Review: Milani Color Statement Lipstick in High Voltage

Milani is a brand I haven’t explored much, possibly because their name reminds me of cookies, which are even more distracting than lipstick. Still, when a friend of mine suggested that I was throwing my life away by skipping the Milani Color Statement lipsticks, I managed to pick one up. (Definitely bought some Peppermint Milanos too, though. Gotta have priorities.)
Although I really like this lipstick, it has one huge, non-subtle, and potentially overwhelming flaw: IT STINKS. This is seriously the most cloyingly sweet, terrible smelling makeup product that I have ever used. It smells like watermelon Jolly Ranchers, but, like, concentrated. If you made an essential oil out of watermelon Jolly Ranchers and then stuck your nose in the bottle, it might smell like this.
I am an adult (pink promise) and I would really prefer that my makeup smell like something other than leftover Halloween candy.
Otherwise, this lipstick is the bee’s knees. It’s fully opaque with a heavily glossy finish. Unlike some glossy lipsticks, though, this stays in place. There’s no worry that it will migrate up to your nose without careful supervision.

High Voltage is a warm, vibrant red that feels like the red lipstick a flamingo might wear.
This definitely passed the “four hours and a meal” test, although the bulk of its staying power seemed more like a stain than the glossy lipstick you get immediately after application. Still, it lasts ludicrously long. One of my weird nighttime habits is, after removing my makeup and brushing my teeth, occasionally I’ll apply a super bright lipstick color before going to bed. (I HAVE A LOT OF LIPSTICKS AND THEY ALL NEED LOVE.) I did that with High Voltage… and the next morning it looked like I’d made out with a parrot and/or had just applied a lip stain. Since it’s definitely not drying, I think that this is a really good option for anyone who struggles with lipstick lasting through the day. If you have no sense of smell, this might be one of the best lipsticks available in the drugstore. If you are very sensitive to odors, I would probably recommend skipping it (unless you adore the smell of Jolly Ranchers. Seriously, it’s uncanny.). For anyone in the middle, I think that the many awesome qualities that this lipstick possesses outweigh the fact that it reeks, especially given that the smell dissipates relatively quickly after application. I’m just peeved that no one in product development spoke up and said, “Hey, maybe we shouldn’t make this smell like the breath of a seven-year-old at a birthday party!”

The Milani Color Statement lipsticks retail for $5.49 for 0.14 ounces, putting them at a very reasonable $39.21 per ounce.


1. I bought this lipstick in Plumrose. It smelled awful as well. I could not get over it. Good to know that I didn’t just get a bad batch of it.

2. Nope. Someone in product design thought that was a good idea…

3. I hate the scent of these too, but my god, they are good. If you can get over the scent, get Rose Hip.

4. Swatches look gorgeous!

5. I’ve kept a couple of lipsticks that had a (to me) revolting smell because I thought that they had other redeeming qualities. Wound up tossing all of them.
If I were a chemist, I would invent a kind of Poo Pourri for lip products.

6. It probably depends on how sensitive you are to scents!

7. I hate the stench too. It was a dealbreaker for me, unfortunately. It was annoying since I had read a number of reviews that just said these have a “mild fruity scent”. WTF? Thanks for being clear about it. Personally, I think it’s watermelon Jolly Rancher combined with vomit, but maybe that’s in my head.

8. “Mildly fruity” is not an applicable description unless you have an illness that totally plugged up your nose!

9. Oh my god. I don’t consider myself to be especially sensitive to scented cosmetics, but these lipsticks are the ONE product that I cannot use due to the scent (and I have an embarrassingly large stash of makeup!). I think describing the scent as concentrated jolly ranches does the scent too much justice — to me, there is something cloying and revolting mixed in.

10. I’m not very sensitive to smells, either, so if I think it smells strong, it smells SUPER STRONG,

11. That looks so pretty! I’m not sure I would be able to deal with the smell. I’ll go find a tester at the drugstore and see how badly it stinks first.

12. Drugstore testers sound like magical unicorns…

13. I have a similar thing with Estee Lauder lipsticks (although mercifully they don’t smell like a 7-year-old’s breath!). They have a really strong scent in the tube and just on the application that I really don’t like. Fortunately, it dissipates too, because they make some wonderful colors and finishes!

You do wonder sometimes how these things get past testing. Like, do they not pass one around the lab/office to get a few different opinions?

14. I feel like there must be something unpleasant in the scent that they were trying to hide. (And clearly, other commenters on here could smell it either way!)

15. I literally had this discussion with a friend this morning regarding smelly cosmetics (and that is smelly in both the negative and positive fashion). Also, I must thank you for writing about your foundation. I have stupid oily skin (pretty sure that was supposed to stop once I was like at the most, 25, let alone, 30 years old) and tried the Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation (as I also insist on full coverage) and OMG I am sold. I had tried the UD Naked Skin foundation bc, well who knows, but it was watery and totally not on the coverage level I require and also, the oil! Ick. So anyways, now that I have written a novel, HIGH FIVE on finding my new favorite make up.

I am so happy for you and your face!

16. Oh, the smell! It totally ruins these for me. I just can’t handle the sickeningly sweet scent. It’s really a shame since there are so many stunning colors.

17. It’s very strong. 🙁

18. My sense of smell is really bad so that definitely won’t bother me. Really excited to try one of these! Is there any way you can get them if you’re in the UK?

19. Not sure about stores, but they are on the UK version of Amazon!

20. I DO like watermelon Jolly Ranchers… But now I’m reminded that the name doesn’t make any sense.

21. If you love the smell, you might like these guys…

22. Oh Cockamamied, it’s you!

Love the profile picture.

23. I definitely also brush my teeth and etc and then apply lipstick before bed…. I just haven’t figured out where to where Kat Von D Go-Go yet!


25. I don’t mind the smell of these but there are some lip product’s scents that I can’t stand – the NYX lip glosses (cherry cough syrup), Chanel lipstick (reminds me of old lady funk), and L’Oreal lipstick (smells like something rotted and then some perfume was thrown on top to mask the smell).

26. I haven’t tried the others on your list, but L’Oreal Spiced Cider smells fine to me!

27. I’m 30 years old and I like the smell of Jolly Ranchers? Not sure I’d want to sniff them all day, however.

29. It’s okay, you’re still an adult!

30. I adore these lipsticks despite the smell – I’m not usually sensitive to smells, so I’ve been exploring the colors in this range. I love Flamingo Pose (bright reddish pink) and Sweet Nectar (wearable orange)! The only product I’ve ever given away because of smell were Bite Beauty Lush Lip Glosses. I was recovering from food poisoning when I got them during the Black Friday sale and almost vomited when I opened them! I’ve been scared to try Bite Beauty products ever since…

31. I did the lipstick right before bed thing once. This was right around the time I decided to start sleeping on my back. I woke up the next morning with Wet n Wild’s Smokin Hot Pink on my bedspread because I sleep with my head buried under my sheets. (I know it’s weird. People who’ve seen me are surprised I haven’t suffocated already.) My bedspread was definitely not amused.

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33. Bought this today and thought I liked the smell at first, but it did start to get to me a little. It made me a little wheezy, I think. It also bleeds a little.
But, overall, it’s one of the better lipsticks I’ve used, and it easily tops every Urban Decay formula that’s been available for the past 12 years.

34. Also, you look like a total babe in that color,

35. I feel odd because I’ve never noticed a smell on the one I have (it’s a strong purple color?). However, I can’t wear the Maybelline Colour Elixirs anymore because of the smell/taste. It’s sad because they’re beautiful. 🙁