Discontinued Lipsticks Come Back from the Grave

by Ramona Emerson

CN Digital StudioCN Digital StudioMAC recently announced a contest that has fans voting on which discontinued 90s lipsticks they would like to see brought back to life. Out of six choices, the three that get the most votes will be reissued this winter. This is all well and good, but who wants to be at the mercy of the crowd? I recently discovered a makeup company, Three Custom Color, that creates (nearly) exact copies of long-gone lipsticks.

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You can either send them a dime-sized sample of an old favorite, if you happen to have one, or head to their website to search a library of more than 10,000 discontinued colors going back to the 1930s. For instance, those cult M.A.C. colors from the 90s? Custom Color has all but one of them archived at their New York City headquarters.

No fancy gadgets here, all of the lipsticks are made by hand and matched by eye. "We've found that computers don't do a good job at matching color, because they can't pick up on the different levels of the lipstick--the undertone, overtone, coverage, and texture," says co-founder Chad Hayduk.

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Although Custom Color makes powder, concealer and blush, lipstick are by far the most popular items, making up 90 percent of their business. "When people fall in love with a lipstick, they want it. I have customers who order 100 tubes at a time," says Hayduk. The most oft-resurrected shades include Chanel Rouge Hydrabase in Coco Pink (bright fuchsia with a blue opalescent sheen), Guerlain Divinora lipstick in #480 (a fleshy beige once ordered by Angelina Jolie), and Estée Lauder Soft Gleam Red (warm orange red with a gold shimmer). The most popular lipstick of all is the 80's throwback Revlon Naked Pink. "It's an interesting shade of coral," says Hayduk, "We used to lovingly call it The Magda from There's Something About Mary, but people love it, and if they're happy, I'm happy."

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