Spotlighting Latina Beauty in Marie Claire’s Global Beauty Issue

Marie Claire global beauty issue 2015

I was honored to contribute to Marie Claire‘s Global Beauty Issue (May 2015), spotlighting three Latinas whom I greatly admire: mogul (and all-around idol) Salma Hayek, supermodel Joan Smalls, and actress Genesis Rodriguez.

Follow the link to read the full feature —> Marie Claire

The Problem With a Token Latina Princess


There was a great deal of excitement, understandably so, around Disney’s announcement of a new princess, Elena of Avalor, this week. An olive-skinned, gorgeous babe who looks like she goes to Jasmine’s same hair salon to get blow-outs, Elena was widely celebrated in the media because, well, it’s crazy that there still hasn’t been a Latina royal in the Disney family.

We came close about a year ago with Sofia The First, whom many also assumed was Latina. But it wasn’t long before the backlash started, mostly consisting of “She’s too white!” comments. All of which caused Disney to clarify — or perhaps backpedal — and state that Sofia was “a mixed-heritage princess in a fairy-tale world. Her mother is originally from an enchanted kingdom inspired by Spain (Galdiz) and her birth father hailed from an enchanted kingdom inspired by Scandinavia.”

Disney Junior’s VP Nancy Kanter further clarified: “What’s important to know is that Sofia is a fairytale girl who lives in a fairytale world. All our characters come from fantasy lands that may reflect elements of various cultures and ethnicities but none are meant to specifically represent those real world cultures. The writers have wisely chosen to write stories that include elements that will be familiar and relatable to kids from many different backgrounds including Spain and Latin America.”

Following that uncomfortable PR moment for Disney, Alex Nogales, president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, had a direct conversation with Kanter in which he apparently pressed, “When are we going to have a real Latina, not a counterfeit?’”

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Salma Hayek cover story for Glam Belleza Latina


Check out an excerpt of my new cover story on Salma for Glam Belleza Latina, the new magazine from the publishers of Glamour dedicated to Latinas and their passion for all things beauty. I first met her in LA when I interviewed her for the cover of Latina in 2011. I swear the woman just gets more beautiful with every passing year…

When we grow up, we want to be Salma Hayek Pinault. There, we’ve said it. At 46 she is stunning in a way that is both extra-ordinary and real. We could picture her kicking back at our family reunion as easily as she graces the red carpet.

But what really makes Hayek Pinault such a role model is her beautiful mind. She has the gravitas to take on an icon like Frida Kahlo, the edge to play a twisted (but ravishing) villain opposite Blake Lively in last year’s Savages, and the comedic chops to hang with the likes of Adam Sandler and Chris Rock in Grown Ups 2 (opening July 12). Then there are her businesses: the production company Ventanarosa and a cosmetics company, Nuance, inspired by her grandmother’s homemade beauty treatments.

When Glam Belleza Latina caught up with the star in Paris, she encouraged us to both push for our dreams and cut ourselves some slack. “We’ve got to fight for our confidence every day in modern life because we live in a society that is very harsh to women,” says Hayek Pinault. “You have to be smart and successful and a good mother and beautiful and young and skinny forever. It’s a lot of pressure. So I think we have to take a deep breath and just enjoy ourselves and say, ‘I’m going to be the best that I can be, and that’s more than enough.’ ”

But one doesn’t get to be as fabulous as Hayek Pinault by taking it easy, right? The actress reminds us that none of her biggest accomplishments, personally or professionally, came easy. It took almost 10 years for her to get Frida, the film that earned her her first Oscar nomination, produced—and another 10 years to launch her cosmetics line. “Patience is a wonderful skill,” says Hayek Pinault. “It teaches you to enjoy the process and not just the result of things.” Before she dashes off to pick up her daughter, Valentina, from school, she shares one more piece of advice: “Success is just happiness. If you’ve found the right companion for life, a good relationship with loved ones, if you are healthy—my God, you are immensely successful.” Read on for an illustrated history of Hayek Pinault’s extraordinary, inspiring, successful life.

