These 7 Products Are Makeup Artist Rosa Chang-Crespo’s “Holy Grail”

She gifts Rihanna’s lip luminizer to just about everyone.

14 min read

Back when Rosa Chang-Crespo started doing makeup tutorials on YouTube, it was 2011, and not many people were doing makeup tutorials on YouTube. “I would consider myself one of the OGs,” she says. “I started on a whim, with my web camera on my laptop and no makeup knowledge. But I didn't see anyone in that space representing Latinas. So I was like, ‘There's definitely something missing here. Let me be the voice for my peeps.’” 

These days, pretty much everyone is doing makeup tutorials on YouTube, but Chang-Crespo’s OG status has paid off. Her page, Beauty by Rosita — where she posts under the handle @RositaApplebum — has earned over 300,000 subscribers (with more on Instagram and TikTok) thanks to her warm, humble, and informative approach to makeup artistry. Her comments section reflects a joyful intimacy; it’s clear that her dedicated audience considers her not just a YouTube personality but a friend: “Hi my angel!” writes one commenter. “You look so radiant and juicy,” says another.  

“A little over five years ago, I had just finished college and was working at the Apple Store,” Chang-Crespo says. “I quit and said, ‘You know what? I'm going to do this full time.’ And still to this day, I can’t believe this is my job.”

Born and raised in Queens, New York, Chang-Crespo came of age in a not-so-makeup-friendly household. “My dad was very strict and didn't allow me to wear makeup, and my mom is the least glam person ever. She never wore any, not even to her own wedding.” Undeterred, Chang-Crespo started experimenting with eyeliner and lipstick. Things progressed from there. “I was just playing around…I couldn't afford high-end makeup. I was using my hands as brushes.”

Today, Chang-Crespo has a whole artillery of fancy brushes, and has played around with pretty much every brand of makeup out there. As a traveling makeup artist in addition to creating over a decade’s worth of video content including tutorials, reviews, and beauty hauls, she’s developed a strong sense of what works and what doesn’t. So we asked for her seven favorite products out there — and she delivered.

“I would call these my holy grails,” she says. “I'm very picky, I have sensitive skin, and as a makeup artist, I’ve tried a lot of products. But these ones? These are Rosita-approved.” 

1. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

I think I have seven of these concealers, in different shades, just for my personal kit. So extra. But what's crazy is I can blindly pick one up and it'll work. That means color-correcting, brightening, moisturizing, and smoothing out the under eyes. It works for dry skin, oily skin, sensitive skin, everybody. 

If you have dark circles, something that I always suggest doing is getting two shades: one that matches your skin tone and then something brighter. The first one's going to cover, and the second one's going to highlight and brighten. If you don't have dark circles, just go in straight with a layer or two of the bright. It makes you look more awake and is going to give your skin a youthful glow, like you slept really, really well or are coming straight off a vacation. The coverage is perfect because it actually does cover veins, dark circles, even a bruise. And I love NARS as a brand — they don't switch up their packaging and their formulas stay the same. It kills me when a brand reformulates. You're like, ‘Oh, this is my favorite product.’ And then two years later, it doesn't work for you anymore. NARS doesn’t do that.

2. Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Perfect Glow Flawless Oil-Free Foundation

I feel like this is just the mecca of foundations: the perfect balance of dewy and matte. I have very oily skin but I can use it and set my face with powder and it still looks and moves like skin — just better. Finding a foundation that doesn't break you out is very hard, but this one won’t. I also really love the undertones. This is something that a lot of people talk to me about, like, ‘my foundation looks pink on me,’ or ‘my foundation doesn't look like my natural color.’ And I'm like, I get it. I’m Latina. I have yellow undertones. You gotta check the brand, because some brands cater to olive skin tones and Armani is one of those brands. 

I'm pulling this foundation out if I'm going to be photographed, because it evens out your whole complexion. It's lightweight enough for the day, but you can glam it up at night and add more powders, more concealer, a heavy contour. If it's a daytime brunch, I'm wearing Armani Luminous Silk. If it's date night, I'm wearing Armani. I just like the feeling of it. It’s not heavy. It will stand up to even Florida-in-the-summertime heat.

3. Hourglass Veil Translucent Talc Free Setting Powder

Hourglass is a great high-end luxury brand. It's a little pricey for a powder, but the whole thing is luxurious: the packaging, the finely milled texture. It doesn’t look cakey, it doesn’t look dry, it's extremely soft, and it’s talc-free. 

