When it comes to carrying out my twice-daily skincare regimen, I’m absolutely militant. The first thing I do when I wake up is cleanse, tone and moisturise, and I don’t think I have ever fallen asleep with my makeup on. And it’s safe to say that although as a beauty editor I take skincare obsession to the next level, I think I get my passion for great skin from my mum. From the importance of cleansing and exfoliating to making sure you always moisturise your neck, the core foundations of my skincare knowledge were ingrained in me from a young age by my mum.
Before we get into this, I’d like to clear up that my mum looks really great for her age. She has recently turned 60, and on holiday we recently had to explain to a very confused passport control officer that the reason there is a 35-year age gap between us is because she is in fact my mother and not my older sister. While he was of course being very charming (although we’re not entirely sure whether or not he thought she was closer to 25 or I was closer to 60—likely a bit of both), it’s obvious that my mum’s lifelong skincare regime has really worked a charm.
And it’s funny really, because as the years have gone by, the tables have started to turn. Now, as I learn more and more about products, I’m the person teaching my mum new things. But while I’m preaching intricacies, such as how often to use retinol and whether hyaluronic acid is worth giving a go (it is), there’s no doubt that my mum has been my biggest skincare influence.
If I hadn’t have spent my childhood watching my mum religiously cleanse and moisturise every evening, I probably wouldn’t care very much for skincare at all. From a young age, I assumed that if my mum did it, it must have been important. When the initial fascination developed, everything was rather cliché I’m afraid. I started snooping in her skincare stash and applied it all in one go in front of the mirror. When I hit my early teens, we started shopping for more skincare products for me, and that’s where it all started.
Call me nostalgic, but even to this day there is something quite wonderful about going through my mum’s skincare collection. Whenever I visit, I have a snoop through her shelves and sneak a go of the odd thing that I haven’t tried. And she does the same back to me, too. Out of fascination, she won’t leave my house without having a rifle through my own skincare stash. And, after years of snooping, we have both discovered that actually we have quite a lot in common when it comes to skincare.
So forget the marketing slogans that tell us we need a different cream for every birthday we encounter. Take my word for it: Some classic beauty products are totally ageless. From moisturisers to masks, keep scrolling for the 13 classic beauty products that have just as a much of a place in my skincare regimen as they do my mum’s.
Ever since I got my first whopper of a spot when I was around 13 years old, my beauty regimen has never been without a tub of Sudocrem. Before acids were even a thing, my mum always had a pot of this thick antiseptic cream in the bathroom cabinet to help calm angry breakouts. To this day, despite all of the high-tech spot treatments around, I still swear by a dollop of Sudocrem to heal a spot.
It's worth noting that I am really not a very big retinol user. My mum, on the other hand, swears by the stuff. She’s at a stage where she can apply retinol every single night without any irritation, whereas I can realistically only apply it once a week, and even that has to be a weaker formula. However, these little capsules seem to be the only mum-approved retinol that my skin absolutely loves.
Out of all the beauty advice my mum has ever given me, using Vaseline to remove eye makeup is by far my most actioned. In fact, I think it’s because I grew up using Vaseline that I didn’t buy my first pack of face wipes until I was 18. Just take a scoop, rub it over each eye and then wipe off with a tissue. If you have sensitive eyes that react to removers, I urge you to give this a go.
Whenever I stay the night at my mum’s, I always steal a little bit of this – it’s actually become somewhat of a ritual. You add just a little bit to the palm of your hand and add water to create a sort of foamy exfoliant. My mum says she always uses this the evening before a big event as she wakes up with glowing skin every time, and I can vouch for that.
While my mum swears that Nivea is the biggest anti-ageing secret out there, I’ve always been a little sceptical. This stuff is beyond thick and contains a whole bunch of seriously moisturising ingredients making it a little bit too much for my already relatively oily skin. My mum, on the other hand, slathers a thick layer of Nivea over her face once a week and uses it as an overnight mask, and she has done for the last 30 years. However, just because it’s a little too rich to use all over my face doesn’t mean I don’t swear by the stuff. Come winter, if I experience dry, flaky patches on my face (something that happens all too often when you’re constantly trialling products), Nivea is always my first port of call.
Vaseline is still our go-to when it comes to stubborn eye makeup, but this is the stuff we both use day-to-day. It’s no-frills, but is still the ultimate daily makeup remover. Just massage into dry skin and remove with a damp muslin cloth for deeply cleansed, glowing skin. Most importantly, it doesn’t leave skin with any tightness; something we both hate the feeling of.
My mum has always separated her daily skincare from her special skincare. In fact, she has a designated bag especially for her special skincare. Over the years, I’ve tried to work out exactly what makes something special enough for her to keep in that bag and, after gruelling investigation, I’ve decided it’s anything with a steep price point. This moisturiser isn’t in the special skincare bag, but she admits she uses it every single day, and I think that’s pretty special. Plus, the fact that it leaves skin plump and supple means I absolutely love it too.
Above anything, it’s the smell of this that first lured me in. For years, my mum has sworn by this balm to sooth dry hands, and, as I got older, the smell became nostalgic for me. The first tube I ever bought was for sentimental reasons, now I couldn’t be without it. Whenever I have areas of extreme dryness, this heroic tube is all I need.
There’s only one woman in the world that can appreciate a tub of Nivea and La Mer in equal measure, and that’s my mum. When I gifted her her first-ever tub of La Mer a few years ago, I knew I was about to ignite a very expensive obsession. For years, I’ve used La Mer when my skin is red, dry or acting out. Is it a necessity for me? Absolutely not, but my shelf is never without a tub. However, the rich intensity of this cult cream became an absolute staple in my mum’s regimen, and she’s adamant she’ll never look back.
Controversially, my mum has never been a huge Estée Lauder woman. In fact, it was actually me that got her onto the hydrating wonders of Advanced Night Repair. While she does like the original serum (it’s probably my desert island product), after she tried this eye cream on the back of her hand and saw how lightweight but nourishing it was, I let her take it home with her to test it out. It never came back and she’s now on her third pot.
A few years ago, my mum called me to tell me she had picked up a Garnier sheet mask when she was doing her weekly food shop and that it had given her the glowiest skin of her life. Sheet masks weren’t really a big deal at the time, but I thought I’d better give it a go considering how much she loved it. Now, we both have a basket in our bathrooms fully stocked with these sheet masks. They’re the ultimate skin pick-me-up.
This one is a slightly newer addition to my mum’s skincare shelf, but she’s equally as obsessed with it as I am. Whenever my skin is exceptionally oily, this is the first thing I reach for, and my mum swears by this cleanser for whenever her skin needs a really deep clean. It’s full of purifying clays but also contains zinc oxide to reduce redness alongside a host of nourishing oils. It’s the ultimate cleanser for those with oily, but sensitive, skin.
This is one of the first-ever skincare products I tried. I remember going through my mum’s bathroom cabinet and slathering it all over my face. A vitamin C serum might not be the most conventional beauty product for a 12-year-old to become obsessed with, but it happened. In fact, after years of thieving from my own mother, I finally bought my own tube and continued to repurchase it until I became a beauty editor when other serums got in the way. Now, every time I visit my mum, I sneak a little bit of this to make sure I never forget how brilliantly brightening it is.