I have been through countless tubes of lip gloss in search of a product that avoids all of my key pet peeves. I dislike glosses that are too gooey, but the non-gooey glosses often slide right off my lips. Then, of course, there is the oozing applicator problem. NARS Lip Gloss, for instance, costs $23 but apparently, that's not enough to cover the cost of a cap that doesn't leak. As with so many lip glosses, no matter how much I wipe off the excess product, it oozes out when I put the cap back on, creating a sticky mess.

I may have found my true love, however, in the new Estee Lauder Pure Color Gloss. The packaging certainly isn't as hip as NARS or other trendy brands, which is one reason I've been avoiding it. But I realize now I have been a fool, so

I was excited about this lip gloss the first time I unscrewed the cap and discovered its truly ingenious design. The tube is separated into two sections — the large section where the gloss in stored, and a narrower neck that serves to squeeze off the extra lip gloss as you pull out the applicator sponge. As a result, you never get more gloss than you can use, and there's no extra gunk to ooze out.

That alone might have been enough for me to declare Pure Color Gloss a four-star product. But on top of that, I love the way this stuff feels. It has a light sweet scent but no invasive flavor, and though it's not at all gooey, it's just tacky enough that it stays on a remarkably long time — through coffee drinking, meals, and kissing hello.

This particular gloss comes in 12 shades with a high but not too high shine; I like the Nude Rose shade, which has just a hint of polished color.