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12-hour Lipstick

Long-lasting Lipsticks
Hazel Bishop uses her own lipstick in 1951.
Hazel Bishop uses her own lipstick in 1951.

The original fairy godmother of long-lasting lipstick is Hazel Bishop. In the 1940s, Bishop was working as a chemist by day, perfecting high-altitude airplane fuels. By night, though, Bishop was a makeup mad scientist. Using what she knew about chemistry, in combination with what she knew about women, Bishop spent hours in her mother's kitchen mixing up various lipstick recipes. In 1950, the fruits of her labor went on sale for $1 a tube -- she had invented the first "kissproof lipstick," a product that would stay put no matter how many kisses given, cigarettes smoked or glasses of wine consumed. The product was loaded with pigments called bromo acids that stained the lips.

Bishop's creation was a runaway hit, but so much pigment can dry out the lips. Twelve-hour lipsticks have less oil than other lipsticks, as that oil is what causes the dreaded smearing. Since Bishop's day, other scientists have taken up the task of developing day-long lipsticks that stay put through a number of kisses, all while leaving lips kissable. Some 12-hour lipsticks come packed with bromo acids that contain strong pigments, paired with hydrating ingredients. Others operate on a time-release principle, and factors like heat or dryness cause the product to pump out an additional release of color [source: Berg].

Procter & Gamble has developed a battery of "torture tests" to evaluate the quality of long-lasting lipticks; some of these tests include eating spaghetti, kickboxing and giving birth [source: Nelson]. This testing led to the development of PermaTone, which combined pigments and polymers to create a type of flexible mesh on the lips [sources: Neal, Nelson]. Procter & Gamble scientists fine-tuned Permatone with the CoverGirl Outlast lipstick. Rather than applying the mesh and risking dryness, CoverGirl Outlast is applied in two stages. First, a layer of color is applied, which stains the lips. Throughout the day, a gloss is applied over the stain to maintain moisture.

If you're a lipstick pro, then wearing a 12-hour lipstick can save time and money (though long-lasting lipsticks cost more up front, replacements are needed much less frequently). Novices, though, should beware: If you make a mistake in your initial application of the stain, you'll be reaching for makeup remover or petroleum jelly to fix the error, rather than a simple sheet of bathroom tissue.