Iconic and significant, lipstick is perhaps the most transformative makeup item one can own.

Since its inception in the mid 1880s, lipstick has been a facial staple with the ability to transform a girl into a woman, taking her seamlessly from daytime into night. From formulation to architecture, today’s lipstick is going through a huge transformation of its own.

Coming out this month is Color Elixir, $9, by Maybelline New York. Rich in pigment, it gives extra shine and a “cushiony” liquid balm sensation when applied to lips. The brush is made with angora fibers, a first for the company, and puts a twist on the traditional application stick. “The applicator is purposely slanted, allowing for the brush to deliver a feeling that the lips are being hugged by the product,” said Carolyn Dawkins, Vice President of Marketing for Maybelline New York. “Lips are having a reemergence. Women are comfortable wearing color again, and there’s nothing like a colored lip to create an attitude, mood and look.” Color Elixir took 18 months to develop. “When you’re crafting a new architecture you spend a lot of time developing and then understanding the technology that went into creating a complex product like this,” she added.

Some companies have taken the high tech route with their lipstick. There’s Bite, the Canadian based company that makes only lipsticks, with their uber narrow Contour Lip Liner with a retractable, slanted-tip and vegetable silicone formula, $24. And there’s Chanel’s Rouge Allure Luminous Satin Lip Colour collection, $34, which is housed in a black lacquered case that hides an alluring lipstick donned in gold, which fashions a push-in/pop-out method. Others, such as Elizabeth Arden’s new Beautiful Color Moisturizing Lipstick, $25, was inspired by the company’s roots and replicates a gold and silver version of their signature red doors.

Some brands have gone lean and skinny, producing a flat version of their lipsticks – think Marc Jacobs with his Lust For Lacquer, champagne-grape infused lip vinyl, in either full or sheer, $28, or Hourglass’ Extreme Sheen $28, which is less than half an inch thick.

A few independents have focused attention on their inner shape.There’s Holika Holika Heartful Glossy’s heart-shaped lipstick, $16. And the feline-friendly company, Paul & Joe, is still producing in limited numbers cat-shaped lipsticks crafted in special silicone molds that were cerated by a Japanese toy maker. While the incredibly intricate details that make the kitty so lifelike are lost after five uses, the lipstick goes on and on.

But the most futuristic visual goes to Dr. Stuart Kaplan, whose Lip 20, $30, resembles something out of a Sci-Fi film, where Charlize Theron or Sandra Bullock might be applying it as asteroids blast in their direction. Should that be their fate, at least their lips would be well protected by these silver babies that are infused with 22 organic extracts, offer 20 SPF, hyaluronic filling spheres and marine collagen. Even his ultra moistening product seems out of this world.