Rosalía on Her New MAC Collection and Using Stiletto Nails as Castanets

Named after her 2019 song “Aute Cuture,” the musician’s debut beauty line is long on glamour, from stage-worthy lipstick to crystal nail jewelry.

Welcome to Artist Spotlight #67 series on my blog.

The Rosalía of the mind’s eye is not a minimalist. One imagines the Spanish pop star in perpetual full regalia, with three-inch nails, stylized hair, and her mouth painted bright red—a signature move that resulted in a limited-edition lipstick created in 2020 with MAC. But when her voice perks up on the other end of the line, Rosalía waves it all away. “Girl, I have nothing going on today. I’m at home with my clean face,” she says from Barcelona. The musician’s voice sounds equally at ease, the warm pops of laughter giving off a conspiratorial spirit seen in her music videos. In 2019’s “Aute Cuture,” she roams the streets with a so-called Beauty Gang, whose mile-long gold talons are decorated like sword handles; this month’s “Linda,” a joint effort with Dominican newcomer Tokischa, has them aglow in iridescent eye shadow and rosy blush under late-night fluorescents.

That kind of lush presentation—makeup that’s both vividly theatrical and true to self—lies at the heart of Rosalía’s latest project with MAC. This time, the collaboration is a sweeping lineup that spans lip colors, eye shadows, a highlighting face palette, and nail lacquers alongside jewel-like nail adornments. To title it Aute Cuture was only natural. “The name of that song is written wrong on purpose because, at the end of the day, I love glam, but I love it on my own terms,” says Rosalía of that makeshift riff on haute couture. “And the mood in ‘Aute Cuture’ is a little bit sassy and unapologetic—almost like a little cat that’s really cute, but it can scratch your face in a second if you get distracted.”

Plenty of flash turns up in the collection, beginning with her signature lip shade. “There’s so much red in flamenco tradition, and that’s a big inspiration for me,” explains Rosalía, who grew up in the Catalonian city of Sant Esteve Sesrovires and began intensive vocal training in the style at 16. That heat materializes in the flame-red Rusi Woo (a twist on the brand’s bestselling matte lipstick Ruby Woo) and a matte liquid lip color called Spicy Pimenton. But she’s just as keen to have blush-toned shades—like Nuez Moscada (a warm flush) or Jalea (petal-pink)—in the mix. “I personally love contrast, in life and in art,” says Rosalía. “You’ll feel much more the softness of something when [it’s alongside] something rough or strong. And I think that softness will become even more radical because of the context.” 

It’s an implicit case for caring about pink lip gloss (as Rosalía wears to brilliantly exaggerated effect in “Linda”) when one is a pop sensation rocketing into the firmament. But safeguarding those softer elements is part of what makes Rosalía relatable—despite her fearsome claws. Even those betray a weakness. “This is a confession: It’s really difficult to remove the credit card from the ATM,” she says with a laugh. “One time I had to ask for help!” There’s the kitten-at-play side as well. “I have one TikTok where I learned that I could use them as castanets, and I just recorded myself making my nails sound as if they were castanets,” she says. “When they are pointy stiletto nails, they can be perfect.”

With the current fixation on statement manicures, Rosalía continually delivers—from the crystalline, sculptural nails she and Billie Eilish modeled in this year’s “Lo Vas a Olvidar” video (created by nail artist Sojin Oh) to the multicolored tips she recently wore to DJ in New York. The mix of nail offerings in Aute Cuture means that Rosalía’s growing beauty gang can create their own homages. The collection’s six lacquers veer from the orange-red Cayena to the blush Sal Rosa—what Rosalía deems to be a vacation essential for its wear-with-anything versatility. There’s also a shimmery gold, in a nod to her early fascination with all things shiny. “There’s something about it that attracts me,” says Rosalía. “Since I was a kid, I’ve always been obsessed with my mom’s jewelry. She used to wear gold rings and small hoops. I think that that influenced me, for sure.” 

Those tones—rose gold, warm copper, metallic pink, and shimmery gold—turn up in an eye shadow palette as well as in a quartet of face highlighters embossed with the musician’s repeating R motif. But the sparkle takes its purest form in Rosalía’s nail decals: self-stick crystal adornments shaped like teardrops or organized into flowerlike clusters. “It’s like jewelry for me,” she says, emphasizing that there are no limits, no rules. “Personally, I’ll be wearing them everywhere—to the bakery shop in the morning or for a dinner at night!

VANITY FAIR

MAC Faves!