To read the rest of this story, visit, where it was originally published.

Meet your new favorite hair accessories designer


Look, it’s Nicole Richie’ sister from another mister! No, it’s Melissa Fliss, my new favorite hair accessories designer and soon to be your favorite. Ever since she sent me samples of her new spring turbans (shown below), I’ve been hooked, rocking them nonstop indoors and out and getting tons of compliments wherever I go.

At just 30, the half-Mexican, half-Polish Fliss from Aurora, IL has accomplished so much already—her handmade Mila Rose Designs are sold at the Henri Bendel flagship store in New York City, and also on her website (for those of us who live elsewhere). She takes custom orders, so start thinking about that perfect hair accessory you want to wear yourself or give to a friend.

Fliss is also a Lucky Magazine contributor, and her latest column, “Dream, Believe, Achieve”, is all about how she can’t believe her dream of becoming a successful hair accessories designer has come true. Isn’t she super cute and inspiring? Best of all, she’s her own model!

Here are some of my favorite items from the spring Mila Rose collection.

mila1 mila2 mila3

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Jessica Alba’s makeup pro shows you how to master the cat eye


She’s the woman Jessica Alba keeps close at all times, flying her around the world–including to Paris Fashion Week, where Jessica was seen rocking some of the best hair and winged liner around. So who better than celebrity makeup artist (and Avon spokesperson) Lauren Andersen to give us tips on how to master the cat-eye? Bonus points if you get the look down in time for the highly anticipated Season 6 premiere of Mad Men on Sunday. (Andersen’s favorite era for the cat-eye is the ’60s, and I feel the same way!)

There are two basic steps to the cat eye. Once you’ve applied your shadow of choice, “Draw a thin line, starting from the inner corner of the eye, and follow it straight through to the outer corner—as opposed to following your natural eye line, which is more of a half moon,” says Andersen. “Go straight out with the line and upwards on a very slight incline.”

Once the line is done, you’re going to have some space to fill in on the outer corner, the so-called wing, which is in the shape of a tiny triangle. Andersen’s tip is to “go back and fill in the triangle, as thick or thin as you want. If you make a mistake, go ahead and let your product dry, and then go back in with a cotton swab and some makeup remover and try again.”

Finish the look with two coats of mascara. Andersen’s fave is Avon SuperExtend Infinitize Mascara ($9.50,, which has a curved rubber wand that prevents clumping.

As for which liners are best—pencil, liquid, or cream/gel—Andersen says they all serve a different purpose.

“With a pencil you’re going to have some more control over how much product is delivered,” says Andersen. “It’s easy to use but it won’t be as crisp. When you use a classic liquid liner, you’re usually going to have a really crisp eye with clean edges,” she adds. “With gel liners, I feel like I have ultimate control and a lot of precision.” She recommends going with a pencil during the day, when you want a softer look, and making the line as thin as possible. To transition into night, you can create a more dimensional look by layering liners. “For spring or summer, take like a teal or a purple and do a thick line in a traditional pencil and then put the liquid black liner over that. Make the pencil line thicker so it shows from behind the liquid liner.”

Here are Andersen’s top 3 products recommendations for the ultimate cat eye:

Avon Glimmersticks Liqui-Glide Eye Liner ($7,

Hourglass Calligraphy Liquid Eye Liner  ($32,

Diorshow Art Pen ($30,

Finally, remember that the old adage is SO true when it comes to makeup: Practice makes perfect!

What are some of YOUR favorite liners?

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9 beauty products Eva Mendes buys at the supermarket


See, celebs really ARE just like us: They like to shop for beauty products in between the frozen food aisle and the produce section. Even our cover star Jennifer Lopez has admitted to buying her favorite cream at the supermarket. In the case of Eva Mendes, she mostly combines her grocery and beauty product shopping out of convenience. “I absolutely hate shopping,” she confesses. “Unless it’s something for my home, I don’t like shopping, so I keep it to a minimum.”

