Subscribe to Style Magazine

Mother Knows Best


Mothers may occasionally drive us batty (and can be more critical of our wardrobe choices than anyone else in our lives), but they tend to also be a pretty wise bunch—particularly when it comes to beauty matters. With Mother’s Day right around the corner (put your flower orders in now), we asked some of our favorite beauty insiders to share the wisdom, tips, tricks, and secrets their own maternal figures have passed along to them. The overlying advice? When in doubt, D.I.Y.

Pati Dubroff, Clarins celebrity beauty artist

“My mother always taught me not to forget the neck, the skin behind the ears and the chest when applying masks, face creams, even eye creams. Anything left on the fingertips goes beyond the face. Recently an actress who is my same age remarked that my neck was ‘holding up well,’ and I’m sure it’s a result of this practice.”

François Nars, founder of NARS Cosmetics

“Blush is one of my favorite products and it’s because my mother used to be so fond of it. She would never leave the house without it. And if she ever didn’t have blush on, she would pinch her cheeks. It always made her feel better.”

Alexandra Balahoutis, founder of Strange Invisible Perfumes

“My mother introduced me to authentic Turkish rosewater. She would always make sure I had a bottle and encouraged me to mist it on my face and hair. I don’t know if she even knew of the powerful antiaging components of rose, but I still use rosewater every day. And my great grandmother who lived to be 104 always told me to wash my face with buttermilk.”

Cynthia Chua, founder of Strip Ministry of Waxing

“One of the best things [my mom] has taught me is this wonderful remedy of myrrh oil for a mouth abrasion, which always works almost instantaneously. She also taught me to drink a glass of hot water infused with lemon first thing every morning to aid your liver in flushing out unwanted toxins from your body.”

Vincent Longo, makeup artist and founder of Vincent Longo cosmetics

“My grandmother always had the most beautiful-looking skin and gorgeous silver hair; it was long down to her buttocks and she would keep it braided and wrapped perfectly around her head. I remember how every morning before braiding it she would wash it and then comb a little almond oil through. She would then take an extra dab of almond oil and rub it over her face. To this day it’s my favorite product for my hair and skin and one of the only ones I always use!”

Tina Turnbow, makeup artist

“My mom told me to start taking care of my skin at a young age. She used to take a capsule of pure vitamin E, prick it with a needle, squeeze it out and use that on her face at night.”

Philip B, hair and scalp expert

“My mother told me to sleep on my back because it prevents wrinkles, and years later both Fran Drescher and my dermatologist both told me the same thing. Also, to think of every time you shampoo as an opportunity for a scalp massage, and I do; I think it stimulates the scalp and makes for a healthier head of hair. And she always said to only wear dark shoes after 6 p.m.”

Leonardo Manetti at ION Studio

“My grandmother taught me a trick to deal with oily scalp and hair. She would make a white vinegar and cold water rinse to use after shampooing and conditioning her hair to restore pH and add luster, shine, and elasticity.”

Soul Lee, Kiehl’s Since 1851 brow specialist

“My mom does this homemade mask religiously every night when she is watching her favorite Korean soap opera. It’s made with one ripe banana—the darker the outside skin, the better it is, she says—one egg yolk, and two teaspoons of honey. Mash that all together and refrigerate for about an hour. She spreads that thinly over clean skin and leaves it on for about 30 minutes to an hour, then washes it off with warm water. My mom is 66 years old this year and she has almost no wrinkles and beautiful porcelain skin.”

Deborah Lippmann, celebrity manicurist

“My mother always told me that my hands are my greeters, so she always stressed the importance of groomed hands because they show how well a person takes care of themselves. I grew up in Arizona where the heat is super-dehydrating, so my mother always reminded me to moisturize, especially my hands.”

James Boehmer, NARS director of global artistry

“My mother is directly responsible for my lifelong brow obsession. She started tweezing my unibrow around age 12! She naturally has the most perfect, straight arches and I think their shape is etched permanently in my head. I also still wear musk because it reminds me of her Jovan Musk, the only fragrance she’s ever worn.”

Lev Glazman, co-founder of Fresh

“My mother loved seabuckthorn oil. When she had dry hands she would cover them in seabuckthorn oil, then put on rubber gloves for an hour; if she needed an intense treatment she would sleep with the gloves on. And to soothe my skin after long exposure to the sun, she would apply plain yogurt mixed with seabuckthorn oil to my face, arms, and shoulders.”

Nicky Kinnaird, founder of Space NK

“My mother introduced me to the delights of fine fragrance. She is a strong advocate of changing fragrances according to season—fresh citruses in the summer, and chic chypres such as Sisley’s Eau de Soir in the winter that exude sophistication and elegance. And for as long as I can remember we had candles fragrancing our home—Diptyque’s Figuier or Jasmin in summer and Feu de Bois when the weather turned colder.”

Jin Soon Choi, owner of Jin Soon Natural Hand and Foot Spa

“One fun beauty remedy I learned from my mother when I was in elementary school was to stain my nails with balsam flowers. I smashed the flowers, leaves, and added a bit of alum powder, and mixed them. Then I applied a small amount on each nail and wrapped them in plastic wrap tied with string and slept overnight. The next morning my nails were all stained a nice orange color, which lasted until they grew out.”

Olivia Chantecaille, Chantecaille creative director

“To wake up with refreshed, younger-looking skin, my mother Sylvie always taught me to apply a rich hydrating cream mask before bed and wear it throughout the night so the ingredients really sink into the skin while you sleep and restore lost moisture. And my mom always taught me to take great care of my hair. She would condition with a homemade deep treatment mask made of egg yolks, rum, and olive oil. The yolk nourishes and strengthens, rum locks in shine, and olive oil hydrates. Just apply throughout hair and leave on for about 30 minutes, then wash out. Hair will be softer and look shinier!”

Photo: Getty Images; Courtesy of



  1. jannu says:

    it was so nice to read all of these comments and tips… it gave me a very warm and one-to-one feeling towards everyone who collaborated.Happy Mother´s Day :)

  2. Brazilshoegirl says:

    Mothers day is today, and i wish I could get the figuier and get it to my mom today. Sigh, I am in Maine at the end of the earth, and so I will wait for fashion and creams to come here. I think I will be old then.


Beauty Insider