Many of us learn about how to take care of ourselves by watching our mothers, consciously or not. When I was growing up, my mom was an esthetician, so I got to see the ins and outs of the beauty world up close.
Actually, I’d mostly just listen creepily at the top of the stairs to the conversations she had with her clients. Eavesdropping and hanging around her studio taught me a lot about the unique, trusting relationships people have with those who beautify them. My mom was like a therapist, listening patiently to her clients' stories and problems, commenting when appropriate, and working through issues that needed immediate attention, all while making them look and feel lovely.
Besides learning about how women deal with grownup issues at a young age, I also picked up some practical beauty tips from my years of observation, like how to properly wax myself, give at-home facials, and file my nails like a pro.
I talked to my mom on Skype the other day to get some beauty tips for all of us. I knew she’d give me some good advice, but I wasn’t expecting her to make my life by pulling out a magnifying glass to read me an email from her phone.
Who needs reading glasses?
As you can see, she looks at least a decade younger than her actual age (56), so she's obviously doing something right and we should copy her.
My mom’s number-one beauty tip starts in...
As a kid, I may have been allowed to dress up in her clothes and paint on my bedroom walls with her lipstick without punishment, but God help me if I tried to go to bed without brushing my teeth.
Her strictness about teeth developed because she was determined her kids wouldn’t suffer her fate. Growing up in the '60s, people just didn’t know to take good care of their teeth, and my mom spent many hours in the dentist’s chair getting her cavities filled as a young adult.
Having good oral health does more than make your teeth and gums healthy--it can actually save your life. Brushing and flossing twice a day keeps the bacteria in your mouth in check. If your oral heath isn’t up to par, bacteria could grow over like mold on old stinky cheese, causing tooth decay and gum disease.
Poor oral hygiene can also wreak havoc on other areas of the body like your heart and bones, and can put you at greater risk for infections and even Alzheimer’s disease (if you experience tooth loss before age 35).
I’m totes scaring myself with these facts (thanks, MayoClinic), and I’m sorry if I’ve scared you, too. But the solution is so simple: make brushing, flossing and mouthwash a part of your daily routine.
My mom and I don’t want to hear your bellyaching about how flossing is a hassle and you don’t wanna. It’s takes two minutes and could save your life.
My mom even bought me an electric toothbrush a few years ago, and brushing my teeth with that oscillating wonder has actually become one of my favorite activities. It’s definitely a worthwhile investment that’ll keep your teeth in great shape and cut down on the amount you visit the dentist. Hooray!
An added bonus to all this mouth care: fresh breath!
This one might be obvious, but my mom is religious about her moisturizer.
Morning and night, after washing her face, she applies cream to her face and neck. Although she isn’t committed to a particular brand, she does use a thicker night cream in the evening and a lighter cream with an SPF of at least 25 for daytime.
She’s also a fan off BB creams, many of which provide sun protection while feeding your skin nourishing vitamins and making it glow. My go-to of the moment is Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream.
Facials are revitalizing, blood-stimulating, pore-cleansing massages for your face. My mom recommends getting at least one a year to refresh your skin. At-home facials are good, too, if your budget doesn’t permit a spa visit.
Start by cleaning your face thoroughly with an exfoliating wash, like Aveeno Postiviely Radiant Skin Brightening Daily Scrub. After rinsing with warm water, apply a mask of your choice based on your skin’s needs. If it’s a drying, cleansing mask, you can steam your face in the sink or using the steam from the shower so that your pores are nice and open before applying the mask. Leave on for 10 to 20 minutes and finish with a nice serum and cream.
Don’t go nuts picking at your face with at home facials. Unless you're a seasoned picking pro, leave that to the experts.
FEED YOUR FACE (VIA YOUR STOMACH)
Mamma Ciccone is a freaking culinary wizard and all who eat in her kitchen are blessed and forever retain the memories of their mouths and tummies being delighted by exquisite flavors.
She mainly churns out Italian inspired dishes, but also cooks Mexican, Asian and Spanish influenced food. She uses a lot of olive oil, garlic, avocados, greens, fish and other skin-friendly ingredients.
Mamma knows that eating well is the best way to keep your body and skin healthy.
LIPSTICK AND MASCARA 4EVA
Although she calls herself “low maintenance,” my mom is NEVER without her lipstick.
Even during family camping trips where we’d have to pee in the trees and cook with flames from an actual fire, she always had her lipstick on. She wasn’t trying to impress the wilderness or anything. Putting on lipstick has always been a morning ritual that makes her feel good and ready for the day.
“It makes you feel happy and look brighter,” she says.
I think everyone has their one makeup item that they love the most and that makes them feel like a complete person.
My mom wants all of you to eat well, drink more water, work out when you can, and try not to drink or smoke to excess. You can do that for my ma, right? Brava!