Red-Wine-Mouth Preparedness

Cabernet Sauvignon
Pinot Noir

Showing up to a Northern California party with the right bottle of a wine is something of a challenge. I moved to the Bay Area last year from Manhattan, where my party contributions came in the form of makeup samples from my desk drawer and whatever libations were least likely to break en route from 110th St. to my final destination. Suffice it to say that a sophisticated palette for vintages hailing from Healdsburg was definitely not packed in my cross-country luggage.

But eventually, even if only due to my new home, viniculture became one of my “adult” indulgences. While still lacking in grape expertise, I've found the silver lining of living/drinking up here: Bordeaux-stained lips. So, here I give you wine pairings for oxblood-shaded lipsticks—stains and glosses to wear as a preemptive surrender to wine-mouth. Or, the most thoughtful hostess gifts since personalized stem charms.

One of the most popular vintages in the red wine market, Merlot flavors can include plums and blueberries mixed with cocoa and black pepper. MAC Vino Lip Pencil blended with MAC Burgundy Lipmix creates a dead-on Merlot black cherry shade. Or, for single-bullet kind of gals, try Clé de Peau Beauté Extra Rich Lipstick in 306.

Cabernet Sauvignon
The Napa-style Cab Sauvignon is deep, purplish black in color, with a taste of rich currants and black cherries. Full-bodied, gripping, and layered with innovative scents and flavors, this varietal almost single-handedly created the phenomenon of "cult wineries." Speaking of cult followings, Tom Ford Bruised Plum is the right slick, mulberry shade to channel the wine's blackish-berry tones. Nars aficionados can also hail this cab with Pure Matte Lipstick in Volga.

Pinot Noir
A smooth, bold red lip has the hue and silky texture of pinot noir. A medium-bodied, generally popular drink, pinot noirs are the chic but safe play when deciding on a last-minute wine buy—similar to throwing on a bold red mouth when scrambling to look party-presentable. You can get the crisp look with Dolce & Gabbana The Lipliner Precision in Ruby, or a combination of Dolce & Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick in Ultra 190 and Amethyst 165, dabbed on with a finger to create a stained effect.

The fruity, lighter-bodied Beaujolais calls for raspberry pinkish lip stains with softened lines. Try layering MAC Hangup Lipstick over Crimson Lipmix.

Rosé is the beautifully blush-colored counterpoint to wine's oxblood-reds. This sparkling, subtle species is also the oldest known type of wine. Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Lip Color in Instinct gives the transparent, berry-rose-lipped look.

Before applying any of these, let alone getting drunk on wine, take measures to assure your lip color stains only where you want it to. For a flake-free surface, I like to gently rub Fresh Sugar Lip Polish onto my lips and rinse with warm water. I dab them dry, then fill everything in with Bite Beauty Line & Define Lip Primer. Darker colors can make lips look thinner, but this moisturizing primer slightly plumps your skin, creating a smoother, fuller surface to apply your color. Finally, to help color within the lines, I always use MAC Lip Pencil in Stripdown. The shade is just a touch darker than my natural lips, so it helps set some boundaries for your lipstick. Keep Q-Tips at the ready, and everything will be OK. And, if not, at least you have a drink in your near future.

—Jenny McCullum

Jenny McCullum is a contributing writer for C California Style magazine and teaches at the Academy of Art University School of Fashion in San Francisco. Photos by Jeffry Raposas.

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  • Bella

    A delicious article combining two of my favourites: wine and lipstick!

  • Guest

    You could just get some of those Wine Erase towelettes and be done with it.

    • Georgie

      That's no fun :(

      • Guest

        Haha! I didn't mean you should give up wine. I just paid $500 to have my teeth whitened, but I'm not about to give up my red wine. Those towelettes are a lifesaver!

  • Clever Girl Reviews

    I like this concept! I'm seriously coveting that TF lippie now...

  • Mademoiselle nature

    Beaujolais..nice pick! not very far where I am originally from :-)

  • Folami Small

    I've been using MAC Vino for YEARS! Thanks for mentioning my 'to go to'!!

  • Sophie Isabella D.

    Want, nay, NEED all of these now- and the matching wines!

  • malteseproverb

    Great idea! But I wish we could see these as finished looks or at least some swatches. I'm always looking for the perfect dark berry/purple lip but purplish lipsticks are often so different from how they look in stick or tube form.

  • Georgina Fox

    FANCY. Love a deep hue.

    This writing is beautiful.

    Georgina at

  • Mae

    I'm so glad to see Cle de Peau! Definitely my holy grail lip. Products' :))

  • Guest

    What about a Shiraz?!

  • Jennifer Monforton

    Love the look of a wine-stained lip! NARS Volga is on my wishlist for sure :)

  • Dee

    I wish there were pictures of the different combos on a model to see the exact look each combo would create

  • Calin
  • Sharareh Shahedali

    Yes me toooo. I am always all in for dark reds and this one particular is very appealing with its see-through tube.


MAC Lip Pencil
MAC Lipmix
Cle de Peau Beaute
Cle de Peau Beaute Extra Rich Lipstick
Tom Ford
Tom Ford Beauty Lip Color in Bruised Plum
NARS Pure Matte Lipstick Volga
Dolce & Gabbana
Dolce & Gabbana The Lipliner Precision Lipliner Ruby
Dolce & Gabbana
Dolce & Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick Ultra 190
Dolce & Gabbana
Dolce & Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick Amethyst 165
MAC Lipstick
MAC Lipmix Crimson
Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Instinct
Fresh Sugar Lip Polish
Bite Beauty
Bite Beauty Line & Define Lip Primer
MAC Lip Pencil Stripdown