One of my favorite childhood memories is getting dolled up with my abuela. Every weekend, she'd hover over me as I sifted through her lipstick drawer, completely giddy over the endless options: She had reds, oranges, pinks, and — her favorite — a brownish-nude that looked just
right on our skin tones. I'd swipe one onto my lips and strut out into the living room while she watched, beaming. "Ay, que linda," she'd say, every time.
As I'd come to find out, beauty — more so than cooking, sports, or crafting — was a big bonding ritual within Hispanic families. It's something Regina Merson, founder of the new Mexico-inspired cosmetics line Reina Rebelde
, wanted to celebrate through her products. The idea to create such a collection, she says, came when she noticed a gap in makeup that caters to her ancestry.
"Latinas are sophisticated, discerning, and authentically rooted in their culture, and much of how beauty brands market to us doesn’t talk to us in this way," she says. "I wanted to create makeup that would honor, celebrate, and give life to our many dualities, with products full of provocative shades that deliver the boldness and passion we bring to the rituals of applying them."
Reina Rebelde (which translates to "Rebel Queen") is that nod to Mexican culture. Merson wanted to capture every part of the country's beauty — the colors, the pride, the art, and the "sheer zest for life," she says — through the line.
It's not often that we see such clear cultural ties in the beauty industry, which is perhaps also why the recent MAC x Selena Makeup Collection
made such an impact. As a Cuban-American who spent four-and-a-half years living in Mexico growing up, this collection feels especially personal to me — and makes me nostalgic for the days with my abuela. And that is exactly what Merson hoped for: "I want Latina women to experience the brand and feel pride for their respective cultures," she says. "Because whether you are Mexican or from another Latin country, that sense of cultural pride is something we all share."
No matter your heritage, though, the colorful range is truly gorgeous. Ahead, our favorite eyeshadows, liners, blushes, and, of course, lipsticks — in honor of my abuelita.