As a beauty editor, I enjoy nothing more than snooping through someone's makeup bag or checking out the product lineup on their bathroom shelf. I could talk cleansers, lipsticks, eye creams, and face masks for days—and I love hearing the personal reasons behind why people use certain brands or why they incorporate specific products into their beauty routines. While one of the perks of my job is having access to a vast amount of products and new beauty launches, like most people when it comes to beauty, I am most easily influenced by those around me. Seeing first hand the products that my friends and family members use often inspires me to try something new or to switch up my routine.
This influence can come in many forms, one of which being a mother or motherly figures in our lives, whose own beauty choices have gone on to shape our own. Ahead of Mother's Day, I reached out to a group of self-confessed beauty obsessives and asked them to share the beauty routines of the special women they have in their lives and introduce us to the products they each love to use. So, if you're looking for inspiration for your own regime, keep scrolling for the ageless beauty products these women reach for every day.
"My mum has never been big into beauty, which is strange in context of the fact that I’ve build my entire livelihood around it. I often wonder if it was the mystery and unknown of beauty that got me into it, because makeup and skincare wasn’t something I was really exposed to until I was a teenager. With that said, in recent years (and as the recipient of a lot of my hand-me-down products), she has become more interested, and even recently, asked me to build her a skincare routine.
Her favourite product category however is hand creams—she is a primary school teacher and spends a lot of time washing them, so has very dry, chapped hands, which makes her the perfect guinea pig when I need to test hand products for a story. “My favourite one is Nursem Caring Hand Cream,” she tells me. “I love how light it is—I don’t need to spend ages rubbing it in or waiting for it to dry. Plus, I love that it comes in both a pump bottle and a tube, so I can have one at home and one for on the go.”
The only other staple products you’ll find in my mum’s routine? Eve Lom's Daily Protection SPF50—my mission to convert her to daily sunscreen use finally paid off, and NIOD’s Fractionated Eye Contour Concentrate—after witnessing such noticeable and impressive results the first time she used it, she’ll never be without it.
"She's also a huge fan of fragrance—when I was growing up, Chanel No 5 was her daily go-to, but now she has a growing curation of perfumes on her dressing table which she picks and chooses from. And adds to—she loves nothing more than wandering around Liberty's beauty hall on our trips to London. Penhaligon's Orange Blossom, Byredo Blanche, and Diptyque Eau Duelle are some of her recent acquisitions."
"I really love the simplicity of my mom’s skincare routine but I try to inspire her to use new products and add a couple of steps in there when she feels like it. With my job, I get to try lots of amazing products but sometimes that means my skincare routine can get pretty complex.
I think it’s great that my mom has found brands that she really trusts and listens to. She likes using systems of skincare because she knows that the products she buys are are designed to work together. She hates overthinking and likes to know exactly which products to use each morning and night. Her ethos when it comes to skincare is sticking with what she knows works for her, creating routines from the advice of the brands she trusts. She has really inspired me to delve deeper into the brands I love and see what they recommended to use together for some of my absolute holy grail products.
I’ve been using my skincare as a form of self-care for years now. Taking that extra five minutes for myself at the start and end of each day. My mom said that she’d never really looked at it that way before and I’ve inspired her to start taking care of herself each morning too which I love. Skincare is self-care!"
Hannah with her mum and dad.
"My mum and I share the same 'less is more' ethos when it comes to skincare and beauty—although, I think there are times when we wish we had both looked after our skin a little better! We both like to make an effort but prefer a natural look, even if that means showing our age (my grey hairs are peeking through proudly, for example!) So, we have reached a kind of low-maintenance middle ground and share a philosophy, even if we don't share the exact same products. Neither of us can handle rich, fragranced or heavy products—simpler is always better.
After 70-something years, my mum has finally found a few key buys that really work for her: Estelle & Thild's Age Control Serum is a little indulgence that she just loves and wouldn't swap out. She removes her makeup with Boots' Micellar Cleansing Water and uses a cheap Boots eye makeup remover too—actually dispensing with certain more faffy stages and products suits both of our skin-types better. My mother's mother had fantastic skin and only ever used soap and water. Yes, you can inherit good skin (and I'm lucky that both my mum and dad have aged very well, so here's hoping) but perhaps there's something in the less fussy routines of the past…
"When it comes to makeup, for little blemishes she'll reach for Boots' Tea Tree and Witch Hazel Concealer; she rates Clinique's Chubby Sticks (Super Strawberry is her fave) and we both share a love of Charlotte Tilbury's Pillow Talk; after years of trying different mascaras she believes that Maybelline's Great Lash is the one—I'm sure many other women would agree.
"My skincare habits come especially from my mother. Ever since I was a little girl, she used to slather me and my sisters with cream and shea butter. We couldn't leave the house until she had checked that we had carefully applied the cream - most black families will recognise this themselves! These habits have been passed on to me.
