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NEW PRODUCT REALLY PUTS THE STICK IN WORD `LIPSTICK'

I SAT DOWN at my desk. I was in a jaunty mood as I began opening my mail. The first was a personal letter. "Dear Dennis - No matter what lipstick you wear, you can keep it looking perfect all day with no feathering, bleeding or smudging with a simple little miracle that takes less than a minute to apply."

I was a little taken aback. Although unaccustomed to getting letters about what lipstick I might wear, my curiosity was piqued. So I read on and discovered that this is a new product called LIP LAST."It makes your lipstick last till you choose to take it off. A transparent lipstick sealant that's guaranteed to keep your favorite lip-stick from running amuck."

Certainly no one wants their lipstick to run amuck. Even I know that.

Lisa Raynes, who is a creative marketing person, said each bottle retails for $17.50 at my favorite salon. A bottle should last four to six months, depending on the fullness of my lips.

She also pointed out that my lips say a lot about me. (Hmmm. I wonder if I should have one of those collagen injections to make them fuller.)

"Whether it's a winning smile or a pretty pout, enhanced by your favorite shade of lipstick, you don't want it to come off all over your coffee cup, your pearly whites, your boyfriend's cheek or - even worse - his collar."

My boyfriend?

This was clearly too much, but as I continued to read, I found that LIP LAST lets your lips breathe with no unpleasant odor or flavor. It contains ethyl cellulose - you know, that stuff that is used to coat medical tablets. That's one of the reasons that it keeps your lipstick looking "just applied all day."

Kind of a catchy phrase.

Actually, what interested me even more is the claim that this product eliminates "dreaded clown face on you or your significant other." That means it is KISS PROOF.

Now there's a claim worth testing. Whether kissing, swimming or playing tennis, LIP LAST is guaranteed not to smudge or bleed. It will not even bleed into the fine lines that surround the lips. Even "drinking or licking your lips will not diminish the effect of LIP LAST."

But back to kissing.

I'll be darned if I was going to put it on MY lips to test it. So I took a sample of the product, elegantly packaged, I might add, in a roomy, handcrafted, black and gold satin pouch, home to my wife and asked her to try it.

"Look, honey," I said, "you just apply your lipstick as you normally do, blot it with a tissue, then lightly brush a thin coat of LIP LAST in one direction over each area of your lipstick. This is the important part you can't afford to cheat on - you have to keep your lips apart for 30 seconds."

A good sport, she even used the fire engine red lipstick sample they sent. (Arghh!)

She carefully applied LIP LAST according to directions and kept her mouth open for more than 30 seconds. She suffered stinging even though her lips were not chapped. Then we kissed - and guess what? It felt sticky.

She removed it at night, again following the directions strictly. The next morning she applied it again with light, careful brush strokes. The stinging was even worse, and when we kissed it was hard to get our lips apart.

(Passion or product?)

She reports that by noon the lipstick was gone - but it still felt sticky.

As tempting as it may be to try this product, my advice is to stick with what you have - unless you want kissing to constantly remind you of the meaning of the word lipstick.

I now prefer smudging, bleeding and feathering!