Q. What is it with these cosmetic companies? No sooner do I find a lipstick color I really like than it's discontinued. It happens repeatedly. I'm tired of spending the time and money it takes to find a replacement. What's a woman to do?
A. First, when you find that perfect lipstick, it might be wise to buy up a dozen tubes and stockpile the extras. That should forestall the problem for a few years. But it's not going to make it go away.
Fashion is all about newness and change. Most cosmetic companies introduce several new colors each season. To make room for these, older colors -- especially those that are not selling so well -- are phased out. But check with the makeup consultant at the cosmetic counter. Often, the new colors are almost identical to the old ones. The consultant may be able to suggest a new color to replace your old one.
Another option is to have your favorite color custom-blended. A new, small cosmetics company that offers this service is Three Custom Color Specialists, or 3C. The service is not exactly cheap, but it's easy -- and it does solve your problem.
The company offers a handy kit for this purpose, available at boutiques that sell 3C cosmetics. You fill out your name and address on the form provided, along with the brand and color of the lipstick you want reproduced. Or, if you don't have that information, you can include a smear of the color on the small spatula included in the kit.
You send the information, in the prepaid envelope provided, to 3C's color lab in New York, where the formulas for thousands of colors are archived. Your color is made into two lipsticks, which are shipped back to you. The information will be kept on file, should you wish to reorder.
The kit costs $50, and is available at From the Neck Up, 104 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, Fla.
XQuestions of general interest should be sent to Jean Patteson at the Orlando Sentinel, 633 North Orange Ave., Orlando, Fla. 32801. Or send e-mail to Individual replies are not possible.
Knight Ridder Newspapers

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