BEAUTY AT FIRST BLUSH. Staffers at Allure report from the cutting edge of cosmetics: what’s now, and what’s next

How do you know if you're an Allure girl? You can't pinpoint the exact date we first landed on the moon, but you know when permatone lipstick - the stuff that lasts from dinner to a 4 a. m. diner breakfast - hit the market. (It was 2000.) That's why Linda Wells started the magazine 15 years ago in March, and is its editor in chief to this day. "We've had more real innovation, more real science behind the products in the past 15 years, the products from 1991 almost seem antique," says Wells, who oversaw a timeline of makeup marvels illustrated in the March issue. "Now the biggest growing category is the anti-aging products with anti-oxidants, copper peptides, things proven to protect the skin and help reverse some of the signs of aging. A lot of this research came out of the science of wound healing, and then was applied to healthy skin, so it's not just whipping up exotic ingredients and charging $400 for it. " As far as what's on the horizon, the beauty expert says a cream that will accomplish what Botox does, but without injections, is pending federal approval and could be available in two years. "The effects could last as long as three months," says Wells. "Unlike other products [like Strivectin] that last a few minutes, this really is delivering on the promise. " If there ever was a NASA for makeup, moisturizers, and all the other things that make us gorgeous, the Allure staff would surely be its scientists. So we've asked them to share their research with us, to give you a cheat sheet on the best of the best products out there. Turn the page to see what they've decided no makeup bag should be without. LINDA WELLS, Editor in Chief FAVORITE PRODUCT: Oil of Olay Facial Cleansing Cloths, $6. 99 WHY: "This is three products in one, cleanser, exfoliator and makeup remover. So great for multitasking. " FAVORITE PRODUCT: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, $40 WHY: "I can't live without this. It's my favorite texture, has SPF 20 and Continue Reading