Of course, the star of the new crime thriller The Place Beyond The Pines (out today and co-starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, and Ray Liotta) doesn’t shop at just any grocery store — as with the food she puts into her body, this Cuban beauty is very mindful about the beauty products she uses, so you’re more likely to find her at Whole Foods than the corner bodega.

Here are Eva’s favorite health-food-store beauty buys, so you can add them to your own shopping list:


Jason Quick Clean Makeup Remover Pads ($9,

“I love them,” says Eva of these fragrance-free, pre-moistened pads from the natural beauty product line. “I don’t like regular makeup removers cause a lot of them have a lot of gunk in them.”

Rosewater ($9,

Eva doesn’t wash her face in the morning. “I think water, unless you’re drinking it, can be very dehydrating so sometimes I skip the washing the face part,” she says. To cleanse her skin at the start of her day, she usually just uses rosewater on a damp cloth. Best of all, “it can be totally inexpensive,” she adds.

Thayers Premium Witch Hazel ($10,

Depending on how her skin feels on any given morning, Eva might use witch hazel instead of rosewater.

Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream ($37,

“It’s really cool, you can get it at any health food store and you can use it on your eyes, your lips, anywhere,” says Eva of this uber-hydrating cream — a celebrity favorite.

Dr. Hauschka Lip Care Stick ($14,

To keep her lips moisturized in LA.’s dry climate and with her constant traveling, Eva turns to this lip balm with jojoba wax and shea butter.

Coconut Oil

Once a month, Eva will give her hair some extra love, either by using the Pantene Pro-V Overnight Miracle or good old-fashioned coconut oil. “You put it all over your scalp and your hair and then you tie your hair up in something that will protect your pillow and ideally sleep with it and wake up in the morning and rinse it out,” she says.

Yogurt & Rock Salt

“I like taking regular plain yogurt and rock salt and I use it as a scrub in the shower,” says Eva. “It’s such a great exfoliant!”

Epsom Salt ($7,

Though she’s a big fan of Laura Mercier bath products, Eva says she’s “more into Epsom salts now” on the days she wants to treat herself to a relaxing bath.

What beauty products do YOU get at the supermarket?

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How to get Shakira’s waves in 4 easy steps


Sure, I miss Xtina on The Voice, but I’m also really excited for Shakira’s debut as a coach tonight. I just know she’s going to kick all the boys’ butts, including that of her fellow new coach Usher. In honor of her first night–and because I’ve loved Shak’s hair texture through all its different color incarnations (gypsy black, rockstar red, bombshell blond)–I called on Luis Alvarez, co-founder and the creative force behind the awesome Aquage haircare line, to teach us how to get the new mama’s signature waves. If there’s one thing Luis knows, it’s curly hair.

Here’s his guide to transforming natural curls into sexy Shakira waves in 4 easy steps:

1. Prime hair with Aquage SeaExtend Silkening Shampoo – “This is my favorite for curly hair, because it’s infused with a blend of sea botanicals that seal the cuticle and help restore hair’s flexibility, pliability and shine,” Luis says. Follow with Aquage Silkening Power Infusion. “It’s my OMG! 
go-to product, because the results are instant. It’s a 60-second rinse-out treatment that repairs and silkens naturally curly and color-treated hair.”

2. To style, I recommend Aquage SeaExtend Silkening Oil Treatment. “This styling treatment is infused with ultra-light argan oil and sweet almond oil to smooth, silken and add brilliant shine,” Luis says. “The key to fabulous curly hairstyles is making sure to use enough product to evenly saturate hair from roots to ends. After applying to clean, wet hair, blow-dry using a cup diffuser with the dryer set on high heat and high air flow.”


