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The Science of Beauty

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Tag along as our beauty director, Gwen Flamberg, meets the women whose job it is to help you look gorgeous 24-7.

My Luxury Item

If I were on Survivor, my "luxury item" would be red lip gloss. In fact, in my 14-plus years as a beauty editor, I thought I'd seen and tried every incarnation of red gloss on the market. Until now. I'm walking through Avon's new Global Research & Development Center -- a 225,000-square-foot behemoth in Suffern, New York, that houses researchers, technicians, and machines. To my right: Hundreds of vats of pure, creamy pigment in shades of ruby, scarlet, carnelian. On my left: Additives that create pearl, matte, shimmer, and glitter effects, plus even a product called "flip color," which turns a flat hue holographic. Here my staple red gloss could be re-created in literally tens of thousands of ways.

Cooler still is the hair-care evaluation laboratory, with rooms set at different humidity levels and populated with Barbie Dream Head-type things that have natural hair of all textures -- straight, curly, and downright kinky. I stop before entering the 90-percent-humidity-controlled chamber -- why ruin my perfect blow-out? It's in there that the Advanced Techniques Anti Frizz Capsules were born, a treatment that stops fuzz and flyaways before they form, even in tropical weather.

A machine mixes lipcolor

Leave it to a company that's 72 percent female to reinvent the way we get gorgeous. In 2007 alone, 1,000-plus innovations will come out of this lab, with hundreds more in the pipeline, all designed to make looking and feeling your best easier and faster. The chemists at the helm have advanced degrees -- one's a molecular biologist, another's a neurophysicist -- but relating to real women is what gives them their brightest ideas. Here, a behind-the-scenes peek at what goes into making the products you can't live without.

Next:  Mascara Guru


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