By Erin Williams


Does anybody else miss “The Candy Man” song in the new Willy Wonka movie? All those bins of rainbow colored treats made my mouth water and my heart beat faster as a kid. I experienced the same feeling upon walking into the Three Custom Color Specialists Studio at the behest of a fellow makeup artist, Elisa Flowers, who helped us out with June’s “Does Length Really Matter?” story on mascaras. We kept using 3CC’s products on shoots, so I had to check it out for myself. Jars of multiple hues in loose pigments, lipsticks, and blushes were in abundance and I felt the old excitement of Charlie rise again.

Founded by three friends with a background in product development and business, 3CC launched in 1997 as a mail order cosmetic custom blending company. Trae Bodge, Scott Catto, and Chad Hayduk have a new Color Studio in New York City’s Flatiron District, the fruit of their loving labor, and that’s where I met up with Trae to walk through the line. The space is open and serene with a window to the lab where all of the mixing takes place. And let me tell you, they’ve thought of everything.

Their Ready to Wear collection has over 200 items that are divided into Warm and Cool tones. “We wanted something simple and basic that would work for all ethnic backgrounds,” Trae said. The bronzers are amazing in their wearability and versatility, and the texture is perfect for lasting through the day. They have everything under the sun in the Ready to Wear line with the exception of foundations. That’s only because they find their concealor and powders usually do the trick.

But the heart and soul of 3CC is the ability to custom-blend any color for the eyes, lips, cheeks, and face. Trae likens it to “heirloom jewelry,” since everything is personal and they’re developing a color just for you. Did your favorite lipstick get discontinued? 3CC can give you 2 new tubes that are a perfect match in color and texture in a matter of days. Want your lipstick to match your new red sports car (you laugh, but my mother did this back in the day)? Take in a paint chip. They can match anything!

The one-on-one consultations are a great service. You sit down with either a trained makeup artist or the actual founders, Trae or Chad, and they walk you through what is appropriate for you after getting a feel of what you have and what you need. They’re there to help you find what’s practical for you and if that isn’t in their Ready to Wear line, they’ll make it for you! “We’re not here to inflict (on you) someone else’s idea of what looks good” Trae said.

Another treat happens every Monday when eyebrow goddess Duffy Neuberger comes to the studio. The brow sessions last for about 30 minutes as she tweezes and trims to find “one perfect brow shape for each person.” Duffy’s easy manner and talent make you feel comfortable putting your trust in her, and you’ll be happy you did. She doesn’t impose her ‘look’ on you, but views your face from all angles to perfect ‘your’ arch and give you ‘your’ flawless finish. Next, she picks either a Brow Powder or Gel from the Ready to Wear line or has one custom blended to match your hair perfectly.

The fun thing about Three Custom Color is that it’s a perfect fit for the makeup novice AND the makeup diva, as both would feel equally at home. Like the candy store, there’s something for everyone and no one goes home empty-handed. You’ll feel like you’ve won a Golden Ticket!

Three Custom Color Specialists products and services are available at or by calling 1-800-262-7714.

Originally published September 2005



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