3. When your hair is dry, grab random sections no wider than 2 or 3 inches across. Right before curling, lightly spray each section with Aquage Beyond Body Thermal Spray. “It’s a medium-hold, body-building, heat-activated thermal setting spray with fortifying proteins that seal and protect hair’s outer layer,” Luis says. His curling technique: Loosely wrap each section around the barrel of a conical curling iron. If you don’t have one, use a regular curling iron without using the clamp, to avoid flattening the hair. Instead, just wind the hair around the iron for a few seconds and gently slide the iron away. “This technique unites random, organic natural curls into a thicker, looser, undulating curl pattern,” Luis explains.

4. “Last, but certainly not least, apply a pearl-sized amount of Aquage Detailing Creme to the palm of your hand and thoroughly emulsify, especially in between the fingers,” Luis says. “Lightly, gently and delicately run fingers through the hair with the goal of creating strand definition and separation without overly disturbing the newly created open-ended curl pattern.”

¡Y listo! You’ve got sexy Shakira hair in no time flat!

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The BBlogger Spotlight: Celia San Miguel of Sicka Than Average


She goes by many nicknames, Cel, Celi Mari, C Rock, C Span, but here’s what you need to know: her fashion and beauty blog Sicka Than Average is one of our favorites. Why? Because it’s not only super-fun to read and covers our favorite topics, it also makes us feel smarter every time.

No surprise, since Celia San Miguel holds a B.A. in Literature and Afro-American Studies from Harvard. What I find most impressive about this 33-year-old Nuyorican is that she’s been able to successfully transition from one real of media to the next. Having worked on the editorial staff of magazines and newspapers like In StyleVIBE, the New York PostComplex, and GIANT, and penned freelance pieces for all of them along with LatinaEssence,Women’s Wear Daily, and Cosmopolitan for Latinas, she made the jump into the digital realm at the right time by launching Sicka Than Average in 2008. The blog now averages 60,000 to 65,000 unique visitors per month.

Lately, I’ve loved seeing her pop up more and more on Telemundo as a style expert, making the ultimate transition to broadcast.

Get to know Celia via our BBlogger Spotlight and make sure to follow her on Twitter (@sickathanavg) and Pinterest, for starters.

What’s the first beauty product you fell in love with as a little girl?

My mother had a vanity in her bathroom and she kept all her lipsticks in one drawer. I remember being so fascinated by the contents of that drawer but, in particular, these coral Estee Lauder lipsticks she had. I loved how bright the shades were and the gold lipstick tubes, with those vertical grooves, just seemed so elegant to me.

What feature of yours did you dislike when you were younger but now love?

When I was really young, I was embarrassed that I had a big booty. This is, of course, before Jennifer Lopez became famous and even mainstream media started talking about the beauty of women having ample behinds. Needless to say, I was kind of self-conscious about it but as I got older, I realized just how blessed I am to have curves in all the right places. Any dress that hugs my booty perfectly is a must-have!

What’s your definition of real beauty?

It may be cliché, but I do think real beauty comes from within. When you’re confident and you’re comfortable in your own skin, when you’re daring enough to buck societal expectations and simply exist, when you choose to surround yourself with positivity, when you pursue your dreams with integrity, and when you respect others, that inner beauty shines through and makes you absolutely magnetic.

Describe the tone and mission of your blog.

With Sicka Than Average, I hope to cater to women who are adventurous and have an eclectic sense of personal style, ladies who are whip-smart and who want to set, rather than follow, trends. To that end, I don’t cater to the “cult of celebrity” and post article after article about what celebrities wore or did but, instead, I try to showcase different key products that are out there and highlight trends that are on the horizon (sometimes pin-pointing them before they pick up steam) and then I encourage women to nurture their own personal aesthetics and to find a way to express themselves via their beauty and fashion choices. By doing this, I hope to empower women to find their own voice and their own style rather than dictating rules or encouraging them to replicate some celebrity’s ensemble.


If you weren’t blogging, what would you be doing?

I’d be writing. Even if I weren’t focusing on fashion and beauty specifically, I know I’d be writing.  I think that expressing yourself through the written word is truly an art, and I can’t imagine my life without it.

What’s your splurge item this Spring?  

