soy wax, they pour the candle and use a special tool to set the wick.
In Sommer’s observation, millennials ask questions about how the all-natural ingredients tie to physical wellness, while the younger clientele is focused on their emotional state.
“They’re always talking about relaxation, destressing,” he says. “‘This takes me to this happy place.’”
Also in comparison, the Gen Z set is more interested in their photo-taking than the laborious alchemy of scent-blending, he says.
Allison Bagley is a Houston-based writer.