Beauty veteran Margarita Arriagada has created a new lipstick brand with Valdé, a premium, refillable lipstick concept that has been a labor of love for the past two years for the former chief merchant of Sephora. Formulas are vegan, clean and cruelty-free, and are designed to elevate the relationship women have with their lipstick.

Margarita drew on her experiences as a woman, mother, daughter, wife, Latinx immigrant, executive, creative and mentor to create the brand, which means very in Latin.

“Despite challenges in manufacturing due to COVID-19, I made a conscious decision to launch during a unique time in history, when we have an obligation to be more than an empowering tagline. When women are standing up for one another and joining forces in a way we’ve never seen. When nobody has the energy for things that don’t last. And when makeup is not a mindless afterthought, but a conscious choice, because everything in 2020 is,” said Margarita.

With the launch of the brand, Margarita looks to bring value beyond price point with a return to emotional meaning in an over-commoditized industry. Valdé lipsticks are entirely refillable and collectable, and are packaged in artfully designed, collectible vessels—Valdé Armor—which protect and personalize each lip product. The debut armor, Soar, features intricate feather detail and is inspired by the curve of a woman. Made of a zinc alloy known for its strength and durability, each is molded, hand-polished and coated in liquid gold. The limited-edition Soar armor began with a hand drawn sketch by Margarita. To bring her sketch to life, Margarita found a boutique American company with expertise in precision metalwork and jewelry. They created a highly detailed mold from which the first armors were cast.

The lipstick’s creamy satin formulas use superfine, micronized pigments and a lightweight blend of plant-based polymers, elastic waxes and soft powder spheres for even, glide-on application and cushiony comfort.

Developed in Italy, each incorporates high-quality clean ingredients, which include hyaluronic acid, flaxseed oil and bidens pilosa botanical extract to help soften, smooth and replenish lips’ natural moisture barrier. Valdé is vegan, clean and cruelty free. Formulated without 50 ingredients common in the beauty industry, including synthetic fragrances, sulfates, phthalates and parabens, they are available in eight shades.

Valdé is a very customized experience. The Storybook Set ($199) includes a personalized Valdé Armor + Lip Set with a choice of armor, formula, shade and engraving. Each Storybook Set includes a magnifying mirror inset, coordinating metallic lipstick case, refillable lip product, gold refill carrying case, faux suede protective pouch, Valdé storybook display and storage box, custom card with Valdé mantra and optional engraving. Refills are $40 and come with a sleek, golden metallic carrying case. A gift set of three refills retails for $110; a gift set of four costs $136. Items are available on the brand’s website,

The brand has earmarked one percent of revenues in support of social initiatives that promote equality, while proactively offering mentorship and advisory assistance to women entrepreneurs.