BEAUTY TUTORIAL: How To Do Gwen Stefani's Twisty Hair And Retro Makeup Thing

In honor of her role on The Voice next season, I thought we should do a Gwen-inspired retro hair and makeup tutorial.

My number one guilty pleasure after a long day at work is vegging out on my couch with a bag of salt-and-vinegar chips and watching The Voice.

I can’t sing, like, at all -– to a pathetic and comical degree -– so I can’t think of anything more appropriate than me, alone, with my cats, binging on empty calories and judging all the tweens who are obviously going to choose Team Blake. (I’m basically Jenna Maroney from America’s Kidz Got Singing.)

Although I’ve always loved Christina Aguilera and never took an official side in Christina versus Britney (I am, however, 100% NSYNC and not at all BSB), I’m pretty stoked that The Voice snagged Gwen for next season while X-Tina is away on baby-leave. Gwen pretty much exemplifies what it means to by a stylish girly-girl who also will totally throw down if you mess with her. I’m hoping she’ll be able to empower some young women and their talents during her time on the show!

In honor of her role on The Voice next season, I thought we should do a Gwen-inspired retro hair and makeup tutorial. I'm using her victory rolls look as inspiration.


Step 1: To prep your hair for curling, separate it into three sections: bottom, middle and top. You might have more than three sections on each side, depending on how much hair you have. I don’t have much, so I had one top section, two on each side, and one in the back.

I like to do little bantu knots, because my hair is naturally straight and limp. It gives the sections a little oomph before I curl!

Step 2: Set your hair. In order to achieve that soft, vintagesque curl, we’ll want to do pin curls.

I used a large (1-inch barrel) curling iron. Curl your in approximately one-inch sections. After you remove each section from the heat, roll your curl from the ends toward your scalp, keeping its round shape in tact. Pin your hair with a flat pin on your scalp through the middle of your curl, so you don’t crush it, but so it holds in place.

Step 3: Once all your curls are set, spray them with hairspray. You’ll want a product that will give hold, but not something that will make your curls too crunchy and unmanageable.

While you let your hair set, you can get started on your makeup.


Step 1: Apply your base. For me, “the base” equals whatever crap you rub on your face to make it look perfect. In my case, that means foundation, concealer, powder and eyebrows. If you were engineered by Russian scientists, perhaps your base is simply a little powder or BB cream (curse you).

For this look, I used L’Oral True Match foundation in N3, Natural Buff, which, if I’m being honest, isn’t quite the right color for me, but I’m too lazy to buy a new one. I apply this with a foundation brush all over my cheeks, nose and chin, but I skip it on my forehead. I find applying makeup there just leaves me oily.


Next, I apply concealer under my eyes, on my eyelids, and over any particularly blemish-y parts of my face with MAC Studio Fix concealer in NC20. I like to put the concealer over my foundation because it gives me a highlighting effect. I highly recommend this MAC concealer to anyone who likes coverage of under-eye bags or circles without creasing!

For my eyebrows, I’m loving this Tarte The Brow Architect Brow Shaper, Liner and Definer in Fair/Light. I’ve recently learned that a proper eyebrow should extend farther than where mine ends naturally, so it’s my new flaw to be obsessed with. I love this Tarte pencil because I can line, shape and highlight with one tool.

Step 2: Eyeshadow! Because Gwen’s look is all about the red lip, she keeps her eyeshadow pretty neutral. For my eyes, I used two shades from Clinique’s Party Eyes Palette, which may or may not be discontinued. What you’ll need for this look is any white or off-white shadow with slight shimmer, and any light-to-medium brown shade with some staying power. (any neutral or nude shadow palette should do just fine.)

Apply the white shade to your lid and inner corner. Apply the shade till just above the crease, but don’t go all the way up to your brow line. Then, using a small eyeshadow brush, apply the brown shadow into your crease. You can see exactly where your crease is, and therefore where to apply the brown eyeshadow, by keeping your eye half open, and seeing where your eyelid…well…creases.

Step 3: Draw yourself a cat eye with black eyeliner. I personally prefer to do my cat eyes with liquid liner, but understand there is no shame in a pencil liner. I promise you are no less of an amazing cat eye drawer if you opt for pencil.

I usually draw a little dot next to each eye, signaling where I want the cat eye line to end, before I take the drawing-plunge. This is simply because cat eyes are easy to screw up and draw unevenly, and having a little marker prevents that. Remember to line from the outside in, in small strokes. Don’t get too ambitious, y’all! We can take our time.

After your eyeliner is in place, apply mascara to your top lashes, and only the top. Leave the bottom lashes alone. Gwen’s eye is a very top-heavy look!

Step 4: LIPS. Easily the most crucial part of this whole look, for Gwen is famous for her signature bold, true-red lips. The shade I decided to use for her look is MAC Satin Lipstick in MAC Red, which is a “vivid, bright, bluish red,” similar to what Gwen sports.

Line your lips in a neutral shade of lip liner, so that your lipstick has staying power, but also so the red color won’t be affected. Then apply your gorgeous bold red. If you make a mistake, never fear: Clean it up with a Q-tip and makeup remover, or outline your lips in concealer once you’re done applying the color.

Are you still with me? Congratulations, your makeup is done. But remember that head of pin curls? Time to take care of those.


Step 4: Gently remove the pins.

Run your fingers through your hair to loosen and combine the curls. You’ll want the effect to be an overall gentle, pretty curl. But don’t brush too much! Give yourself an extra spritz of hairspray all over.

Step 5: Part your hair to the side, whichever you like better. I’m parting mine on the right.

Starting with the side of your head that has more hair (I’m starting on the left, since I parted to the right), begin your first victory roll. Grab a section of hair from the front, pulling upward with your thumb, starting at your ear:

Step 6: Tease the underside of this section of hair, but keep the top smooth. It should be a classy in the front, party in the back sort of situation. Liberally apply more hairspray to this section of hair. You want these babies to stay put!

Once you have some good volume on this section, begin your victory roll. Wrap the ends of your hair around your thumb to start the roll:

Continue to roll your hair all the way down to your scalp. Now, shape and position the victory roll until it looks good to you. Secure with bobby pins, discretely.

Repeat steps 5 and 6 to the other side of your hair. Pro-tip: Do not attempt victory rolls when you are hungry. They take a bit of patience and adjustment, and weak arm muscles craving some mac’n’cheese will only cause frustration and resentment at the rolls.

The final look:

So that’s my Gwen-spired look. What do you think? Do you have a favorite retro hairstyle? And the most important question after a red-lips-centric tutorial: What is your favorite shade of red?