I can clearly remember the first time I heard “Just a Girl” by No Doubt: It was in 1995, when I watched Clueless in the movie theater (a life-changing moment for many reasons). Ever since, Gwen Stefani has been one of my favorite beauty and style icons. So much, in fact, that my signature makeup for 20 years has been just like hers—winged eyeliner and a red lip. Which is why I was more than excited when she launched her own cosmetics line, GXVE (pronounced “give”), earlier this month.
Clearly, there is an abundance of celebrity beauty brands these days, but Gwen Stefani having one just makes a lot of sense. At the launch party for GXVE, which I attended earlier this month, Stefani said, “This is not another celebrity [brand]—I’m not a celebrity, I’m me, from Anaheim. I played with makeup my entire life. I’ve been obsessed with makeup my entire life.” Not only that, but she owns her aforementioned signature look, which consists of red lipstick and a cat-eye. A makeup line was only natural! (She also talked about how she used to work at a makeup counter, which was cute.)
GXVE’s debut collection consists of waterproof gel liner, brow pencils, eyeshadow quads, an oil primer, and, of course, a trademark red lipstick called Original Recipe. What’s cool is that the shade comes in a total of three finishes: matte, satin, and a liquid matte lipstick, so if you have a preference she’s got you covered. Being a matte-type of girl, I was stoked that there were two to choose from. However, in recent years, I find myself reaching for liquid lipsticks, so I figured I’d probably like that one best.
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When it comes to liquid mattes, you can’t get much better than GXVE I’m Still Here Lightweight Longwear Matte Liquid Lipstick in Original Recipe ($24). It’s lightweight, super pigmented and goes on nice and smooth. It lasted for hours without fading, though, it did wear off a little bit when I was eating, but not much. It’s also not mask-proof, so there was some transfer. (The only true mask-proof lipstick I’ve found so far for me is NYX Shine Loud—just putting that out there.) Still, I was pretty certain that I’m Still Here would be my favorite. That is, until I tested the Original Me High Performance Matte Lipstick ($26).
Actually, scratch that. First, my mom tested it. Like me, my mom also loves a good red (and some Gwen Stefani) so I happily shared. We went out for lunch at a Greek restaurant and after all of the tzatziki and spanakopita, the Original Me High Performance Matte Lipstick still looked good. It wore off slightly, but it barely needed a touch-up. Seeing that, I had to get another one for myself. Upon application, I was impressed by the velvety formula, and the luscious red hue. I then wore it to a different dinner—a five-course meal—and was pleased that it never really wore off, aside from a little bit in the center. By the end of the night, it still looked great, and that was good enough for me.
I may have enough red lipsticks in my collection to last a lifetime and then some, but nothing quite beats wearing one created by the shero of your teenhood. As Gwen once wisely sang, “the magic's in the makeup.” It sure is!
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