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Stamp Out Flagrant Fragrance

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Dear Fashion Police: Could you say a word about an offense that is much worse than wearing stripes with plaids? I’m talking about those people who douse themselves with perfume, cologne or after-shave and then parade around in public. A woman I work with wears so much perfume that I can tell as soon as I walk in the door whether she’s working that day. I’ve had to explain that the cloying odor is not coming from me. Although I’ve gasped and pleaded with her to tone it down, she remains blissfully clueless.

Is there a rule for perfume wearers, such as if someone can smell your fragrance from more than 2 feet away, you’re wearing too much? Now that smoking’s been banned in public places, I think this might be the next social outrage.

--OLFACTORY OD

Dear Olf: We’re not sure whether this is the next social outrage--it’ll have to wait in line with obnoxiously loud cell phone chatter, shrieking babies, disappearing department store sales clerks, escalating movie ticket prices, SUVs and the cancellation of “Melrose Place.”

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But we agree that fragrance overload is a serious issue. Even those who don’t suffer from asthma, allergies or other such illnesses can be overwhelmed by a strong blast of scent. The difficult part is letting the smellee know that the smellers have a problem.

You say you’ve asked your co-worker to go easy on the stuff, yet she continues to ignore you. Since others at your workplace are probably similarly offended, a few of you should talk to your supervisor. Coming from him or her, the message should carry some weight.

Unfortunately, not everyone has a keen sense of smell, and those who ladle on the cologne may not even be aware how powerful it is since they can’t smell it themselves. That’s why it’s always a good idea to ask someone else if you’ve gone too far with your own perfume. But remember--putting on fragrance is like adding salt to a recipe. You can put it in, but you can’t take it out.

So use a light touch. Perfume should be dabbed lightly on a few pulse points--the neck, wrist, back of the knee. Less potent cologne and eau de toilette can be applied a bit more heavily, but don’t overdo. If it’s in a spray bottle, a couple of light squirts will do. Use after-shave sparingly; don’t splash it on in handfuls.

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Fragrance should be noticed when you’re about thisclose to a person, not half a block away. It doesn’t need to be shared with the world.

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Lip Service: A couple of weeks ago we had a letter from “Lip Locked,” who was dismayed about cosmetic companies discontinuing her favorite lipstick color. At the time, we found no one who was custom blending lipsticks.

But that’s all changed.

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The Bobbe Joy Makeup Studio in Beverly Hills will, indeed, custom blend lipsticks so you can have the exact shade you want. A former makeup artist, Bobbe Joy Dawson, who is known professionally only by her first name, told us: “We have the ability to create any kind of lipstick you want, in lipstick or lip gloss form, with an SPF, we can scent them, we can put moisture in them, or do the long-wearing lipsticks.”

Matching an existing lipstick can be a quick process (“Sometimes we get it right away,” she says), or it can take about a day to figure out the formula. Bobbe Joy and her staff “develop a recipe,” tweaking it until it’s exactly what you want. The cost is $35 for the recipe, which is kept on file, and $20 for the first lipstick. After that, it’s $20 for one lipstick, and $35 for two. You can also ship your lipsticks to her to be matched.

Custom-blended lipsticks that are not color-matched are $20 for one and $35 for two. Call (877) 22-MAKEUP, or visit her store at 236 1/2 S. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills.

Three thousand miles away is another resource, Laura Geller Make-Up Studios in New York City. Laura Geller Custom Color Lab Lipsticks will create any shade, adding SPF and fragrance, in a variety of formulations from creamy to glossy.

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Color-matched lipsticks are $25, or $45 for two, and recipes are kept on file. Custom-blended lipsticks are $18 for one, $30 for two. Lipsticks are shipped two weeks after the order is received.

Call (800) MAKEUP 4U (within New York: [212] 570-LIPS), or contact her Web site at https://www.Laurageller.com.

Write to Fashion Police, L.A. Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053, or fax to (213) 237-4888.


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