  • Studio Fix Fluid SPF15 – a modern lightweight, natural matte foundation with shine-controlling, medium-to-full buildable coverage and 24-hour wear – available in an all-inclusive, colour-true range of 63 shades.
  • Studio Fix Powder – a one-step pressed powder and foundation that gives skin a 12-hour ultra-matte finish while controlling shine and without causing acne.
  • Brushes:
  • #170 – a best-selling foundation brush with a rounded, slanted shape and densely packed fibres that applies, buffs out and blends any foundation or primer.
  • & #150 – a full and dense brush for dusting loose or pressed powder onto the face or body.

Self-made eyeshadow and blush palettes.

(FTC DISCLAIMER: NOT SPONSORED.)

Blushbaby

Model: Ashley Wagner (@Ashley_andrianna)

Products:

(Disclaimer: I do have Ashley’s consent to post her images on designated websites including Facebook, Instagram, WordPress, and use in my digital portfolio.)

12 Drugstore Beauty Steals That French Makeup Artists Love

Top four French makeup artists have spoken about high-quality, democratically priced future cult classics that they stock up on in U.S. drugstores. Here, 12 steals you should add to your beauty repertoire, with some of my tips along the way.

Batiste Original Dry Shampoo

“When you have bangs, dry shampoo is your best friend. I also use it to give my hair texture and help shape and style it. I love the mini travel size version.”

My tip: working early mornings and late evenings leaves me no desire to wash my hair as often as I’d wish, so, this bad boy has been my third-day staple for years! It comes in a variety of different scents and sizes, as well.

Buy at ULTA $9

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil

“You can create a smoky eye on the go in just two minutes. I bought the entire shade range and pick one each day based on my mood.”

My tip: the shade MILK from this lineup is an industry staple white base, perfect for other shadows to pop on the lid or in the waterline. No-budge formula of this pencil has been around for years for a good reason.

Buy at Macy’s $5

Pixi Sun Mist

“I like a sun spray that you can apply over makeup. That way, all day long you’re protected and still look perfect.”

Buy at SkinStore $18

L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara

“This mascara not only makes your lashes look longer and full, but lets you easily add more than one coat without clumping.”

My tip: this industry staple is one for a reason, with almost every brand out there trying to recreate their own version of a result that this mascara gives you. Volume, length, separation, longevity – it has it all. It also comes in a waterproof version, and a variety of fun shades!

Buy at ULTA $9

Ardell Individual Lashes

“These are perfect for opening up the eye in a very natural way, as they blend perfectly onto the lash line and are knot-free.”

My tip: I also like packs of individual lashes of different lengths, so I can customize them to each client.

Buy at ULTA $5

Sally Hansen Airbrush Leg Makeup

“This is amazing for leg flaunting! It will hide imperfections, like spider veins or bruises, dries quickly, and doesn’t transfer on clothes.”

My tip: fantastic to use at photoshoots or an event, fuss-free and easy to remove when you’re done with it.

Buy at Walmart $12

Wet n Wild Lip Pencil in Brandy Wine

“This pencil is one of my all time favorites and a great price. Shade ‘666’ is the perfect berry, as it can go from very natural to more dramatic.”

My tip: I really enjoy the formula of this pencil – very creamy but stays put in place, doesn’t dry out too fast, and you’re getting SO much product for your buck. I have all of the shades!

Buy at Walmart $4

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara

“This mascara is beloved by everyone in the business. A great intense black. It’s hypoallergenic, builds up well, and washes off very easily.”

My tip: use a clear version of this product as an eyebrow gel.

Buy at ULTA $7

L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Le Matte Lip Pen

“I keep a few of these with me so I can use it on my clients and give it to them for touch ups or a night on the town. The formula is rich, velvety, and easy to apply, and the pen doesn’t need to be sharpened.”

My tip: if you can’t find this product in your local stores, I recommend Maybelline’s SuperStay Ink Crayon as an alternative.

Buy at Walmart $7

Eucerin Daily Hydration Lotion

“This lotion is paraben-free, doesn’t clog pores, and is great for very dry skin.”

My tip: this is fantastic for a makeup kit because it suits every skin type.

Buy at Target $9

Visine Redness Relief Original Eye Drops

“I use this to refresh eyes and remove the veins when we do film.”

My tip: a great product to soothe irritated eyes.

Buy on iHerb $6

Sudden Change Under-Eye Serum

“I mix this serum into foundation to get rid of bags. I place two drops into the palm of my hand, add one dot of foundation, blend with my finger, and smooth it from the inner to outer corner of the undereye area.”

My tip: for a quicker and better result, use this product by itself before makeup application. Perhaps along with a moisturizer, while you’re working on the eye makeup or brows.

Buy at Walmart $9

VOGUE article

Long-Lasting Lipsticks That Won’t Budge Under Your Mask

Lipstick is hands down my favorite makeup product. But with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing us all to wear masks to protect ourselves and others from the virus, my lippies have been spending more time in my makeup bag than on my actual lips.