As an adult, one of my first jobs was as a cosmetic sales consultant—I learned a lot in the process, and naturally my sisters started to take an interest. We had a ritual on Sundays where we monopolised the bathroom (which could annoy our mother!). It was a time for me to teach them a few things that I had learned at work myself. My little sister has kept these rituals, adding in some essentials that she didn't necessarily do at the time, like using sunscreen every day and some soothing creams.
I love being able to say that I have had an impact on her in terms of how she takes care of herself, and I think that this has helped to increase her self-esteem. Today she is a beautiful woman who can't be beaten on skincare—now she is the one giving me advice and I love that!"
Lena with her mum as a baby.
"In terms of skincare routine, I learned everything from my mother. When I was a child, I used to watch her getting ready and I really enjoyed this special moment spent with her as it was just the two of us. She has a very simple and effortless skincare routine based on hydration and nourishment. Her go-to brand is Filorga Paris, a line of French science-based skincare products she uses everyday. She is a big fan of the Hydra-Hyal Hydrating Cream and Age Purify Cleanser."
"For as long as I can remember, I've loved playing around with makeup. My mum had me when she was 21 and I remember her being quite experimental with her make-up during the early '90s; thin brows and lined lips included. Nowadays her beauty aesthetic is much more natural and mirrors my own immensely. We swap new makeup finds, review recently-tried skincare, and debate which products we think are superior. Though our routines have changed over the years, my paternal grandmother's has remained unchanged for the best part of 20 years.
"One thing my grandma does which I always tell myself I need to take her lead on is taking care of her feet. Every night, she massages her feet with cream, gently teasing out any knots or sore spots and ensuring her skin feels suitably hydrated. Not only do her feet look as if they go to a spa every day, but I think it contributes to her overall health, too. A couple of years ago, I gifted her a few Margaret Dabbs London products and now they're the foot formulas she swears by. What can I say? I had to get my sense of good taste from somewhere!
"Makeup-wise, my grandma has always preferred cream formulas, which puts her ahead of the times and the trends. Before cream eyeshadows and blushes were as prevalent as they are now, she was snapping up what limited products there were on the market as she thought they give a more 'natural look'. As far as brands go, Clinique has long been her go-to, as has Bobbi Brown. However, I know she's also taken with Chanel's Les Beiges collection, too, which I introduced her to last year."
"For as long as I can remember, my grandma (who is 84 this year!) has worn red lipstick. I actually don't think I've ever seen her without it, and even on holiday she applies a wash of lippie before coming downstairs in her nightie for breakfast! Her favourite is Chanel's Rouge Coco Ultra Hydrating Lip Colour in Gabrielle. She's not a fan of a pink or peachy tone, so this true poppy-red hue is her go-to, and I actually think she has stocked up on a couple of tubes just in case it gets discontinued.
While I don't really wear lipstick myself, whenever I do reach for a bright red it always reminds me of her, which I love. I also have really fond memories of playing with all her lotions and potions as a little girl (she's also a big fan of YSL's Touche Eclat) while she brushed my hair, so maybe that's where I got my love of beauty from!
In contrast to my grandma, my mum has very few makeup products in her roster. She's all about skincare, and her biggest pet-peeve is when I forget to moisturise or pop SPF on in the winter (guilty as charged). A recent discovery of hers is Charlotte Tilbury's Collagen Superfusion Facial Oil, which she says has now become a firm favourite in her bag of skincare tricks. As a woman in her 50s, she says she loves how this boosts glow and plumps up her skin, without it being left feeling sticky. My mum uses this before popping on her LED mask, too, which she claims is a perfect combo. Her skin is actually pretty amazing, so I should probably take her recommendations more seriously. Sorry, mum!"
"My mum has gone from being relatively uninterested in skincare to “Feel my skin - feel how dewy it is!” real quick. Not only because we get so much to test (we live together so she loves to spy around my “to test” crates) but because of how much her skin has changed - quite dramatically actually! She’s a tough crowd so when something gets her approval I’m very happy to recommend it on to my followers - at the moment she’s loving Venn’s Age Reversing Concentrate, and one of her OG favourites is the Clinique Moisture Surge. Her skin really is proof it’s never too late to see results from skincare!"
"My relationship with beauty comes entirely from my mum's influence. I never feel quite "ready" without a couple of finishing touches after growing up watching her cultivate her signature look—Bobbi Brown makeup, red nails, and always a spritz of Chanel No.5. Over the last 25 years or so she's experimented with Dolce and Gabbana, Narcisco Rodriguez, and Viktor and Rolf, but nothing transports me back to childhood quite like the iconic bottle that seems to be a mainstay on many mother's vanities for decades. It might even become a tradition that I end up passing onto my daughter one day."