Happy Mother's Day to My Mom, The Drugstore Beauty Goddess

This queen passed down her love of the hallowed halls of Walgreens to me.
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Kate F.
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This queen passed down her love of the hallowed halls of Walgreens to me.

When I told my mom I was writing an article about her beauty arsenal and needed to photograph her collection, she only had one response: Why?

mothers day kate

My mom and me looking all inspired and whatnot.

Because, Mom. Because I’m sick and tired of women over 50 only getting attention in the beauty world if they own a $200 eye cream or choose from their collection of dozens of Dior lipsticks each day. Because, like me, you’re a drugstore goddess and you’d rather have 15 cheap, pink nail polishes to choose from than one or two outrageously expensive ones. Because you’re the strongest, most wonderful person I’ve ever met, and I know, deep down, that part of the reason you go to the drugstore is because of all of the financial sacrifices you’ve made to keep me not only breathing but grinning from ear to ear.

And because, frankly, your beauty collection kicks ass.

You see, dear reader, my mom is the reason I’ve developed such a sophisticated intuition for which products I should splurge on, and which I should simply get at Walgreens. Take her everyday spread of products, for example.

mothers day everyday makeup collection

CoverGirl. CoverGirl. And MORE CoverGirl.

SO. MUCH. COVERGIRL. CoverGirl foundation, powder, concealer and blush. And then: Maybelline eyeshadow and mascara. Oh, and don’t forget the Revlon tweezers. The only thing even a little pricey is Benefit Fakeup Concealer, which I happened to purchase for her. 

Man, does all this stuff have a history for me. I remember getting my very first pimple, running to her to use her “special lipstick” by CoverGirl. And that eyeshadow? She’s been using some drugstore variation of this quad for as long as I can remember. Before I even knew what an eyelid crease was, my mom was a master at defining hers.

And don’t even get me started on her lipstick and nail polish collections. I actually hadn’t taken a good peek at them in awhile until I had to take photos for this story. I realized that, like me, she’s got a pretty standard face and eye routine but likes to play a little with her lip and nail shades. We’ve got brands across the board here, from Revlon to Illamasqua.

mothers day lipstick collection

CoverGirl, Revlon... Illamasqua?!

mother's day nail polish collection

Everything's coming up pink and red.

My mom also taught me that a simple skincare routine is always, always best. Cetaphil has been her ride-or-die for years; not only does she wash her face with the Gentle Cleanser, but she also sometimes applies it as a lotion afterward. (She and I both know it’s the ultimate beauty sin, but she usually can’t muster up the energy to take off her makeup before bed, probably because she’s spent the entire day picking up the pieces of my and my brothers’ lives.)

She does, however, own a few fancy, designer skincare products from Chanel and Estée Lauder, though I swear I’ve never seen her use them. 

mothers day skincare collection

The essential C's: Cetaphil and Chanel.

And now, my favorite of all: my mom’s absolutely stellar fragrance collection. She tries to act like she doesn’t care all that much, but I think, like me, her inner beauty nerd really shows itself in the eau de parfum department. She saves her Chanel No. 5 for special occasions, usually opting for Honey by Marc Jacobs (from her best friend, Ruth, who simply spoils her) or even the old-school drugstore favorite Charlie for everyday. She also loves to keep a bottle of Design by Paul Sebastian handy to remind her of my father’s mother, one of the women she looks up to most.

mothers day fragrance collection

Drool.

She’s even got these killer vintage perfume bottles that I’m just waiting to steal when she’s not looking. They’re hand-me-downs from my Great Aunt Dick (yup, you read that right), and I definitely think I’m the next worthy owner. Don’t you?

mothers day vintage fragrance collection

I can has vintage perfume bottle?

Thanks for being the most beautiful person in my life, Mom. Inside and out. Happy Mother’s Day! I love you!

Now, gimme your mommy deets, Vainers!

  • What does your mom’s (or dad’s, or guardian’s, or aunt’s, or personal mentor’s) beauty arsenal look like?
  • What’s the one thing you wish you could snag from them without them noticing?
  • And, please share some pics of your gorgeous mother figures!