When In the Heights’s Nina Rosario, played by Leslie Grace, returns to her native Bronx from college at Stanford, one of her very first stops is the local neighborhood salon; she’s come to receive a makeover—“the skin-deep kind, and the emotional kind,” Anthony Ramos’s Usnavi de la Vega narrates. As it turns out, the primp-and-polish setting was familiar territory for Grace, a 26-year-old New York City–born actress who grew up in her own mother’s salon in south Florida. There, she picked up countless tips and tricks, a number of which she’s carried with her throughout her career as a Grammy-nominated singer and, now, actress. 

“I learned through osmosis how important it is to not only take time for yourself but [also] the importance and sacredness of sharing a moment where women are empowering how beautiful they are,” Grace says as she dives into her skin-care routine, which includes a deep cleanse bolstered by Foreo’s vibrating device, a handful of custom-blended serum combinations, and, importantly, Cetaphil sunscreen—a mainstay in her cosmetics arsenal since high school. “For someone like me who has freckles and gets splotches easily, I really take SPF serious, girl!” she notes.

Her favorite part of the morning comes next as brushes, bronzer, and brow pencils enter the frame. “Through growing up in a salon and seeing how other women did their makeup, I started to learn, ‘Oh, makeup and hair and clothes and all these things we use to express ourselves, they’re adornments for what you already have,’ ” Grace muses, adding that she now embraces a lighter-touch pore-perfecting approach that still allows her freckles to peek through. But she does like to amp it up at eye level by way of mascara, false lashes, and a combination of shadow shades, the darkest of which she deftly applies at the outer corners of her lids—a pro technique passed down to her from her titi, a makeup artist. A wash of iridescent powder, brushed over her cheekbones and lips, provides a photo-ready glow effect. 

“Culturally, I feel like Dominican women are always trying to find the way that they can cut the corner and get the same look,” Grace explains before revealing her own secret weapon for prolonging the lifespan of her blowout: Dyson’s Airwrap Styler. “That’s something that I like to call ingenuity.”

Lessless wrap silk dress, $850

Below, shop Leslie Grace’s beauty secrets. 

Filmed at Hotel Casa Del Mar

Juice Beauty STEM CELLULAR Cleansing Oil

Tatcha The Rice Polish Foaming Enzyme Powder

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Pro Facial Steamer



Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask

Philosophy Renewed Hope In A Jar Renewing Dew Concentrate

Philosophy Turbo Booster C Powder

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum

Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Serum

Cetaphil Facial Moisturizer – SPF 50+

Tatcha The Silk Canvas Protective Primer

BECCA Cosmetics Ultimate Coverage 24 Hour Foundation

FENTY BEAUTY Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Concealer

FENTY BEAUTY Invisimatte Blotting Powder

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer



Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Matte Bronzer

Pat McGrath Labs Mothership VI: Midnight Sun

Wander Beauty Unlashed Volume and Curl Mascara

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

HUDA BEAUTY Lip Contour 2.0 Automatic Matte Lip Pencil

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick

Olaplex No. 6 Bond Smoother Reparative Styling Creme

Dyson Airwrap Complete Styler-For Multiple Hair Types and Styles

Organi Grow Hair Co. Mega Mangrow Moisture Milk

UNEX Professional Argan Oil