However, while during the beginning of the world, you know, falling apart, I was spending most of my time safely locked inside my home, in recent weeks, I finally found the courage to bravely venture to a Starbucks and other outdoor spaces to see my friends.

And if you think I’m going to add a little color to my lips for these special occasions, then you’re damn right!

In celebration of National Lipstick Day, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite lipsticks that will look just as good once you’ve taken off your mask as when you first swiped them on.

So if you think lipstick is canceled just because of the coronavirus, think again. Because these lip colors aren’t going anywhere — literally.

Black Radiance Metalicious Lip Sculptor

If a metallic lip is your thing, make sure to reach for this product before you head out. For a matte finish, blot with a tissue after application. If you’re more of a glossy girl, layer on a coat of clear gloss or Vaseline after it’s safe to take off your mask.

Buy $6

L’Oréal Paris Rouge Signature Matte Lip Stain

This matte stain is a fan favorite simply because it gives you highly pigmented color that doesn’t transfer. But hey, don’t just take my word for it.  “[This shade] stands the test of time and won’t be around your cheeks or chin when you take off your mask,” says L’Oreal ambassador Sir John. “This ‘peek-a-boo’ color is your much needed emotional pick-me-up. Even if you have no makeup on anywhere else, doing a lip will make you feel alive and well.”

Buy $9

M.A.C. Cosmetics Powder Kiss Liquid Lip Color

Aside from the brilliant color and little transfer, what I love most about this product is that the applicator makes it easy to put on with zero fuss. It’s also ultra-lightweight and never drying, meaning it’s a color you can comfortably wear all day long.

Buy $24

Pat McGrath Labs MatteTrance Lipstick

One swipe and you’ve got brilliant color that won’t budge — not even for the second coming of Christ.

Buy $38

The Lip Bar Matte Liquid Lipstick

Much like the don dada Pat McGrath, The Lip Bar founder Melissa Butler knew exactly what she was doing when she created her line. These matte liquid lipsticks come in a variety of colors that suit every skin tone, give you a show-stopping finish, and know how to stay put.

Buy $13

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream

Thought you couldn’t find a lipstick for under $10 that would last all day and offer (literally) zero transfer? NYX said, girl, you better think again. I first tried this product years ago when I picked it up at a drugstore, and to this day I can confidently say that it was one of the best discoveries of my makeup life.

Buy $5

CoverGirl Outlast UltiMatte Liquid Lipstick

Cruelty-free, vegan, 24 hours of wear, and transfer resistant. Need I say more? Pick up CoverGirl’s Outlast UltiMatte Liquid Lipstick on your next essentials run to the drugstore.

Buy $8

Gucci Rouge à Lèvres Mat Matte Lipstick

Listen, Gucci did that when crafting this gorgeous lipstick. Offering a variety of shades, this light, smooth, creamy, and non-drying matte stays in place for as long as you want it to. But, it’s also super easy to remove at the end of the day. Another plus? It’s super lightweight, so you’ll probably forget you’re even wearing it.

Buy $42

InStyle article

MAC Velvet Teddy VS. Wet’n’Wild Bare It All

My first ever lipstick and makeup product was MAC’s famous Velvet Teddy matte lipstick. This flattering nude shade has been lusted over by beauty lovers for years, and other makeup brands have tried to come out with their own spin on this product.

The closest alternative that was discovered a few years ago to this product, is the Wet’n’Wild’s 902C Bare It All matte lipstick. They’re pretty much the same product, formula and longevity-wise! The shade is described as a “deep-tone beige” on the MAC’s official website. The pricing comparison is $24 vs. $3.

Get MAC’s Velvet Teddy here.
Get Wet’n’Wild’s 902C Bare It All here.

Have you tried this Wet’n’Wild dupe or do you prefer the original? Have you found other dupes to this color? Let me know in the comments below!

Some MAC Go-Tos

I REALLY love the fact that MAC (among other brands) has customizable eyeshadow palettes. The formula has only improved since MAC eyeshadows dominated the market and set the trends years ago for many years to come. This is just one of my favourites that I put together.

MAC brushes are notoriously famous for a good reason: they last a very long time and they’re soft and easy to work with. I have pretty much all of them but a couple shown here are:

286 Synthetic Duo Fibre Tapered Brush
221 Synthetic Small Tapered Blending Brush

MAC lipsticks also were some of the first and the best on the market. My first ever lipstick was Velvet Teddy (of course due to the endless comments about it among beauty lovers), and although there’s such a large variety of lipsticks available these days, their formula is still among the top.

The lipstick shown here is in Jubilee.

Do you use MAC products? Do you have favourites? Let me know in the comments below!