Painting the town red with Sydney’s The Lip Lab

For lipstick lovers who’ve ever run out of a favourite hue only to find the product’s been discontinued, or those who dream of the perfect shade that doesn’t seem to exist in stores: you’re in luck. You’ll often spot Editor-in-Chief Rachel Khoo and the Khoollect team sporting vibrant shades of lipstick and, when we came across Sydney’s The Lip Lab, a company that creates cruelty-free customised lipsticks, we needed to know more. Courtney and Kimberley Treacy are two sisters who turned a travel-inspired idea into a successful business, and here they’ve shared how it all happened:

A day in the life

How did your idea for The Lip Lab come about?

The idea was born on a stopover in Dallas where we passed a shop making customised lipstick. We tried it for ourselves, had a lot of fun and loved the idea so we began to research the entire process. On our return to Australia we sought out a compounding chemist who helped to develop our crème, matte and vegan bases and began working with one of the largest makeup developers in the USA to perfect our specialised technique to actually mix and blend a lipstick or lip gloss.

Tell us a bit about the concept…

In under 30 minutes, we can make any colour lipstick or lip gloss that your mind can imagine. Our specialised consultants work with you to create the perfect colour, and we can even add flavours, lip plumpers, SPF and moisture additives. At the end of the process you even get to name your own lipstick. We can also recreate discontinued lipsticks for those shades you love but can no longer buy. All we need is a smear to work with and voila – you have your favourite lipstick again.

There must be a lot of work involved in creating a cosmetic company. Tell us about some of the challenges …

Initially we knew what we wanted, but no one could understand or get their heads around how much of each pigment or mica you require per lipstick, so that took months to perfect. We wanted ethically-sourced products that were certified safe and that took time to find. We have been blessed to finally be working with some of the best minds in the makeup business. As most of them are based in Central USA, Skyping and Zoom conferencing have become our best friends.

The Lip Lab

Are you surprised at how popular Lip Lab has become?

We have been blown away, but we knew everyone would love it as much as we did. Kimberley is hard to impress and even she was jumping out of her seat with excitement. We’ve also been humbled by the great reviews every customer has given us.

Best Kept Secrets

I khoollect a few…

Random old-school spoons, polaroid cameras – you name it. I’m developing an unhealthy obsession with Christian Louboutin shoes since that fateful trip to Dallas! Kimberley collects Louis Vuitton bags. Needless to say, we work a lot of hours to keep the obsession up.

What’s your favourite item in your khoollection? 

Family photos on my photo wall and my pop’s war medals he gave to me before he passed away.

Your five lip-care essentials?

Hands down a good lip exfoliator or The Lip Lab pumice to keep lips smooth and flake-free, a moisturising lip balm slathered on before bed, a crème lipstick in winter red, and a matte lipstick in pink. Also, you should always use a liner to outline perfectly, and if you need plumping start subtle.

Who’s your #khoollectcrush?

I really admire women who leave abusive relationships. It’s easy to admire celebrities, however, women who get the courage to leave domestic violence and toxic relationships always get my vote.

Lip Lab

Urban Favourites

Where do you call home?


What’s your favourite place for coffee?

In Paddington I’d have to say Mickey’s, and in Camden it would have to be Barenz. Both are amazing and super fast.

Best spot for breakfast?

In bed.

Where do you love to go for dinner?

Catalina in Rose Bay or Chiswick in Woolhara.

Where do you go to do your beauty product shopping?

Courtney: Aspect Dr is my fave for skincare.
Kimberley: ELEMIS skincare.

How do you spend a lazy Sunday?

At home by the pool, or we take out our jet skis.

If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?

Courtney: Santorini,  but only for six months of the year.
Kimberley: New York.

You may also like

Profile Photo
Bex Shannon

Hailing from far away New Zealand, Bex is into music, travel and everything vintage and retro. She h...

READ MORE BY Bex Shannon

You decide

Your dream holiday destination

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Find out more

Visit The Lip Lab online, and follow Courtney and Kimberley’s lipstick-making journey on Facebook, and Instagram.

Feeling inspired? Check out the The Lip Lab’s ten essential lipstick tips to get that perfect pout.

You can also give us your lipstick application tips on the Khoollect forum.

Photos by

Carly Earl