Finally, A Makeup Line That Doesn't Just Flatter Your Skin Tone — It Celebrates It

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 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.
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"Mexican women wear a million hats every day," says Merson. "I wanted to create shadows that respect her desire to mix up the intensity depending on her mood, which is why I made them both wet and dry." As for the color inspiration, there are four eyeshadow quads in the collection — each with specific significance.

Take the metallic black, silver, gray, and pink shades in Tapatia (shown here): "This is what they call the women in Guadalajara, Jalisco, where I was born," says Merson. "They have a very regal reputation, and I wanted to channel that through the colors."

Reina Rebelde 4 Play Wet Dry Eye Color in Tapatia, $20, available at Reina Rebelde.
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Lip products, as I learned from my abuela, are so important. "I wanted the colors to be as strong as our mouths," Merson jokes. "These are highly pigmented, so they make a statement. Each of the names were inspired by attitudes I feel every Latina woman can relate with."

This fiery-red shade, for example, is called Brava, "which means woman on fire, in a sense," Merson says. "Hispanic women are known for our will and our passion — they go hand in hand."

Reina Rebelde Bold Lip Color Stick in Brava, $16, available at Reina Rebelde.
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"Latina women are known for bolder brows," she says. Enter: this Frida Kahlo-inspired dark-brown shade, which you can use to enhance your brows or define your eyes.

Reina Rebelde Rebel Eye Paint, $16, available at Reina Rebelde.
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"Coqueta" translates to "flirt" — which makes perfect sense for this face palette, which features three delicate, universally flattering shades: rose, chocolate, and pearly-pink.

Reina Rebelde On Your Face Contour + Color Trio in Coqueta, $20, available at Reina Rebelde.
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This metallic-red lip gloss was inspired by the story of La Malinche: "She was considered a traitor to her own Aztec people when she had a love affair with [colonizer Hernán] Cortés during the Spanish conquest of Mexico," Merson explains. "How scandalous, yet also how very saucy; she was truly a Reina Rebelde. This shade perfectly embodies that."

Reina Rebelde Lip Brilliance in Malinche, $15, available at Reina Rebelde.
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This faux-lash kit has a more personal meaning for Merson: "It was inspired by my mom, who has always accused me of being exagerada, meaning I blow things out of proportion or exaggerate." The reusable lash set has two sets of falsies that evoke that larger-than-life attitude.

Reina Rebelde Exagerada Lash Kit, $16, available at Reina Rebelde.
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Eyes are said to be the crown jewels of beauty in Latin culture, as they are the truth-tellers. This metallic, chocolate-brown eyeliner lets you define them for a super-mysterious effect.

Reina Rebelde Rebel Eye Definer Pencil, $15, available at Reina Rebelde.
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