If you don’t know them already, I’d like to introduce a brand I respect tremendously: Three Custom Color Specialists. 3CC was founded in 1997, and from the beginning, the company offered both a ready-to-wear line, and a “custom blend” line. According to co-founder, training director, and brand makeup artist Chad Hayduk, the reason for the custom line was twofold: (1) as artists, the three “color specialists” wanted to address the needs of every skintone, and (2) as makeup lovers, they understood the pain of discovering that a beloved product has been discontinued.
3CC keeps extremely rigorous notes. They never discontinue their ready-to-wear shades, and their archive of discontinued products now catalogs more than 9,000 items. You can browse their archives — or if you want to recreate a product that’s not yet listed, you need only send them a dime-sized amount, and their specialists will get to work. Â Want a product that doesn’t exist yet? Â They can make you a shade based on a swatch of nail polish, a piece of fabric, a paint chip, a page torn out of a magazine, two lip colors blended together — anything.
Ordering a custom shade is expensive. Since they’re making a one-off item just for you, there are no production economies of scale. Â I think of this service as a safety net, in case some company should discontinue a product you can’t live without.
Their pricing is as follows (though they do offer discounts on re-orders and bulk orders):
- Lipstick or Lip Gloss â€“ $55 for two tubes/pots or wands
- Cream-to-Powder Blush â€“ $37.50 for one pot
- Eye Shadow, Cake Eyeliner, Lip & Cheek Stain, Powder Blush, Brow Powder, Pressed Mini Face Powder, or Cream Concealer â€“ $36.50 for one compact. Also available in pan form for their Refillable Trio Compact; refills are $31.50
- Loose Face Powder â€“ $47.50 for one jar
- Tinted Brow Gel â€“ $36.50 for one wand
For comparison, a Ready-to-Wear lipstick is $21.50, an eyeshadow (or lip-and-cheek stain, or “Watercolor for Cheeks,” or cream-to-powder blush) is $22.50. Prepare to get sucked into their website; their RTW offering is very extensive. AndÂ I want to swatch, um, all of their lipsticks.
There’s one more reason I admire 3CC: they are ridiculously dedicated to helping people understand the difference between warm and cool colors, how to know what you are, and how to pick shades you will end up loving, based on that knowledge. Their shades are always designated warm, cool, or neutral — and they created this face chart, which really is worth a thousand words when it comes to explaining skintone.
Three Custom Color is still primarily an e-commerce company, though you’ll find them in some brick and mortar locations. Check their store finder to see if there’s one near you.