How These Latinxs Channel Their Roots Through Beauty

Jonathan Borba | Flickr

After moving to the United States from Puerto Rico a few years ago, I realized that my beauty routine was moving toward making me stand out as a Latina. I was mixing patterns like a pro, wearing bright-colored lipsticks and hoops five out of seven days a week, and my hair was getting bigger and curlier. I also wasn't afraid of standing out as a Latina in the workplace or in public, even in a time when many Latinxs were understandably afraid of being identified as such because of racism and abuse. Soon, I discovered that I wasn't the only one. Latinxs around me were proud, loud, and colorful. We fed off of each other. And not only did our accents give us away (if you had one, of course), so did our beauty routines.

So I decided to talk to a few Latinxs in the US about how they use their beauty routines to stand out and channel their roots.

Samuel Rivera, Entrepreneur and Makeup Artist

"I had the privilege of growing up in the mountains of Puerto Rico, surrounded by greenery and countless flowers. I grew up surrounded by scents and fragrances. Since I was little, I was taught to always pick a fragrance for each occasion. Because perfumes were an essential part of my childhood, I became a perfume enthusiast. I remember my grandfather applying Alcolado, a vigorous and refreshing scent, and my great-grandmother would apply scented talcs. They taught me that fragrances are a part of our routine and that we should choose our staple scent, no matter the occasion."

Paola Colón, Blogger at Letras Con Tacones

"Growing up in Puerto Rico surrounded by a family full of women played a significant role in how I channel my Latinidad today and outside of my island. I remember weekend visits to the countryside and watching my abuela put on red lipstick before going to misa. To this day, red is the only color she wears, and as you can imagine, she owns every single shade — all the way from matte to satin finishes. I certainly don't wear red lipstick every day, but when I do, I do it with a specific intention. It makes me feel connected, confident, and empowered, just like the fearless jibarita Abuela Áurea is."

Lissette M. Rios, Founder of Chic Influence

"The way I channel my Latinidad through my beauty routine is not a specific thing, but the entire ritual of it all. My mom raised me to enjoy the beauty routine as a form of self-care, but also as a point of pride. I never thought much of the fact that my mom taught me to always leave the house made up and nicely dressed because you never know who you're going to run into, and you always want to have a great first impression. I thought that's how all moms spoke to their daughters and trained them with weekly manicures, biweekly pedicures, how to style their hair, etc.

"However, the older I got and as I started to engage with non-Latinas when I moved to NYC, I realized this 'celebrated vanity' was a cultural difference. American culture and media tell women that you don't need to look good on the outside to feel good on the inside, yet Latina culture has the opposite view of 'when you look good on the outside, you feel good on the inside.' That Latina mindset on beauty has its obvious pros and cons, but I always took it with a grain of salt and adapted it for what worked for me. So now, when I take 30 minutes to do my skincare and makeup routine, it is more than just the literal application of it. It's my time to think, plan my day, and indulge in a bit of me time before I dive into the madness that is my life."

Nathasha Bonet, Multimedia Journalist and Blogger

"As a Latina and Puerto Rican, I've always looked up to J Lo. She's my beauty inspiration. I channel my Latinidad through glowing bronzed skin, golden and natural hues in my eyes, a bold colorful lipstick, and some sexy beachy curls. I feel like a tropical goddess!"

Laura Ramírez, Journalist

"Being Latina gives you the freedom to be more expressive and loud. Beauty is all about embracing my creativity. It's all about taking the time to express myself. Nothing beats a powerful eyeliner and a red lipstick. It can change your mood and also transform your day. Doing my skincare and makeup routine in the morning is like a ritual. I can't leave my apartment without my trusty SPF, vitamin C, and moisturizer. A classic look with winged black eyeliner, brows, concealer, and blush is my go-to look for every day."

Jessy Peralta, Fashion Blogger

"I grew up watching mi mamá use Pond's cold cream, so I began using it as my moisturizer. I feel like it's a staple beauty item in every Latinx beauty routine. It's an oldie, but goodie!"