Beauty Tips & Traditions We Learned From Our Mothers

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For many of us, our knowledge of beauty began at home, watching our mothers. As the most central woman in our young lives, our moms can have a huge influence on the way we view beauty and the relationship we have to it.

Jewelry designer Susan Alexandra recalls, “My mom always does a full face of makeup-lips, eyes, cheeks, the works, and my makeup aesthetic has been completely shaped by watching her get ready to go out on the town.” With Mother’s Day coming up, we asked the women featured on Passerbuys to reflect on the best tips and tricks they’ve learned from their mothers. Unlike the plethora of new products on the market, these old school beauty tips will never go out of style.

Sunscreen Above All Else

SPF seems to be everywhere these days, but moms have been preaching its benefits since the dawn of time. Journalist Priya Patel says that the main beauty advice her mom has given her is to “just take good care of my skin and always wear SPF.” “Don’t drink. Don’t smoke. Don’t forget sunscreen,” Jameela Jamil’s mother advised her. Philanthropist and writer Sukey Novogratz said her mother urged her to wear sunscreen on her face, chest, and neck. “She taught me how to massage my face and neck to apply moisturizer. I still do her technique today,” she says. Passerbuys best-loved sunscreens include La Roche-Posay Anthelios, EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum, and Supergoop.

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Always Invest in a Good Moisturizer

Regardless of your beauty routine, or lack thereof, everyone should use a moisturizer. And as marketer Kim Ing’s mother told her, it’s never too early to start taking care of your skin.

“The key to the foundation of youth? Moisturize every day from head to toe,” content creator Holly Liss says of her mother’s top tip.

Comedian Sandi Marx’s mother suggested to always keep a lip balm in your pocket for easy access, “‘nobody needs to look dehydrated.”

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream is loved far and wide for its non-greasy yet super moisturizing glow, recommended by Alyssa Coscarelli, Laura Brown, Zan Goodman, Ellis Jones, Helen Levi, and Momo Ishiguro.

Keep It Simple with Homemade Elixirs

“My Egyptian grandmother would make these amazing vitamin C shots to stave away colds,” engineer Heba Kadry says. “In a small cup, you juice one whole lemon and then add 1 tablespoon of honey. Mix it and then down it like a shot. It’s amazing and delicious too. I make it when I’m feeling a cold coming or quick immunity boost. I’ll do a few shots throughout the day.”

Creative researcher Julia Corsaro shares her mother’s homemade hair treatment: “I haven’t done it in a while egg/olive oil and honey - one spoon.”

Other natural beauty treatments, courtesy of entrepreneur Olivia La Roche’s mother, include Aloe vera, steam your face, drink water, hang upside down, papaya skin mask, wax your brows but not on top.”

Embrace Who You Are

Of course, our moms wouldn’t be moms if they didn’t remind us that we’re perfect just the way we are. “My mom always says that acne is a blessing and that by the time I am her age I would be so grateful for oily skin (still waiting for this to kick in.),” producer Sarah Winshall shares. Illustrator Ariel Roman’s mother had similar words of wisdom: “Don't be afraid of a shiny face,” she says.

Hygiene Is Key

Both therapist Naiylah Warren and activist Jasmyn Story say that their mothers preached the importance of body care and maintenance. “[She] didn't really teach me about make-up, but she taught me everything about hygiene,” Warren says. She always detailed the importance of showering daily and caring for your body in the bathtub. She ritualized it in a way, I still hold on it to this day.”

“I've never (in my whole life) seen my mother's bare fingernails,” Story confesses. “She believed that a person's presentation of their hands was as important as their face. She kept her nails manicured as if it was apart of her job. I have adopted this code of conduct into my own monthly routines.”

Keep Your Mind Happy

Good health on the outside starts on the inside, according to social media manager Sara Haile’s mother. “My mom would always say, "Don't panic" if something went wrong. Still very helpful advice I use to this day :).” Comedian Lauran Servideo’s mom tells her to try and get a little bit of sun every day, “to keep Vitamin D levels up.”

Georgie Greville, co-founder and creative director of Milk Makeup, shares what is both the most specific and smile-inducing advice yet: “Give or receive at least 11 hugs a day.”


Words by Catherine Santino