Long before reviewing products and having the opportunity to interview makeup artists, dermatologists, and hairstylists, our very first contact with beauty was watching our mothers do their routines in the mirror. With their advice and lessons deeply rooted within us, in celebration of mothers everywhere, we’re sharing the best beauty advice we’ve learned from our mothers.
I first started wearing eyeliner when I was 13 years old. After growing out of my short-run Avril Lavigne phase, I moved on from my smokey racoon eyes and dedicated the next four years of beauty routine perfecting the cool-girl cat eye. My few experiments with makeup were acceptable to my very simple and conservative Filipino mom, up until I entered college. Maybe it was the fear of not looking camera-ready for impromptu reporting assignments (journalism school probs) or maybe it was because I had gotten so used to Instagram filters, but for some reason, I was caked the eff up! Yup, every morning, I’d spend an extra hour layering bb cream, foundation and concealer to hide my real complexion and finished every look with bronzer and blush! Insane, right? This drove my mother crazy. Not only because I left imprints of my face all over my clothes, but because I did not look like myself.
“Simple is more beautiful,” she’d always tell me. My mom’s everyday makeup routine consists of tinted moisturizer and she applies foundation powder only wherever she needs it. Now with the no-makeup makeup look at its prime, I now understand that my mom’s makeup philosophy is one that will never go out of style. Looking back at old photos of myself I ask her how she ever let leave the house looking as I did. She smirks and always replies, “I told you so.”
I have Romanian heritage on my mom’s side, so as you can imagine I grew up with very dark and thick hair, which meant I had an intense unibrow all through elementary school. As I reached high school, I was so so embarrassed by it, but my mom always told me I would appreciate my bold brows as I got older. A few days before the start of high school, a friend convinced me to let her “shape” my eyebrows. While I did return home sans unibrow, my friend completely ruined my brows and they were basically non-existent and it took a good six months for them to grow back fully. Trust me, I never messed with them again. Now, I love my thick, dark eyebrows, and they are one of my strongest features, and whenever someone comments on my brows I always remember my mom’s advice.
I remember being a little girl and going into my mom’s makeup bag to try on her bright pink lipstick. Though the theft of her lipstick may have kick-started my obsession with makeup, the most valuable beauty advice she ever gave me was to take good care of my skin. My mom’s makeup routine consists of eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick, always letting the natural radiance of her skin be the star of the show. Struggling with a bit of acne in my pre-teens was tough, and I never thought my skin would ever be as beautiful and glowing as hers no matter how many products I tried. But she never let me give up hope, so we tried what felt like hundreds of products until I was happy and confident with my skin. Now 15 (ish) years later, we’re both rocking beautiful skin, and minimal makeup. Lucky for me, I’m an (almost) exact clone of her, so my facial future looks like a bright one!
Growing up, I was fascinated with my mom and her younger sister’s beauty rituals. Rubbing on lotions, thick heavy face creams for night and pouring scented oils into hot baths was a must. My aunt lived down the street and I loved sitting on her bathroom counter watching her sweep green eye shadow across her lids and smooth a warm and creamy reddish brown lipstick across her lips. My mom wasn’t as adventurous with her makeup colours, but she had a shimmery peachy-pink blush in a cream stick form that she’d let me rub onto my own face from time to time. Those moments were like little pieces of magic. I also eagerly waited for the Avon lady’s monthly home visits, where she’d open her huge kit and pull out tiny tubes and bottles, miniature lipsticks in every pretty pop of pink and beyond. Perfume wasn’t as big of a deal to my mom as it is to me, but she always had two or three elegant glass bottles of Shiseido Saso or Feminite du Bois on display on her vanity. On nights spent out with my dad, she’d mist one on and I’d trail behind her, my nose greedily sniffing the air.
But the one beauty ritual I’ve inherited from her and no other is my mom’s love of painted nails. Rows upon rows of purple, pink, taupe, mauve, beige and ballerina nail polish hues glimmered in their bottles from behind the hall closet door. Each week, my mom would select one and then sit at the kitchen table and paint it on. She’d often do my nails too and once I became a teenager she taught me how to carefully and methodically be my own manicurist. It sounds like a little thing, but I cherished those moments. To this day, I almost exclusively do my own manicures. I like to think of this as a gift from my mom