The TRIA Laser Hair Removal 4X would be on the list since it’s an investment towards removing hair completely in the long run. You can use this laser at home and, within three to six months, you’ll start seeing less and less hair grow back. And, really, what woman doesn’t want to avoid the hassle of shaving her legs? I’m also loving the new Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder since it’s like having your own personal lighting technician with you at all times!

What’s your steal?

I’m pretty obsessed with the EOS Smooth Sphere Lip Balms — they moisturize and smooth lips and they come in these adorable egg-shaped containers so that you can twist off the cap and roll the lip balm over your pout without ever having to use your fingers (which can be unsanitary).

Do you have a BBlogger crush?

I absolutely adore Karen from Makeup & Beauty Blog. She’s a die-hard makeup junkie and she has excellent product reviews and amazing photos, plus she has this silly side that makes you smile as you read her content. I also love Beauty Logic Blog — Milly is so warm and approachable, and I think that’s really evident in the way she speaks to her readers. Another favorite would be Musings of a Muse — she covers an expansive array of beauty brands and she churns out content really frequently so that you can always keep your fingers on the pulse of what’s hot in the realm of beauty.

Looking ahead, what’s the next hot trend (for Summer)?  

There are so many great trends this season! CC Creams are going to be huge this year. In terms of makeup, we’re going to see tons of blue eye shadow looks (from turquoise to aqua and cobalt blue), very ’60s-esque white liner and shadow, and bright lip looks — especially shades of coral red and vivid fuchsia pink — but with a matte finish (a welcome change!).

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The only foundation tips you’ll ever need in life


It’s a different era now, isn’t it? Gone are the days when Latinas went to the makeup counter and were faced with one of two choices: light or dark. Today, we’ve got beauty companies catering to the full spectrum of our skin tones. Still, finding the right shade — and using it properly — can be complicated. Thankfully, celebrity makeup artist and CoverGirl expert Luis Casco helped me put together this foolproof guide to wearing foundation like a pro.

Here’s to meeting your match!

1. Know your undertone. “Finding the right foundation is about finding your undertone first,” Casco says. “And usually we fall into one of two categories: warm or cool.” The easiest way to do find your undertone is to look at the veins on your inner wrist. If the veins are blue, then you have more of a cool undertone, and should look for foundations with a pink or blue base. If the veins appear green, you fall into the warm group, and should look for ones with a yellow or golden base.

“My personal rule of thumb is: if you tan golden brown after being in the sun then most likely you are a warm undertone and if you turn red or pink or burn, then you’re most likely a cool undertone.”

2. When testing foundations, always look at your chest. “We’ve all done the trick of applying foundation along the jawline,” says Casco, “but you need to be looking at the chest area, too, because it’s one of the first things people see, and you want everything to look uniform. This is especially important in the summer, when you’re wearing tank tops and lower-cut things.” Casco adds that matching the shade to your neck is difficult because day-to-day, our face is covering it from the sun, so chances are your neck is lighter than your face. So his advice is to go with the shade that matches your chest, and if it happens to be lighter than your face, use a bronzer to bring the whole look together.


3. Use good lighting. “The worst lighting for applying foundation is fluorescent lighting,” warns Casco. “Make sure you do your makeup in an area where there’s sun. It doesn’t have to be direct sun either because that’s too much, but do it by a window, so it’s indirect sunlight.” Another option is getting a lighted mirror. “Just make sure that it has what they call ‘natural lightbulbs’ or even a clamp light with a natural light bulb will do,” he adds.

5. Mix it up! “A lot of times you’ll find that people have a darker perimeter around their face and lighter skin in the middle, so don’t be afraid to blend two shades,” says Casco. “I always find that using a primer helps the foundation to move better as you’re blending.”

6. Invest in your tools. “It’s ok to use your fingers, just make sure you keep them clean,” says Casco. The potential downside of using your fingers is that it can give you a streaky look. “But if you live in a cold climate, or if your skin is a bit dry, the warmth of your fingers helps the foundation glide a little easier,” he adds.

