It’s utterly impossible to not fangirl hard over Gwen Stefani. Only a few minutes into a Zoom call, she appeared from the other side of a black square posing with her long checkerboard nails in double peace signs framing her sharp winged liner. I felt like I was catching up with an old friend. We’d never spoken before but her warmth radiated from the other side of the screen, despite the time zone difference.
Before our convo, I scrambled to find a red lip to wear in honor of the occasion but failed. All good though since I was there to talk about her signature makeup look: that iconic red lip and panache for a crisp cat-eye. In the decades since Stefani’s singing debut, she’s been tight-lipped about the exact shade of red she’s worn. But now, not only is she sharing the news, but also giving you a chance to buy it. “Original Recipe” is what Stefani is calling the hero shade in her new GXVE (pronounced GIVE) makeup line. “People have been asking for 35 years, ‘What color lip are you wearing?’ so that was the obvious place to start,” Stefani tells ELLE.com exclusively.
Now, it’s certainly not lost on me that we’re in the midst of a celebrity beauty brand boom, but Stefani is no newbie. In fact, she was way ahead of the “celebprenuer” rush when she launched her fashion line L.A.M.B. back in 2003. And unlike other celebs who stumbled into the makeup and skincare world with the help of great makeup artists in the wings showing them all the tricks, Stefani was seemingly born with her beauty roots. “Music was something unexpected but makeup was something I’ve always done since I was a little girl. I don’t know why. I don’t know how, but it was born in me. I’ve always loved it,” she says. Given the ’90s beauty and style resurgence we’re experiencing, Stefani’s and GXVE are a welcome addition to the A-list product roster.
My true Stefani stan status was put into question when I found out that she worked as a makeup artist at an Anaheim, California mall makeup counter before her singing days. After working at Dairy Queen and as a lifeguard, she went to work in a department store where she styled customers—all while dreaming of a spot across the shop with who she calls “perfect works of art” (aka the makeup artists). After shooting her shot and asking for a position behind the counter, she landed one. Stefani saw the opportunity to give customers free makeovers as “an incredible gift” and it’s that same level of creative guidance that she is looking to deliver with GXVE.
“I don’t need to be doing this. I don’t need to be working. But with all the blessings behind me, this is my give back,” she adds. “This is my chance to have a legacy and build my purpose. I know that makeup gives me a feeling and that’s why I’m doing this because I want to share that with people.”
The singer has done her own makeup her entire career. She says that it’s her ritual before hitting the stage. Her kit essentials are now up for grabs thanks to GXVE. “My looks were always inspired by old Hollywood: the red lips, the matte powder, the cat-eye, sharp brow,” she describes. Naturally, the collection includes these staples and more. What’s even better is that the lip, brow, and eyeshadow products are all refillable. Here’s a look at what’s included in the drop:
Lip (three formulas of Original Recipe) Original Me High Performance Matte Lipstick ($26) Anaheim Shine High Performance Satin Lipstick ($26) I’m Still Here Lightweight Longwear Matte Liquid Lipstick ($24) Eye Eye See in Color Multidimensional Eyeshadow Quads ($28) Line It Up 24-Hour Pencil Liner ($21) in 2 Shades Brow Hella On Point Ultra Fine Brow Pencil ($24) in 7 Shades Mos Def Instant Definition Sculpting Brow ($24) in 7 Shades Face All Time Prime ($48) – Oil Primer
GXVE officially launches on March 3 on the brand’s site and in Sephora stores on March 10.