By Ruth Samuel
Like bread and milk, lipstick has always been a staple of Gabriela Navejas’ life. The Mexico City native vividly remembers watching her grandmother Esther, adorned in a pearl necklace, apply lipstick daily until she passed at age 98. Following in her abuela’s footsteps, Navejas incorporated lipstick into her own beauty routine — but struggled to find products that aligned with her values and didn’t contain harmful ingredients. Taking a leap of faith and departing from 17 years in the corporate world, Navejas built Madame Gabriela Beauty from the ground up.
“Beauty for me is feeling comfortable in your own skin, owning your strengths and your weaknesses,” Navejas tells thirteen lune. “There is a kind of beauty that radiates from women who know themselves beautiful regardless of how they look…”
Championing those principles and Navejas’ love for clean & sustainable living, Madame Gabriela Beauty launched in 2019. With the tagline “born in Mexico, kissed in Australia,” Madame Gabriela Beauty is the first luxury clean lipstick brand powered by organic New Zealand honey. After a two-year search for ingredients, Navejas and her business partner landed on an award-winning formula that is the basis for four essential products. With packaging crafted from recycled aluminum, Madame Gabriela Beauty offers three lipstick shades and a lip balm: Paris at 7 p.m., Sydney at 8 a.m., New York at 1 p.m. and Saint-Tropez at 11 a.m.
While each product is infused with healing antibacterial Manuka honey, shea butter, and more, they each have a distinct satin formula and shade. Paris at 7 p.m. is a true red lipstick apt for all skin tones, while Sydney at 8 a.m. is a lightweight, swipe-on-and-go nude best for pale to medium dark skin tones. New York at 1 p.m. is a playful, bright pink contrasting Saint-Tropez, a clear lip treatment balm made with sesame seed oil, cocoa seed butter, and more to leave your lips feeling soft and supple.
“I love how more and more — we, women — are more empowered to be our own advocates when it comes to better formulations and products,” Navejas says. “This in addition to an end to my corporate career, gave me the motivation to start my own beauty line creating a product that performs, has great ingredients and makes me happy!”
Get To Know – Gabriela Navejas
What was the impetus to start your brand?
I could not find a lipstick that I loved, so I created my own. I moved into a more “clean” lifestyle some years ago and being an avid lipstick user, I couldn’t find the perfect lipstick that delivered the right pigment and was nourishing without containing ingredients I was trying to stay away from.
Where are you from originally? Where do you live now?
I am from Mexico. I was born and raised in Mexico City so I consider myself a city-girl. I loved growing up among the colors and flavors of Mexico and the eclectic nature of a city that big. Today I live in Dallas, TX.
What were some of your first memories of beauty growing up? What are some early beauty influences?
Oh, there is only one answer: my grandmother Esther. My “abuela” used to say to me since I was little “Never leave the house without lipstick and a necklace” and she never did.
What does self-care look like in your life?
Time is our most precious asset these days so for me to have some time for myself, enjoy a coffee (I am a coffee addict) while I facetime my mom or connect with my friends in Mexico – is priceless. I also love walking my dog every day, no phone with me and just the pleasure of walking and meeting other dogs along the way!
What inspires you most about the beauty landscape and industry today?
My number one inspiration comes from our customers – they are amazing! Their comments, love and feedback is what keeps us going. Founders of other clean beauty brands inspire me!
What has been the biggest challenge in starting your business?
The move from big structures and planning and budgets to building a new company has been a challenge, but I would not change it for the world. It is a crowded market and I would love to see more Hispanic founders in the beauty space helping each other!
What has been the biggest win thus far?
Our biggest win is to know that at the end of the day we are putting a fabulous, safe product on women’s lips. That thought is everything! One lipstick at a time!
What would you like to see more of in the beauty industry when it comes to diversity and inclusivity?
I would love to see more Hispanic entrepreneurs in the clean beauty space, as I mentioned earlier, we need to be our own advocates when it comes to safer formulations. Hispanic women wear much more makeup than American women – therefore we need more representation!