DIPLOMATIC BEAUTY: Call it lipstick with a message. At the United Nations’ Poverty Eradication Awards on Wednesday night, MAC president John Demsey was given a special award for leadership in the fight against poverty through the MAC AIDS Fund. Demsey, also chairman and founder of the fund, presented a check to Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the United Nations, for $250,000 —?bringing the total that the company has donated to the United Nations Development Programme’s HIV/AIDS programs to more than $1 million to date.

"We are grateful for your efforts and salute you as a model of corporate social responsibility," said Annan. The fund has raised more than $25 million for AIDS programs since it began in 1994.

"Our work through the MAC AIDS fund is a critical and integral part of our mandate as a socially relevant and socially conscious company, and one that is embraced wholeheartedly by MAC staff and our retail partners around the world," said Demsey.

PROACTIVE: Pantene is kicking off "Pantene Protagonists," a marketing project designed to promote its conditioners to Italian consumers and to educate them on the importance of using conditioner. (According to P&G, the Italian market has the lowest percentage of conditioner users in Europe.) To generate the benefits of using conditioner to the Italian market, P&G is hosting a contest to find men and women with the healthiest hair, allowing winners to become "famous" by appearing in future ad campaigns. The contest plays on Italy’s general obsession with celebrity status.

BEAUTY EXPRESS: Rodolfo Valentin is launching a 60-minute express package at his new Manhattan salon on 1020 Madison Avenue. The package, which costs $150, includes a blowout, a manicure and pedicure, as well as a gourmet lunch and a bottle of nail polish.

HEALTH IN BEAUTY: Clinique and Cover Girl took "healthy beauty" honors for the second year in a row in a survey by independent dermatologists that was sponsored by Health Magazine. An awards luncheon Tuesday recognized Clinique’s Moisture Sheer Lipstick SPF 15 and Cover Girl’s CG Smoothers AquaSmooth foundation. Also honored were Olay’s Daily Facials — like Cover Girl, a Procter & Gamble offering; Creative Nail Design’s C:U3 Renu cuticle treatment, and Brandt’s Chemfree SPF 15 sunscreen. A group of 10 winners total, which also represented Avon, Clarins, KMS, Lamas Cosmeceuticals and Lancôme, was chosen from an initial field of 600 products, each nominated by its own manufacturer.

GUERLAIN’S HOME: Sephora’s Paris flagship on the Champs-Elysees will be home to an ephemeral Guerlain corner, starting Nov. 20 and lasting for a few weeks. The 440-square-foot space will replace what’s currently a book and magazine nook and will carry the entire Guerlain line. This will mark the first time Guerlain products are sold in a Parisian Sephora. As part of the event, some ancient Guerlain bottles will be on display and the corner will be colored gold.

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