The quest for perfect lips leads women down the cosmetic aisle every year looking for the one tube that will last.
That search has been carried out since Cleopatra crushed carmine beetles to stain her lips and women of the 1800s took their lives into their own hands by using poisonous red cinnabar, a compound of mercury, to get that just-kissed look.
For years, the billion-dollar lipstick industry has touted the development of long-wearing lip color that laughs in the face of a three-course lunch and shrugs off kisses with aplomb.
In 1998, The Augusta Chronicle took a look at the first line of extended-wear lipsticks - the results weren't pretty. Clinique, Lancome, Estee Lauder, Revlon and L'Oreal were tested by staff members, and the overwhelming reaction was that the products couldn't live up to the motto "hugs your lips until you take it off," as Lancome's Rouge Idole advertisements claimed.
But that was five years ago. Times have changed. We have the technology. We can rebuild them.
The newest crop of long-wearing lipsticks still tout their ability to withstand the wear and tear of everyday life, but have they really improved?
The next generation of testers checked out five popular brands: Maybelline's Forever Lipcolor, Cover Girl's Outlast, Max Factor's Lipfinity, L'Oreal's Endless and Revlon's Colorstay.
What they found: traditional lipsticks that claim to be "endless" or "forever" didn't live up to their advertising, fading away or overly drying lips.
The other three did, for the most part, manage to stick around for the count, thanks to one little thing - actually two.
Cover Girl, Max Factor and Revlon all included a moisturizing element to the actual lipstick. Outlast and Lipfinity included a second tube of moisturizer and Colorstay includes a lip gloss at the tail end of the color tube.
Monica Collins, manager of North American communications for Procter & Gamble cosmetics, said the top coat can be reapplied as needed, without worrying about smudging or rubbing off the color underneath.
"Women don't have to sacrifice long wear for a good feel," she said about the Cover Girl and Max Factor lipsticks, which are manufactured by P&G.
Reach Erica C. Cline at 828-2946 or email@example.com.