Having thinner lips than a snake, I was attracted by a sumptuous and pouting Eva Longoria in an ad for L'oreal's new Infallible Six Hour Plumping Lipgloss ($9.95). A lip plumper that lasts more than six minutes, let alone six hours, would be a novelty.

In retrospect, I should have smelled a rat when I went to the L'Oreal website as was assured that the Infallible lip plumper is "virtually painless". True, plumpers can be a little uncomfortable. But to invoke the word pain was to bring a whole new meaning to bee stung lips.

If there is a sensation, it is likely to come from a harmless ingredient called ethyl menthane carboxamide. This provides a cooling, tingling effect similar to that created by menthol without being menthol. I'm not sure why a synthetic alternative to menthol is deemed necessary, but it is in keeping with the rest of this lip gloss. It even has a synthetic form of mica (fluorphlogopite).

Whilst most of the ingredients are benign (although aluminum is a neurotoxin, the form here - alumina - is thought to be safe because it doesn't penetrate the skin), the long litany of chemicals is kind of depressing. And there are a couple of things that I wouldn't want to put near my mouth. The first ingredient is a phenyl silcone, whilst generally considered to be safe is, like all silicones, toxic if ingested. There is some evidence that calcium aluminum borosilicate is carcinogenic, as with the three parabens.

I hope Eva isn't licking her lips.

Ingredients

Trimethysiloxy phenyl dimethicone, octyldodecanol, isododecane, acrylic acid/isobutyl acrylate/isobornyl acrylate copolymer, squalane, polybutene, silica dimethyl silyate, calcium sodium borosilicate, silica, calcium aluminum borosilicate, alumina, caprylyl glycol, isopropylparaben, butylparaben, isobuytlparaben, fragrance, tocopheryl acetate, ethyl menthane carboxamide, pentaerylthrityl tetraisostearate, synthetic fluorphlogopite, hydroxypalmitoyl sphinganine, tin oxide, polyethylene terephthalate, polymethyl methacrylate, benzyl alcohol, sodium chondroitin sulfate, atelocollagen.