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Kiss that faded red pout goodbye

Our trials took us from cheap to spendy and gloppy to gorgeous, but we found a lip color with real staying power

Ellen Warren

March 8, 2013

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This all started when I wandered past Keri Wiginton and came to a screeching stop. I had to tell her how great she looked.

It wasn't her outfit. (I can't remember anything about what she was wearing.) I was staring at her gorgeously red lips.

Wiginton, a photographer and my co-worker, had just started wearing red lipstick, and it looked striking. (Those are her lips in the photo.)

She told me she was trying to break away from her usual neutral lip gloss, switching to something fresh and new for spring. I had caught her in the middle of testing a bunch of different brands of liquid lipsticks to see which would really stay on without leaving a smeary red mess on her coffee cup. She drinks a lot of coffee.

But another important motivator was her husband. "He wouldn't kiss me goodbye in the morning for fear of getting red pigment on his face."

If she was going to go bold — and red lips are hugely fashionable right now — Wiginton was going to have to find a product that stayed put.

Natch, I wanted in on this testing project too, so we both tried out the five reds shown here — one a $19 splurge and the rest in the $8 to $12 range. We found a real winner, a real flop and three that ranged from mediocre to pretty good.

But, mission accomplished, the showstopper red has real staying power. Says Wiginton: "Now my husband kisses me goodbye."

shopellen@tribune.com