New Monthly Subscription Service Lets You Try Cutting Edge Beauty Products Before They're Released

You've heard of monthly beauty box subscriptions for nail polish and samples, but what about one for products that don't even exist yet? From the Lab, which launched a little over a month ago, is just that. It was founded by two beauty industry and marketing veterans, Steve Dworman and Lorraine Dahlinger, and what the pair is counting on is that you, the world-weary and over-educated beauty consumer, are more interested in function, ingredients, and innovation than whether the bottle has a La Mer label on it. Allow me to explain.
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You've heard of monthly beauty box subscriptions for nail polish and samples, but what about one for products that don't even exist yet? From the Lab, which launched a little over a month ago, is just that. It was founded by two beauty industry and marketing veterans, Steve Dworman and Lorraine Dahlinger, and what the pair is counting on is that you, the world-weary and over-educated beauty consumer, are more interested in function, ingredients, and innovation than whether the bottle has a La Mer label on it. Allow me to explain.
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You've heard of monthly beauty box subscriptions for nail polish and samples, but what about one for products that don't even exist yet?

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"We’ve already had confirmation that October line is coming out in retail in February at a $200 price point," Dahlinger told me. As more From the Lab products get picked up and made into so-called "real" beauty products, the subscription-based company will relay that information to its subscribers. Total bragging rights then: "Oh, yeah that hot new serum? I tried that months ago."

In this age of designer makeup, collaborations, and celeb fragrance, name recognition is all-important in the beauty world, but the From the Lab founders are betting their concept will work. "Our members are savvy. They’re comparing ingredients," Dahlinger said. "I personally want to pay for my fancy perfume in the beautiful bottle because it makes me smile. I may not want to spend $200 on a serum if I know I'm getting the exact same formula for $40. It's up to the consumer to be educated and make their own decisions."

I received the June box, which included a face primer and eye shadow primer. The stripped down packaging notwithstanding, the products themselves were good, if maybe not all that innovative to me. The primer felt silky and not sticky or greasy (a good thing), and the eye primer is pretty fantastic--I've been using it in 85+ degree temperatures with cream eye shadow and have suffered nary a crease, even after SoulCycle class. It's a lot more matte than my tried and true Makeup Forever eye primer, but I don't love the slightly nude base, which doesn't completely blend in with my skin. My interest is definitely piqued for future offerings, though.

Will this concept work? Only time will tell. But the founders are confident. "Brands will spend years developing a product launch, but we’re coming out with new products on a monthly basis. It really is the hardest thing to do," Dworman said. "There’s so much great stuff out there, we thought that was the best way to make it work."