“It’s more than a lipstick,” said Teonna Flipping, senior in speech communication, about her new line of handcrafted, vegan lipsticks set to launch in June. “To me, it represents barriers.”
Lip Conscious — a name derived from one being conscious about ingredients in lip products and, like the definition of a conscious state, one's awareness of and responding to their surroundings — embodies Flipping’s journey to discovering her passion for making her own vegan lipsticks.
“It’s funny when people ask me, ‘How did this idea for Lip Conscious come about; how did you start making lipstick?’ because I don’t really have this pretty ‘Aha!’ story where one day I woke up and I had it. It came from connecting the dots.”
Flipping, a former InStyle beauty intern, said she loves cosmetics and was excited for her internship in New York City.
“But I just felt sad. I had this burden on me, like these girls are amazing,” Flipping said of the other interns, “I knew I loved beauty and I knew I needed a spark of independence.”
Following her internship, still unsure of how to make herself stand out professionally, nonvegan Flipping was inspired by her vegan family to start her own business, tailored to vegan needs, and tried out numerous ideas — including a vegan pizza stand or smoothie bar.
“One day I was just online, looking at beauty-related stuff, and I came across this article to make lipstick with crayon and I thought that was really neat,” Flipping said. “I just fell in love with this idea.”
Researching ingredients in her store-bought lipsticks further justified the use of vegan lipstick for Flipping.
“I began to take my Mac lipstick and look on the back and said ‘Oh, what’s that? What’s that?’” Flipping said, “And so I would type stuff in [Google] like carmine — beetles’ wings.”
Noticing the lack of vegan lipsticks in vibrant hues in stores like Whole Foods, Flipping formed the idea of making a colorful vegan lipstick line.
“The colors are bold; they’re vibrant, and they make statements.” Flipping said. “It’s for the bold and for the unapologetic — that’s what I love about it.”
Flipping described the creation of her handcrafted lipstick line as a testimony of trial and error.
“My first batch was terrible,” Flipping said about the emerald concoction — inspired by the 2013 Pantone Color of the Year. “I made a mess. But I just began to practice every morning, making lipstick.”
Developing the perfect consistency and focusing on vegan-friendly ingredients, such as avocado oil, shea oil, almond oil and titanium dioxide, led to the completion of the unique lipstick line.
“It’s a long process but I love it,” Flipping said. “I will stay up until four in the morning doing it.”
Lip Conscious lipsticks are priced at $12 each and Flipping plans to pass out samples of her line during Veishea.
“This year with this lipstick launch, I’m breaking out of my shell,” Flipping smiled. “I’m going to go for it.”