I use this to set my under eyes. So if you have any under eye baggage or wrinkles, this is going to help. It makes any other makeup last longer, and prevents liquid foundations and concealers from creasing or rubbing off. Powder is an extra layer of protection for your whole face — you’ll come home at the end of the day and still have makeup on. It stays matte and undetectable but the subtle diamond shimmer makes it smooth so it photographs beautifully. It masks texture and acne and if you take a picture, it looks like your skin is Facetuned. Every time I wear it, I'm like, Wow, I look like a baby.

4. Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Soft Pinch Happy Liquid Blush

Selena Gomez, the queen, she has these liquid blushes. My favorite shade is Happy. It literally makes me happy because the minute you put it on, you look happier. It's the perfect pink blush, and it’s very pigmented so a little goes a long way. I still have one from two years ago — it lasts forever. I like to use it instead of powder blush for a quick and natural daytime look. And you don't have to set it, which is also awesome. It sets itself. 

When I first started doing makeup, nobody liked blush. And I'm so happy we're in a blush-crazy era right now because it will make you look younger, fresher, and glowy. Without color to our cheeks, we just don't look as alive. I'm extra, and I'll put more blush on top because I like to play around with different blushes — I have about five million of them. I get crazy. But this is one of those universal ‘whip it out on everyone’ shades. Some people even use it on the lips, or as eyeshadow, if they're in a pinch. Which makes sense because it’s called Soft Pinch!

5. MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist 600 Anywhere Caffeine Color Pencil

Okay, so Hailey Bieber made this lip pencil go viral on TikTok, but I was the first one to post it. I've been talking about this since they launched! I think my followers are tired of hearing me talk about it. But the reason I'm obsessed with it is because the undertone is perfect. Not too cool and not too warm. A lot of lip liners look obvious and fake but this shade is the perfect your-lips-but-better shade. I use it on my clients and on myself. It doesn't dry out your lips, and it doesn't break you out or irritate your lips. 

There was a time that I didn't wear lip liner, and I remember the moment a makeup artist friend of mine was like, ‘You need to start now.’ It just gives your lips shape, a way of cheating the injections. I like to sharpen the pencil a lot for a really pointy tip. That's why I like wooden pencils. I can really accentuate my Cupid's bow — and I think that's what makeup's all about anyway: accentuating your features. But if you don't have a Cupid's bow, you can fake one! Just draw on your lip. Then add lipstick or lip gloss. I always do fill in with something — I wouldn't just use lip liner by itself unless I smudge it out.  

6. Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Gloss Bomb Universal Fu$$y Lip Luminizer

This is my favorite lip gloss. Sometimes I'll just do lip liner and gloss, and it looks great. Rihanna is another queen, and my shade is FU$$Y. With the dollar signs. She’s so extra. This stuff smells good. It's fresh. It makes you feel so put together and it instantly plumps your lips because it's adding hydration. FU$$Y is the perfect pink for anything: natural looks, super glam looks. If you go in with a nude lip and you look washed out, FU$$Y will bring that life right back. If I don't have FU$$Y on I feel like there's something missing. And then I apply it and I’m like, There she is. That's the look. I always have it in my kit for bridal makeup. I gift it to everyone because you can't go wrong with it. I don't know what she put in it, magic?

7. Benefit Cosmetics Precisely 3.5 Neutral Medium Brown Brow Pencil

I've been using this brow pencil for years. It has a very thin, fine tip so you can mimic natural hair strokes. I also have these in my kit because for people who don't have a lot of brow hairs — like me — you can really fake a brow and make it look very, very natural. I love the shade 3.5 because it doesn't look too warm or too cool.

A few years ago, everyone was using pomades and we were going so harsh but now a lighter, more natural brow is in. This pencil is really nice because it's retractable. And you get a spoolie on the other side, which will save your life. It’s not just to brush your hair before you fill your brows in; it's for after you use the pencil, to brush it out and create those fine hairlike strokes. 

My advice for brow pencil newbies: Stop holding the pencil so tightly. Relax and breathe. Practice makes perfect. I sucked at doing my brows in the beginning. They were definitely too harsh. So I can see why people are scared of brow pencils. Another tip is to just fill in the tails. Start off with just filling in the end of the brow and leave the front kind of empty. That will also make you look instantly made up without looking too obvious or too fake. You can change your whole face shape with just your brow pencil. And this one is the OG. It's unmatched.

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Rosa Chang