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Saving Lives With Polish and Flair

Fashion

January 29, 1998|PAMELA WARRICK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

What is the color of love?

At the Hard Candy cosmetics company in Beverly Hills, love is a shimmering, pearlized white that gleams like a sunbeam caught in a raindrop.

"Love" is the newest hue in the 60-color spectrum of Hard Candy nail polishes. And it apparently is the first nail lacquer to be created solely to save lives. When the special edition color goes on sale in stores Sunday, Hard Candy founder Dineh Mohajer will kick off a personal campaign to raise $100,000 to help women with AIDS.

On the front of each bottle of "Love" polish will be a logo of the red AIDS ribbon. All proceeds from sales of every $12 bottle will be donated to AMFAR, the AIDS charity that supports medical research and other services for people living with HIV and AIDS.

"The number of women contracting HIV is rising," says Mohajer. "Twelve years ago, only 7% of AIDS victims in the U.S. were women. Now, it's 20%."

As a former medical student, Mohajer has a special interest in health issues. During a summer between semesters, she mixed up a batch of pale blue nail polish to match her favorite strappy sandals. When strangers asked where they could buy it, she made up a few pastel polishes and put them on a counter at the Fred Segal store.

The fresh colors were an instant hit, first with preteens and then with their mothers. And along the way, Hard Candy caught the eye of such celebrities as Gwyneth Paltrow, Cher, Alicia Silverstone and Elton John. In early 1997, the company launched Candy Man, the first line of polish marketed specifically for men.

The company founded by a 23-year-old USC coed who mixed nail colors in her bathroom is now, 2 1/2 years later, worth $10 million.

Mohajer has high hopes for her special edition. "Whenever I put names to these colors, I always take votes. But with this one, there was no question."

That is true "Love."

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