Buying a product without a recommendation? Not in this economy. In ELLE.com’s series Unexpected Expert, we’re going straight to the source to find out which items are actually worth your hard-earned cash.
Finding the perfect lipstick can be a lifelong journey. You want something that complements your skin tone and your style, while also ensuring it stays put all day, no matter how many cans of Spindrift you swill or people you smooch. To get some expert advice on which ones are worth trying, ELLE.com asked seven sommeliers—who’ve spent their fair share of time avoiding lipstick-stained wine glasses—for their holy grail picks.
The One That’ll Never Leave
“I love lipstick, and it’s always a challenge to wear it when drinking wine. One pro-tip is to discreetly lick the rim of your wine glass before your lips touch. Being wet will keep your gloss from transferring to the glass! My go-to lip color is from L’Oreal. Their Rouge Signature Lightweight Matte Colored Ink is amazing. The color is really saturated and while it goes on quite wet, once it dries, this stuff is like paint. It doesn’t ever leave your lips. Also, being so flat, there is no chance of leaving greasy-looking lip marks on your wine glass.” —Emily Wines, Master Sommelier & Vice President of Wine and Beverage Experience for Cooper’s Hawk Winery
A Classic Choice
“I love Chanel! I adore the history and Coco Chanel’s story. She’s an absolutely fascinating, independent women who worked hard to become the person she is. Every time I go and visit the store it makes me feel special. Le Rouge duo Ultra Tenue in 54 Strawberry Red is my favorite all day long because it really stays on there. Rouge Coco Flash in 54 Boy is also very understated and elegant.” —Katja Scharnagl, Chef Sommelier at Le Bernardin
The Best Bang for Your Buck
“My favorite lipstick to wear, especially while working, is Sephora Collection Lip Stain. The value is undeniable. There are tons of colors and they all run $14 per tube. The color lasts whether I’m tasting wines at work or having a beer after the shift. My favorite color from the line is Always Red, but I also love using the metallic finish line to spice it up a bit.” —Charlotte Mirzoeff, Head Bartender and Sommelier at Kindred Restaurant
Stop the Bleeding
“I need to carry a wine opener, keys, and lipstick always! l’m a huge fan of the Nars Matte Pencils that stay on and don’t bleed. I wear Famous Red, Dolce Vita, and Pop Life. I’ve also increasingly been using lip gloss colors because I smile a lot and I can texturally feel when I need more. Oh, and for about a decade, I only wore Mac’s ‘Del Rio’ lipstick.” —Shelley Lindgren, Wine Director for A16 Restaurants
Liner as Lipstick
“It’s hard for sommeliers to wear lipstick. I have yet to find a brand that doesn’t come off on the wine glass or worse—impart aromatics or flavors. If I do want any color on my lips, I use a lip pencil, not as a liner but to give color throughout, like the paraben-free one from Honeybee Gardens. Just a little goes a long way!” —Victoria James, beverage director at Cote
Just Like Your Favorite Champagne
“In the hectic, super physical job of being a sommelier the lipstick has to work hard, too. (What people don’t see is all of the hauling of hundreds of heavy boxes, running up and down the restaurant stairs from the wine cellar to the dining room, the hard work of tasting hundreds of wines every day.) Often a whole day goes by before I have a minute to reapply. One of my current and all-time favorites is Kosas lipstick; I love their lipsticks and have been wearing Fringe for a few years now. Another is Guerlain in Red No. 25. I’ve had a gold mirrored Guerlain lipstick since I was the wine director at The Modern in MoMA. Hourglass Opaque Rouge Lipstick in Icon is like my favorite vintage rose champagne, Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rose 1973. I generally dislike all liquid-type lip products, but this one is decadent and gorgeous. The intense color lasts all through dinner service—even when there are six vintages of Comtes Rose to be opened and enjoyed.” —Belinda Chang, two-time James Beard award-winning sommelier
Light and Smooth
“Fenty Beauty has a longwear lip color that really does not come off throughout an entire evening of service and tasting wines. I’ve been using Stunna Lip Paint in Unbutton, which is more of a nude color to hide any potential staining from red wines. It’s also light and not sticky, so I don’t even notice it or think about it during a busy evening.” —Amy Racine, Wine Director for John Fraser restaurants
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