By Mary N. DiZazzo

"A cigarette that bears a lipstick's traces"
--from the song "These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)" by Holt Marvell

Ciao bella,

There is a lipstick plant, aeschynanthus pulcher, that has vivid red tubular flowers. Lips can resemble a flower. Red lips symbolize sexuality, youth, and fertility.

The Egyptians wouldn't leave home without it (painted lips). I wouldn't either.

Just a smear of color for even a five-minute errand will perk up any mug. But as for the Egyptians, it was like the "kiss of death." Their lip paint was made with poisonous vegetable matter such as cinnabar.

In the 1700s, wearing red lipstick was considered a seductive act and was banned by the British parliament. In the 1800s, Queen Victoria declared that make-up was viewed as impolite and vulgar. A stark face was vogue for a century.

It wasn't until World War II that it became a woman's duty to perk up their faces, spiriting the troops, such as Elizabeth Arden's Victory Red. Once again, Hollywood and the movie industry helped in promoting the sultry lips of color.

In 1949 Hazel Bishop perfected a long lasting lipstick.

Scientifically, the ingredients in making lipstick have dramatically improved. Moisturizers such vitamin E and aloe vera keep lips soft and supple. While collagen, amino acids, and sunscreen help protect your lips against the environment and Mother Nature.

So pucker up and put some red in your Christmas Holiday.

Buon Natale and God bless the United States of America!

Have you missed any of Mary's columns in the Post-Gazette? Read prior weeks' "All That Zazz" columns on her website She is a third-generation cosmetologist and owner of Mary for Nails, etc. natural nailcare salon in Andover, and a Massachusetts distributor of Kosmea brand rose hip oil products. She may be contacted at (978) 470-8183. She also sees select clients by appointment in Boston at (617) 742-6881.