Beauty Industry Giants Share the Wellness Advice They Learned from Their Moms and Grandmothers
Of the millions of things our moms teach us, knowing how to look and feel our best is one of the most meaningful. Maybe it's the way she washed her face, the just-right red lipstick she wore, or her signature scent that boomerangs you back in time—the common thread is self-care, with a big spritz of confidence. Jones Road founder Bobbi Brown recalls the "dedicated spa nights" she shared with her mother: "We'd put on our pajamas and do manicures, pedicures, and facial masks," she says. Deepica Mutyala, the founder of makeup brand Live Tinted, won't ever forget coconut-oil hair massages, which were a monthly ritual she and her mom shared. "We'd work the oil into dry hair, let it sit overnight, then rinse in the morning. I still do them," she says.
Manuka honey brings Barb Stegemann, the founder of 7 Virtues, a clean-fragrance brand, back; her mother loved the stuff before anyone knew about its antibacterial benefits and swore by it as a healing face mask, she says. Tata Harper, founder of her eponymous line, took the DIY route with her matriarchs, too, something that inspired her professionally: "My mother and grandmother would throw spa parties at home, where they'd concoct face masks with things like avocado and honey. These get-togethers impacted my use of natural ingredients when I developed my own line."
Below, more top hair, skin, and makeup experts shared essential lessons they learned from their leading women, and still follow today.
Wash Off the Day
For Lula skin-care brand founder Sarah Uslan, cleansing her face before bed is non-negotiable, thanks to her mom's insistence: "Most of my friends in college would sleep with their makeup on, and I just couldn't—it would keep me up at night!"
Celebrate Your Smile
Charlotte Tilbury "learned early on that lipstick is happiness in a tube," she tells us—something that explains the makeup artist and eponymous brand founder's penchant for creating iconic formulas. "It's my mother's confidence-boosting beauty secret: She would always tell me as she put it on, 'Lipstick is instant glamour, and it will take you anywhere!'"
Embrace Your Arches
"My mother told me to never, ever touch my brows," says Gucci Westman, makeup artist and founder of Westman Atelier. "Of course I didn't listen, and once tweezed them into a really thin shape. Now they're quite sparse, and I have to spend a bit of time obsessing over them in the morning. Listen to your mothers! This lesson inspired me to create the clean brow pencil of my dreams, Bonne Brow ($38, westman-atelier.com), to make them look naturally fuller and thicker."
Sleep on It
Nail artist Jin Soon Choi applies a thick layer of heavy hand lotion at night—and seals in all that moisture with a pair of gloves. "It's a ritual my mom followed to help the moisturizer go deep into her skin."
Pare It Down
"My mom had beautiful skin, and her routine was simple: She always had Pond's Cold Cream and Oil of Olay in her medicine cabinet," shares Lisa Price, founder of Carol's Daughter. "I keep a jar of Pond's in my bathroom now, to remind me of the smell of her face when I hugged her."
Mutyala learned this lifelong beauty tip at an early age: "When I was a little girl, my mom applied kajal on my eyes and a small dot behind one of my ears—it's tradition in our culture to rid children of the evil eye. I still wear dark eyeliner today."
Be Informed, Go Big
"My mom taught me to be curious about what's in products and where ingredients come from," notes Jonathan Van Ness, Queer Eye star and founder of JVN Hair. "Also, the magic of hot rollers and mousse for a polished, glam look: She'd wear them while getting us ready for the day."
RMS Beauty founder Rose-Marie Swift says her "German mom, Gerde, used plain water and a face cloth to exfoliate. No soap, no cleansers, just water and a cloth. It's remained my ritual since I was a kid."
Aim for Fabulous
"I was raised by my maternal and paternal grandmothers, Mary [above, right] and Dorothy. Mary loved to apply red lipstick to the apples of her cheeks for a rosy finish. And Dorothy had an entire vanity of concoctions to transform her look: wigs, lashes, and black eyeliner she used to pencil in her brows," shares Lori Taylor Davis, global lead makeup artist for Smashbox. She would sit for hours, and I'd watch her for hours. I think she's the reason I became a makeup artist."
Take the Edge Off
Kosas founder Sheena Yaitanes follows her mom's technique for applying dark lipstick so it looks soft, not severe: Pat it on with a finger, and "let it bleed a little outside the lip line for a plumped, lived-in effect," she says.
Sip and Soothe
"My mother always had a massive pot of Earl Grey tea in the morning, and she'd dip cotton pads in the leftover tea and set them on her eyes," says Chantecaille founder Sylvie Chantecaille. "I do this almost every day now, for two minutes each morning—the caffeine wonderfully de-puffs them right away. I've passed this habit on to my daughters [from left], Olivia and Alex, too."
Aerin Lauder's earliest beauty memories are related to scent. "My grandmother Estée planted a lilac bush at her home in Long Island, and it still blooms each spring. The smell always reminds me of her and of springtime, and it was the inspiration for this fresh floral," she says of her line's fragrance, Lilac Path ($135, esteelauder.com).