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April 19 2014

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Beauy Etiquetter: Should Friends Let Friends Share Scents?

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Beauty Etiquetter is a new column on Beauty Counter in which we address your beauty protocol predicaments with candid advice from industry experts and those in the know. To submit a question, email celia _ellenberg@condenast.com.

The Quandary: My friend wears a fragrance that I love. I’m tempted to wear the same one, but is that considered stealing her scent?

The Expert in Residence: Alexandra Balahoutis, perfumer and founder of Strange Invisible Perfumes

The Advice:“That truly depends on the friend whose perfume you covet. I think that if she’s a signature perfume wearer—i.e. a long-term devotee to the same fragrance—she may not be in love with the idea of having an aromatic twin. If, however, she has a broader fragrance wardrobe and gravitates toward whichever one her mood fancies, she’s likely to be completely fine with it. It also depends on how close you are, how much time you spend together, and whether or not there is a competitive layer to your relationship. If you’re joined at the hip, I wouldn’t advise wearing the same perfume. Scent has a primal quality to it. People can be territorial and scent carries such personal association. Personally, I think that the more individualistic people are, the less likely they are to define themselves according to a ready-to-wear fragrance. When you know that your style is distinctive, you aren’t usually threatened by this sort of thing. That isn’t to say that there’s no such thing as a ‘single white female’ scenario, though, so think carefully before you mist away.”

Photo: Getty Images

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