Disposable sponges or ones that you can wash are hygienic, so Casco recommends this tool for people who are prone to breakouts. The only con with sponges is that they tend to soak up the product, so you might end up wasting some of it.

As for foundation brushes, they’re Casco’s favorite tools, because the synthetic ones work well with both liquid and cream products. He recommends applying tiny dots along the middle of your face, where you usually need a bit more coverage, and then working upward and outward towards your temples so that it almost disappears.

“Stippling brushes are great for rolling your foundation on, which gives you that soft and feathery airbrushed look,” says Casco.

More and more people are loving the kabuki brush, which Casco says is “fabulous for those with acne because you can tap it on and concentrate on those areas where you need more concealing — and then blend.”

You should clean your synthetic and natural fiber brushes regularly by using baby shampoo or a brush cleaner — just make sure that your brushes are dried flat.

What’s your No. 1 foundation tip?

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3 essential nail trends to try this Spring


There’s nothing hotter than nail art these days, and one name in particular stands out among the nail-artist pack: Ami Vega.

This dominicana, who grew up in Washington Heights, NY, first discovered her love for nail art at LaGuardia High School, a place specializing in visual and performing arts (famous alumni include Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Aniston, and Al Pacino). Back then, she and her friends used to have fun with Sharpies and CoverGirl’s crackle nail polish. “My mom was very conservative so I wasn’t allowed to get the acrylics, but all my girlfriends had the square-tip nails with the airbrushing of their boyfriends’ names or initials,” says Ami. “And the trees with the sunset, that was all the rage back then.”

Things have evolved quite a bit since her high school days, with Ami becoming one of the most sought-after nail artists in the game. Currently, she splits her time between her mobile salon, El Salonsito, and the editorial and commercial work she does for publications like Scratch UK and beauty companies like Maybelline, Revlon and Essie. Peep some of her recent video tutorials, inspired by the Spring 2013 runways.

Key to Ami’s success since opening El Salonsito two years ago has been partnering with her brother Gabriel. “He’s the business mind and I’m the creative one,” she says, adding that their ultimate dream is to open up a physical location somewhere in NYC, and eventually, in other major cities in the U.S., all under the El Salonsito umbrella.

Ami and I recently talked nail art trends for spring, how the nail art game has changed, deserted-island nail art essentials, and sundry other nail art-related goodness.  Did I mention we talked about nail art?

Have things really changed that much from your teen days – is there still the same level of nail artistry?

Like with fashion, things always do make their way back, but nail art has definitely gone a step up. It’s about self-expression now. Before it was like, ‘I’m going to get my nails done and do a little rainbow or a little heart and it’s an accent for my manicure.’ Now the manicure is an accent to the art itself.

OK, now on to the most important thing: What are the three hottest nail art trends for Spring?

Textured nail polish, like that leather-effect, is really big. That one is easy to do yourself.Nails Inc. has a really great leather-effect nail polish that you can apply two coats of and it dries matte. If you want to take it a step up, you can leave your half-moon empty and have that contrast there of your natural nail and the leather effect.

Also, the so-called ‘mannequin hands.’ Those are the nudes that match your skin perfectly. HIPPxRGB has a beautiful collection of nude shades that matches anybody’s skin tone.

And metallics and glitter are really big, too.

In terms of colors, what’s hot right now?

A lot of my clients are asking for pastels, especially the minty greens and peachy corals.

What’s the work you’re proudest of?

I would say the art pieces that I replicate, like the Keith Harings or Basquiats. I like to capture every little bit of the work because the artists themselves dedicate so much time to it.

What are your deserted-island nail tools?

I would need a nail file, my Rejuvacote by Duri Nail Hardener, my CND SolarOil nail and cuticle conditioner, and my Crabtree & Evelyn Gardeners Hand Therapy cream. It’s amazing on even the driest skin!

Here’s a look at some of the Spring trends Ami mentioned, courtesy of her Instagram account (@amivnails):


Check out the rest of the pics on, where this was originally posted.