Gabriela Berlingeri, Founder, Diciembre Veintinueve


“I’ve always wanted to have my own brand, but I thought I would start with swimsuits since I grew up in Puerto Rico and so much of my life is spent on the beach. But then I started working with a local jewelry company and learned how to create my own designs. I’m inspired by the ocean, the sand, and the seashells, and there were certain pieces that I wanted for myself that I didn’t see anywhere. That’s how Diciembre Veintinueve started. We’ve become known for our sun necklace—I have a little obsession with sunsets. I’ve actually seen a lot of people wearing it during nights out.

Going out in Puerto Rico is intense because it’s so hot. You really have to plan out what you’re going to do with your hair and what you’re going to wear so you’re comfortable. A night out for me usually means going to a bar; I’m not into fancy places. In San Juan we have La Placita de Santurce, but it’s a little bit too touristy, so I try to get away from it. There’s Calle Loíza and Calle Cerra, which are streets with a lot of bars that are all within walking distance. There’s where more of the locals go—but you have to speak Spanish or the bartenders will know you’re not from here. I love this little bar called La Chilleria. They put on very good music—if you want to ask for a song, they’ll play it, too—but you can’t go with too many people because it’s very small. Oh, and they have hookah. It can get a little wild there, so if I want more of a chill night, I’ll go to La Disquera. They have a lot of vinyls. On Calle Loíza, there’s a place called Roofyard. It’s on a rooftop and they have great drinks.

Every skincare product I use was recommended by my dermatologist. I don’t always know what it’s doing honestly, but if she tells me to do it, I do it. So when I’m getting ready to put on makeup, I always grab the same three products: Alastin Restorative Skin Complex, Alastin Ultra Light Moisturizer, and SkinCeuticals Phyto A+ Brightening Treatment Lightweight Moisturizer. Hydration is always the goal. The same goes for my body because I’m always in the sun and it can get a bit dry. The Vaseline Intensive Care Nourishing Moisture Lotion is so good. It leaves my skin very glowy and makes it look very rich. For an extra glow, I like to layer Baja Zen’s Coco Glow Body Glow Oily. Someone gave it to me for my birthday recently. It smells amazing, kind of like coconut and pineapple. You smell like a walking piña colada, in a good way. [Laughs]

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Primer is essential in Puerto Rico. Milk Makeup’s Hydro Grip Gripping Primer is great—your makeup doesn’t budge at all. If I forget to apply it, I’ll wash my face and start over. I don’t care if I’m late.

I like to mix Drunk Elephant’d D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops with the Haus Labs Triclone Skin Tech Foundation—I use shade 200 Light Medium Neutral—especially if I’m a little tan. The foundation feels so light on your skin and you don’t need a lot of it, so it never feels cakey. I have zero complaints. For bronzer, I like to use the Makeup by Mario Soft Sculpt Shaping Stick in Medium. I like to wear it on my forehead and sometimes on my neck. Honestly, I don’t know if I’m using it correctly, but if it looks good, I guess it works. [Laughs]

I use blush to make it look like I got a sunburn, so I put it on my cheeks, under my eyes and on my forehead. Those are the areas that get color when I go to the beach, and I’m always trying to recreate the look. Like, I want to look like I left the beach, took a bath, and then just walked out. Patrick Ta’s Major Headlines Crème & Powder Blush Duo in She’s Blushing is my go-to. I actually like to blend it with my concealer. Most of the time, I only use concealer to cover up spots, but I might wear more if I’m going to a club and it’ll be a long night. I went on a journey trying to find the best one, and I landed on Makeup by Mario’s SurrealSkin Awakening Concealer. It’s so creamy and doesn’t crease. I use shade 200 Light Medium Neutral. Then I set it with the powder from Patrick Ta’s Major Sculpt Crème Contour & Powder Bronzer Duo. I usually have She’s Sculpted around. After that, I like Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder in shade 1 Fair for my T-zone and around my mouth.

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Too Faced’s Better Than Chocolate Eye Shadow Palette has a lot of bronzy colors. I use the matte shades with a brush, and if I want to add any of the sparkly ones, I use my finger because I get more product that way. I like to use shadow as eyeliner, too. I find that it usually works better and stays on longer than actual eyeliner. I do like Huda Beauty’s Life Liner if I want to make my eyes pop more though.

I love Wonderskin’s Lip Tint in the shade Lovely. It’s blue, but when you take it off, you have the most perfect, natural stain. I bought three of the same color—it’s that good. You don’t have to wear lipstick after, but I like to top it off with the Make Up For Ever’s Brow, Eye & Lip Liner in the shade Anywhere Caffeine. It’s actually the same color as my lips. I like to outline them and then fill in the middle, and they look so plump. Then I add the Dior Lip Glow Oil in 20 Mahogany on top. If I don’t have that one around, I’ll grab the Clarins Lip Comfort Oil Shimmer in Honey.

I don’t pluck or touch my eyebrows at all since I had them microbladed two years ago, so honestly, I usually forget to do my brows when I’m going out. But if I do use something, it’s the Makeup Revolution Soap Styler Stick to brush them up a bit.

Yves Saint Laurent’s Lash Clash in Uninhibited Brown is my go-to mascara. The brown makes my eyes pop, and the brush really extends your lashes and makes them look very long. It’s not waterproof, but I’ve worn it to the beach and it didn’t run.

And then the One/Size On ’Til Dawn Setting Spray is like concrete on your face. That sounds harsh, but it’s amazing. Nothing is coming off. I’ve gone out and come back to my house looking the same.

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Recently, I’ve been going back and forth between two perfumes. Jo Malone’s Scarlet Poppy is so soft and cozy. If I want something stronger, I’ll go with Carolina Herrera’s Good Girl Blush. It’s also a warm floral, but it’s mixed with vanilla. It’s really long-lasting.

I’m very basic when it comes to my clothing, so when it comes to my nails, I go all out. Keishla Marie at Intus Nails & Hair Studio does them perfectly. I used to get square tips, but I’ve been doing almond recently. I get tired of the same design, so I tend to change them pretty often. For my 30th birthday in late December, I got a French manicure with lots of colored crystals.

With the humidity in Puerto Rico, my hair can get really big. I try to work with that, so I make little waves for a lived-in messy look with the Conair Infiniti PRO 1-inch to ½-inch Curling Wand—ironing it would just never work. I dry it first with the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer. Color Wow’s Dream Coat Supernatural Spray is a big help too, but if you run into me during a night out, you’ll see me constantly touching my hair and trying to fix it. [Laughs] The humidity is no joke.”

—As told to Daise Bedolla

Photographed by Quique Cabanillas in Puerto Rico on January 15, 2024