Lipstick Chronology #30: Milani Sangria

Name: Milani Color Statement Lipstick in Sangria

Date Purchased: August 2013

Grade: C+

Notes: In my experience, sangria is almost always a mistake. I can’t stomach the taste unless I’m tipsy to begin with, which means that when I find myself drinking it, it’s already too late to escape a hangover. The first time I tried sangria was at a tapas restaurant on Little Clarendon Street in Oxford. A guy spent the entire evening hitting on me in front of his girlfriend, presumably to make her jealous. I guess it worked, or didn’t work, because they’re still together nearly seven years later. Men are the worst. So is sangria, but you don’t see anyone using the hashtag #notallsangria.

Buying Milani Sangria, a bright matte plum, was only slightly less of a mistake than drinking its namesake. I’d already tried two other Color Statement lipsticks, Flamingo Pose and Sweet Nectar, and had found them both drying. But I wanted a dark matte lipstick for fall, and I reasoned with myself that because Sangria had a different finish from the other two (matte, as opposed to creme), it might be easier on my lips. Never mind that matte finishes are not, as a rule, a welcome break from other lipstick finishes. What, you expected me to be reasonable when a plum lipstick was involved? You expected me to base a purchase on my personal experience? I don’t think so. Plums and dark fuchsias will always be my weakness.

I was somewhat disappointed on both counts. Because Sangria’s formula isn’t entirely opaque, it becomes a deep bright fuchsia when swatched or worn, and not the witchy vampy shade I had hoped for.

Sangria also has a dry formula, as the lip swatch below makes painfully clear. The lipstick drags when I put it on, and it clings to every dry spot: I might as well be applying a glue stick to my lips. And despite all this, it’s not even a true matte! Semi-matte, yes, but not very different in appearance from Milani’s creme formula. Oddly, I do find Sangria less drying than my two other Color Statements, but it’s still uncomfortable to wear, and it has the cloying watermelon scent common to all Milani lipsticks.

That said, I showed Sangria a lot of love last fall and winter: in fact, I used up about half the tube. I put it aside for spring and summer and didn’t pick it up again until I was preparing to write this post, at which point I decided to wear it for a day to see if we had been unfairly estranged. My standards for lipstick comfort have evidently gotten higher in the last year, because I couldn’t bear to wear Sangria for more than a few hours. Nor is it terribly unique in my collection: I have three similar plums, all of them more comfortable on my lips. Left to right: Revlon Plum Velour, Topshop Get Me Bodied, Milani Sangria, YSL Belle de Rose.

Sangria is the brightest and pinkest of the four, but it doesn’t look dramatically different from a sheered-out Get Me Bodied when worn.

Other elements of this look: Kiko Infinity Eyeshadow #251 (lavender glitter) over NARS Lhasa; NARS Mata Hari blush; cold December morning light. I look disgruntled because I haven’t had my coffee yet.

Writing this post has made me decide to give up buying Milani. (Except for the occasional nail polish: I like their recently discontinued formula and have been wondering about their new one.) I’ve tried quite a few Milani products over the last two years, but have yet to be deeply impressed by any of them. It’s a shame that I can’t continue to support one of the only cruelty-free drugstore brands, but so it goes.

12 thoughts on “Lipstick Chronology #30: Milani Sangria

  1. I don't know if you are willing to buy Maybelline, since it's owned by L'Oreal, but I got their new matte in Divine Wine, and it's pretty great. I am extremely picky about lipsticks and won't bother with anything drying, but this one is comfortable. It's also very dark and barely transfers. Pretty special. I haven't got up the nerve to actually wear it, though, because it's really vampy and dramatic on someone as pale as me.


  2. You're the second person in two days to recommend Divine Wine to me! (The other person was a friend who describes DW as her \”murder lipstick,\” i.e. fierce enough to get her through a bad day.) I have mixed feelings about Maybelline: I do try to buy cruelty-free makeup, but I love most of the Maybelline lipsticks I have, and I'm not as consistent in my cruelty-free stance as I could be. Plus, Maybelline's Vivids formula is my favorite lipstick formula of all time. I'm not looking for a replacement for Sangria, since Get Me Bodied is so similar, but who knows–I might try one of the Maybelline mattes eventually!Also, vampy lipsticks look great on pale people (she said, self-servingly). You should wear yours!


  3. Oh, yes, the color of Divine Wine is nothing like this one, though it looks somewhat similar to the color of the actual bullet. It does look good on me, actually – it's a rare purplish shade that doesn't make me look like a corpse – but I am not yet as bold as I aspire to be with lipstick. I'm working my way up to it!


  4. You know, no two sangria are alike. I happen to like them unless they're more juice than alcohol. The best I ever had was at a random Mexican joint in SF (somewhere in Union Square) with copious amount of tequila in it.Anyway, I was liking this lipstick based on some blog reviews but yours along with first-hand witnessing of those end-caps falling off have now changed my stance and I won't be looking at Milani lipsticks again. Who needs a cloying watermelon smell? Ugh.


  5. Hmm, sangria with tequila sounds good! I just don't like wine mixed with other stuff. And yeah, the Milani lipsticks aren't worth it, imo. I remain confused about why so many bloggers gave them such glowing reviews when they first came out. Even if my lips weren't sensitive and I didn't mind the watermelon scent, I'd still find the formula too heavy to be comfortable. I can only imagine that getting an entire set of lipsticks for free sweetened the deal for some…


  6. I like sangria! I think Liz is right – no two are alike, but I have had more that I liked than otherwise. These lipsticks don't appeal to me (that smell, ugh) but I applaud you throwing in the towel, haha!


  7. Clearly I haven't tried enough sangrias! Maybe I'll try making my own one of these days. And yes, sometimes you just have to draw the line when it comes to a brand that consistently disappoints. NO MORE, DAMN IT.


  8. I snorted out loud at #notallsangrias 😛 The best sangria I've had was actually a sangria blanco at a trendy Mexican chain in Auckland — I think it had elderflower in it (another trendy theme, it seems).I've never tried Milani due to lack of access, but the reviews for their blushes seem to be good. It's funny how there are just some brands that turn you off — I've had that experience with Revlon, despite raves pretty much across the board. I don't even really know why; certainly I haven't had out-and-out bad experiences with their products, unlike yours with the lipstick here. There are just little things that have turned me off, like the scent of their foundations, the packaging design (I'm kind of a snob?), stuff like that.


  9. Elderflower makes everything better! And yes, Milani seems to be one of those brands for me, for whatever reason. The packaging is definitely part of it. I wouldn't call myself a packaging snob, but there's tolerable drugstore packaging (i.e. Revlon and Maybelline), and then there's Milani. The '80s-tastic gold tends to rub off the plastic before long, so it looks even worse than it did when new. Bah.But no, not Revlon! You're missing out! D:


  10. Hah! To be fair, my opinion has changed since getting into reading beauty blogs a few years ago. Their lip products, in particular, are looking good. No new buys until next year though! (Ahaha, not like that's not two weeks away.)


  11. I've made the same resolution, and have taken consolation in the same fact! And I wouldn't recommend all of Revlon's lip products, but some of them are truly great, not just compared to other drugstore products but in the grander scheme of makeup greatness.


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