Product: Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Matte Lipstick in Divine Wine
Date Acquired: January or February 2020
My mother has strong opinions about my lipstick choices, and she’s not shy about sharing those opinions. She has expressed distaste for some of my favorite lip products, such as Pat McGrath Madame Greige (“washes you out, like you’re not even wearing lipstick”), NARS Dolce Vita (“I know it’s supposed to be subtle, but there’s such a thing as too subtle”), Marc Jacobs Rei of Light (“too orange”), and Bite Rose Pearl gloss (“too glossy”). If it were up to her, I would wear nothing but dark reds, berries, and plums in matte or satin formulas. I agree that those colors are my most flattering, but a woman needs variety, you know? Well, some women do; my mom wore the same two shades of L’Oreal lipstick, Blushing Berry and Raspberries, every day for at least twenty years.
To protect me from my dangerous self-unflattering impulses, my mom occasionally buys me drugstore lipsticks (she also thinks I spend too much money on lipstick, of course) in colors she approves of. And that’s how I acquired Maybelline Divine Wine, though I can’t recall whether she gave it to me when I was visiting San Francisco last January or sent it in my Valentine’s Day care package the next month. She’s been wearing Maybelline makeup, mostly eyeliner, since the mid-’60s; talk about brand loyalty.
This is the epitome of the kind of color my mom thinks I should wear every day. It’s a deep, slightly muted reddish berry that looks raspberry in some lights and almost brick red in others, with a soft semi-matte finish. I’m a fan of the Maybelline matte formula, which I’d describe as “dynamic”: it can be sheered out or built up without clumping or streaking. In the last year or so I’ve developed a taste for dabbing on bold matte lipsticks as soft stains, and Divine Wine is perfect for that method, as you can see in the swatches below; you’ll also notice that the more I sheer it out, the brighter and pinker it looks.
I’m sure no one will be surprised to hear that I own several lipsticks in this color family. L-R: Maybelline Raging Raisin, Smoking Red, and Divine Wine (all gifts from my mom, needless to say); MAC D for Danger and Eugenie.
Smoking Red, from the discontinued Loaded Bolds line, appears almost identical to Divine Wine in these swatches, but it’s much darker on my lips: a flapper plum-red, not a ’50s plum-red. The closest match for Divine Wine in this lineup is actually MAC D for Danger, one of my all-time favorite lip colors and probably the closest thing I have to a “signature” lipstick. D for Danger is lighter, brighter, and pinker than Divine Wine, and the formula is more matte, but when I look back at photos of myself wearing one of the two, I sometimes can’t tell which one it is. But I do know for a fact that in the image below, I’m wearing D for Danger on the left and Divine Wine on the right:
My one issue with Divine Wine is that when I wear it at full opacity, I struggle to make it adhere to the inner part of my lower lip (as you can see in the above image). I often have this problem with the soft, siliconey matte formulas that drugstore brands are producing these days, and that’s one of the reasons why MAC and NARS remain my favorite brands for matte lipsticks. But Divine Wine is still a beautiful winter lipstick, both because of its color and because it’s not drying; in fact, it smooths over the rough patches that my lips always sport this time of year.
I haven’t seen my mom in over a year now, and I’m not sure when I’ll be able to visit San Francisco again (this fall or winter, I’m hoping). But wearing the lipsticks she’s given me makes me feel a little closer to her. And maybe, despite her talk of flattering and unflattering colors, that’s what she really means her gifts to do.