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Javier Ceferino is the horror-inspired MUA behind Rosalía’s fiercest looks

TextGünseli Yalcinkaya

From the ‘De Aquí No Sales (Cap.4: Disputa)’ video to Primavera, the Barcelona-based make-up artist breaks down his favourite looks from the singer’s breakthrough year

When Javier Ceferino was young, he’d steal his mum’s make-up and lock himself in the bathroom to experiment. “It was something inside of me, maybe from a past life,” he says. “You should see some photographs of me when I was five. Let’s just say that carnival was my favourite day of the year.”

The Barcelona-based MUA, who is the brain behind flamenco-pop superstar Rosalía’s radically fierce beauty looks, started his make-up career at the age of 16. “I surrounded myself with people who could help me jump into this world so I accepted literally any job where make-up was involved, from the fun ones to the boring ones. I’m not gonna lie, there were some really boring ones.”

It was during the height of the European financial crash in 2010, however, that Ceferino – living on the occasional freelance job and the “conviction that (his) purpose in life was to be a make-up artist” – began to immerse himself in 90s horror films. “I couldn’t help but buy stuff to make wounds with lots of fake blood and stick hair to my face to look like a wolf,” he recalls. “Of course, YouTube make-up tutorials weren’t really a thing at this point, so I was reproducing looks that I liked in my own way.”

“Rosalía has a very fresh and friendly beauty, but at the same time, her look is full of power that goes straight into your heart. I like to blend her make-up with her personality” – Javier Ceferino

After a brief stint working behind-the-scenes in television, he received a call from Barcelona-based production company CANADA, asking whether he’d like to work on a pair of music videos for Rosalía’s “Malamente” and “Pienso en tu mirá”. “I knew Rosalía from her previous album Los Angeles, and I was in love with her music, I couldn't wait to work with her,” he says.

He describes the Spanish artist as a “force of nature”, and her looks as “full of power and attitude”. “It’s ‘no make-up make-up, but flashier,” he explains. “Rosalía has a very fresh and friendly beauty, but at the same time, her look is full of power that goes straight into your heart. I like to blend her make-up with her personality.”

Below, Ceferino talks us through five of his favourite Rosalía beauty looks from 2019.


“This look is from Rosalía’s “De Aquí No Sales (Cap.4: Disputa)” music video. It’s such a powerful look with the braids and the Swarovski crystals. I had just come back from a trip to India, which served as my inspiration. Gold is a very powerful metal and we needed to use it to contrast the white sparkles created by the crystals. 

I wanted to use the braids as chains for a more ‘street’ look, and I think this combination of classic and urban is the best way to describe Rosalía as an artist. In this shot, she was sitting in a pool of oil and her skin had to reflect this, so I used MAC’s Face and Body Foundation, Benefit Posietint, and Stila’s Brilliance Highlighter. For her eyelids, I used a soft gold pigment and a MAC gloss on top.”


“This look is from this year’s Primavera Sound in Barcelona. It was the first time I’d been home after three months of touring so it felt so good to be back. Pink was our colour for the show to match her shimmering pink outfit – she looked like a superhero. 

For the make-up, I used Kryolan’s pink watercolor pigment and Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Seal Waterproof Converter. On top of that is Moon’s biodegradable gold and pink glitter. We fixed a ponytail using her natural hair. I love it when you can see the hairband a person is wearing, so for the occasion we added some gold chains.”


“Another look from the “De Aquí No Sales (Cap.4: Disputa)” video, Rosalía wears a rhinestone helmet at the beginning. We tied her hair in long braids using chains to blend her hair with the helmet. The colour red was very present on her outfit and the lighting, so I decided to use a bold red lip too.”


“At the 2019 LOS40 music awards, Rosalía performed “Dio$ No$ Libre Del Dinero”, which is one of my favourite songs because the lyrics are super beautiful and meaningful. She was wearing a pink latex outfit so I dipped her hair in glycerin to get that wet look, which is also long-lasting. We wanted her face to pick up the light so I used Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation and the Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wand Glowgasm. I then played with her eyebrows using the new Fenty eyebrow pencil, and coated them in a MAC gloss to continue the wet look.”


“For this “De Aquí No Sales (Cap.4: Disputa)” video look in the middle of the desert, the idea was to do a ponytail with a fringe where I could stick the curls. We wanted the look to reflect traditional Spanish singers – las flamencas, las cantaoras, like Lola Flores – but combined with Rosalía’s urban vibe. For the ponytail, we had to humidify her hair to get more abrupt movements on camera. It was a cold night so I used purple on her lips, MAC’s Rossy from the Rossy de Palma collection, to get more of that freezing feeling.”

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