August 21 2014

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Beauty And The Beat: Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino Shares The Rock Chick-Approved Secret To Chip-Free Nails


Although Best Coast’s beginnings were humble—lo-fi, fuzzy pop tracks conceived in front woman Bethany Cosentino’s bedroom—the duo are an indie act to reckon with these days. Besides having not one but two albums (including this May’s The Only Place) land on the U.S. charts, Best Coast has also opened for Metallica, had Drew Barrymore direct a music video, and, in Cosentino’s case, designed a capsule collection for Urban Outfitters. It’s not that surprising, though; between the band’s heartfelt lyrics that tap into the emotional realities of being a young woman and the jangly choruses that stick in your head for days, it’s nearly impossible to not fall for the California outfit. Before hitting the road this July for a month-long U.S. tour, Cosentino spoke with about impulse tattoos, shopping at Target, and the secret to chip-proof nails that can withstand daily guitar shredding.

Being a part of the indie music world, where it sometimes seems like there’s an emphasis on “not caring,” how important has it been for you to develop a “look”?
It’s definitely not something I ever planned out or thought about. My style has always just evolved naturally. I get bored pretty quickly, so I shop a lot—it’s kind of a problem [laughs]. I think that my style really just reflects upon my mood; some days I wake up and I’m in the mood to wear a pretty dress and heels, and other times I just throw on a pair of shorts and a vintage T-shirt.

Now you’ve got your own clothing line—Bethany Cosentino for Urban Renewal at Urban Outfitters. Have you spotted any women wearing your designs?
I have! It’s such a trip. There was a girl at a show recently who was wearing my line head to toe, and it made me so excited. It’s really crazy to see girls wearing the stuff because I came up with all the designs sitting on the floor of my living room. It’s an incredible feeling.

From the band name to the lyrical content of songs like “The Only Place,” Best Coast is all about California boosterism. Do you see a big difference between East Coast and West Coast style?
I think West Coast style is way more laid-back, especially since it’s so hot here all the time. When I lived in New York I was a lot more conscious of what I wore—there are so many beautiful people with great style walking around, so you want to look good all the time—but I found it hard to keep up with. In L.A. I can wear shorts and a crop top and not feel out of place, because it’s just a chill outfit.

What about when it comes to beauty essentials?
Hand sanitizer, Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Art Strips, Evian facial water spray, and Moroccan oil.

So you prefer strips to polish?
I talk to a lot of other girls in bands about nail polish, and how it’s hard to keep your nails looking good on tour—especially if you play the guitar. We’ve all decided that Sally Hansen nail strips are the way to go. I travel with, like, ten different patterns on every tour; they’re my favorite thing ever.

What was behind the decision to go brunette, after being blond for a while?
My [brown] hair color is natural. I used to dye my hair blond, but it became a pain when I started touring, [so] I just stopped dyeing it and let it grow out to its natural color. It suits me, I think.

I agree—it looks great. You also have some amazing tattoos.
I got a diamond on my middle finger a couple weeks ago! It was an impulse—a friend and I were bored and just went to get small tattoos. My favorite place in L.A. is called Alchemy Tattoo—it’s in Silver Lake—they’re super-nice and do great work.

In the leadup to a big tour, is there anything you always do to prep in advance?
I always get a mani-pedi, I always try to buy a few new outfits (a great pair of sunglasses is key for touring in the summer), and I always go to Target!

Photo: David Black

Beauty And The Beat