Custom Color Troika


A few weeks back, referred by beauty maven Julia Chance, I visited the Color Studio of Three Custom Color Specialists for a sit-down with Co-Founder and Creative Director, Trae Bodge. At the white-walled HQ/ laboratory, Trae and partners Managing Director, Scott Catto and Training Director, Chad Hayduk create a dazzling array of ready-to-wear cosmetic colors and are at the ready to whip up custom blends, the cornerstone of their business. Having trouble finding the perfect shade to complement your skin tone? They’ve got you covered. Is your favorite lip color being discontinued? Have you been inspired by the russet hue of a fallen leaf? No problem, provide them with a color sample — a smear from that coveted lipstick, a fabric swatch, any visual reference to the desired color — and the expert triumvirate will produce an exact match.

Makeup artists Trae and Chad cut their beauty teeth with the pioneering 1980’s custom-blend cosmetics brand, Visage Beaute and eventually moved on to a lengthy stint at Kiehl’s where they gained invaluable experience and first-hand knowledge of the particulars of running a successful small business in the beauty/skincare industry. Partnering with Chad’s honey, marketing expert Scott, the duo became a trio and they set out on their own. Launching in 1997 with the custom-blending concept and a few ready-to-wear lip colors, the company has grown to become the go-to brand for custom color and has a loyal following for its expanded line of 250 ready-to-wear colors (everything but nail polish.)

The company prides itself on its quality control and ability to respond quickly as the product is created in-house. Smartly, their business model includes servicing the individual consumer as well as the trade. A bride can get the rosy glow of the first peach she shared with her fiancé, the professional makeup artist can get the silvery green required to transform an actress into a sea nymph. The formulations from powders to crèmes are top notch and painstaking care is given to the “feel” of a product.

A favorite of mine is the Mood Lighting Shimmer Crème, developed with television’s “Make Me a Supermodel,” makeup artist Dina Gregg. A powder/crème hybrid, it glides on easily with the fingertips for subtle sparkle on the face and décolletage. I embrace multi-functionality and love that it is safe to use on both eyes and lips.

From the retro carmines sizzling on-screen in Inglourious Basterds to the fashion and beauty pages currently on newsstands, rubied lips are right now and, dare I say it, red hot. 3CCS offers a timely crimson tide with A Century in Red lip color palette, one shade for every decade of the past century:

Belle Epoque (1910’s)—A rich bee-stung red stain befitting of the Gibson Girls.
Flapper (1920’s)—A deep burgundy crème, perfect for dancing the Charleston.
Platinum Blonde (1930’s)—A true red-brown that Garbo would favor.
Rosie the Riveter (1940’s)—The color that endured WWII, a rich blue-red.
Gamine (1950’s)—A bright orange-red that Lucy would love.
Mod (1960’s)—A “pop” pinky-red gloss.
Disco (1970’s)—A deep shimmering cranberry to boogie down in.
New Wave (1980’s)—A cool, nude red crème for when you feel like a “material girl.”
Virtual (1990’s)—A brown-red crème, perfect for surfing the net.
Futura (for the millennium)—A scarlet-red gloss with a hit of platinum, to lead the way to the next century.


Also noteworthy is the wand gloss, reminiscent of those bought when I first began dabbling in makeup. But make no mistake, this is not the gooey gloss of yore, it is for grown ups (though my eight-year-old friend Aria, who accompanied me to the studio, is delighted with the child-friendly pale pink Trae, mother of a daughter and all-around cool chick, so graciously presented her.)

As a woman of color, Trae is acutely aware of the need for makeup shades across a full spectrum of skin tones. When she appeared in August on QVC to promote the brand’s ready-to-wear Crème Concealer/Foundation, the deepest tones sold out almost immediately. She’s been invited back and will appear tonight on the “What’s in Your Beauty Bag?” segment (10-11pm) to demonstrate six of the ten shades available in the product line. Tune in and place your order. I can vouch for it; it’s a great product.

Do peruse to discover the breadth and depth of product available and the myriad possibility for customization, explore the menu of consultation offerings and get an understanding of the company’s commitment to social responsibility through the special projects and collaborative efforts they undertake. Also check the CBS website for advice on beauty essentials from Trae who appeared just days ago on The Early Show segment, What You Need in Your Makeup Bag.



3 Responses

  1. Thanks so much or this post, I watched QVC with my gorgeous darkskin mother and she ordered some. She was glad to know that if it works she’l always be able to get her shade. Really, thank you for letting me know.

  2. Love it!!!

  3. Wooow
    think I should have it all!

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