Ha ha – that got your attention! In this instance, I’m talking about wine – the shade – in lips, clothing and nails. But, yes, I am quite partial to the beverage too. (We are going through obscene amounts of cab sauv and shiraz in our house at the moment – I’m blaming the cold snap) But… I digress. When it comes to makeup hues, there’s something about a deep rouge that screams sophistication. It warms up an all-black look, lifts a bright white shirt and looks stunning with any of the autumnal shades (like forest green and rust) on rotation this season. Here’s how to wear it best.


The easiest way to wear this shade is on the nails. I go to The Nail Lab in Darlinghurst for my mani’s – especially when I’m doing dark, because it can be pretty easy to mess up and flood the nail bed when you’re painting yourself. If you’re anything like me and chip your polish before you even get home, Shellac or Gelishgels are a good idea for dark nails. But yes, it can dry your nails out. The trick with gels is to remove them properly. I like to do it myself, at home, in front of Netflix (also saves time in the salon). You just need to have a drop or two of acetone and cotton wool then wrap them in little squares of tin foil. Or you can get the pre-cut Gel Remover Kits by Sally Hansen. Another environmentally friendlier option is to buy reusable plastic wraps – I got these little clip on ones from Ebay which I can just use it with the torn up pieces of cotton wool soaked in acetone.

If you’re going to DIY the merlot mani at home, make sure you prep the nail properly first with a base coat. When my nails are suffering from too many gel manis, I’ll do a few days on Revitanail or The Fix by Formula X. Then go for a good quality base coat Christian Dior Base Coat Abricot or Guerlain La Base Protectrice both have a really wide brush so you only have to do one swipe. They last really well, too. Great wine shades include Chanel Rouge Noir (made famous by Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction), OPI’s Lincoln Park After Dark and O&M for Kester Black


For these shots I was lucky enough to have makeup maestro, Nicola Burford, painting my pout. I asked her for her best tips for dark lips. “I would always make sure your lips are prepped well – you don’t want to look as if you have just guzzled a glass or two of merlot,” she cracks, adding that you should start by exfoliating the lips with a gentle lip scrub (a damp face washer or old toothbrush also works) and adding a lip balm. “Pencil the outline to stop any ‘bleeding’,”  she says. When choosing a shade, the trick is “to apply the same rules as you would when choosing a brighter red. “A classic claret suits all skin tones, darker black-cherry wine suits dark, tanned or olive skin tones whereas a lighter pinot inspired hue or ox-blood looks great on fairer skin tones.”


Story by Sigourney Cantelo; Photography by Alice Mahran ; Hair & Makeup by Nicola Burford; Sigourney’s Manicure by The Nail Lab.

Comment (0)

  1. July 6, 2017

    what colour/brand lipstick are you wearing for this story?

  2. July 6, 2017

    How often should you take a break from gel to prevent damage to your nails?

  3. July 6, 2017

    What is a good long-lasting lip brand for this colour?