15 Old-School Beauty Tips We Learned from Our Moms

These days, young girls and women have unprecedented access to information — including skincare advice, makeup tutorials, nutrition tips, and so much more. But for most of us, our younger years were spent poring through the pages of magazines and watching our moms (and grandmothers, aunts, and other maternal figures) apply their makeup, style their hair, and generally prepare to take on the day. In honor of Mother’s Day weekend, we asked our team members, readers, and friends to share their favorite beauty tips they picked up from the moms in their lives. Some we still use today; others we just remember fondly.

Do any of these look familiar?

“I would spend hours watching my mom apply makeup while I sat on her bed. She would always use a straight pin to rid herself of clumps after applying mascara. It always appeared death-defying when I was little. Also, she always used a clothing price tag (the kind you tear off) to protect her under-eye area and prevent raccoon eyes when applying mascara to her bottom lashes. I bet if I walked into her bedroom today, I’d still find straight pins and price tags in her makeup area.” — Bridget Martin, StyleBlueprint reader

“My mom always slept on a satin pillowcase so she wouldn’t smoosh her big hairdo. Hers was pink, and I always thought it was so fancy. So, today, I do the same. I love my slip silk pillowcase. I have a pink one (in honor of my mom) and a silver one.” — Mary Breen, Website Designer at StyleBlueprint

silk pillowcase

Mary’s mom slept on a slick satin pillowcase to preserve her hairstyle — today, genuine silk pillowcases are easily accessible and do wonders for hair and skin! Mary loves these slip pillowcases, available in a variety of colors. Image: Sephora

“Never underestimate the transformative power of lipstick.” — Ashleigh Roberts, StyleBlueprint reader

“Sunscreen even on your neck and chest, and wear a hat when you’re outdoors. And, sleeping on your back helps prevent long-term lines because, as you get older, your skin just doesn’t ‘bounce back.’” – Carina Jolly, StyleBlueprint reader

“My mom loved the sun, the beach, and the sand more than anyone I’ve ever known. Since she was naturally dark-complected, she would never sunburn but go straight to tan on day one of any beach vacation. On the other hand, I am light-complected and would tan only after a sunburn. In the days before skin cancer and sunscreen were words in the mainstream, my mom swore by baby oil and iodine — until Hawaiian Tropic invented their brown label oil. And it worked for her — but it didn’t work for her fair-skinned daughter. I can hear her saying to me, sunburned and miserable, ‘Just take two aspirin!  You’ll be fine!’ or ‘Here, let me break off some of this aloe plant and put it on your skin.’ Again, in the ’70s, we didn’t have special aloe lotion — we had to use the actual plant! My mom was one of a kind, and I miss her terribly on this first Mother’s Day without her.” – Melissa Thompson, Account Executive at StyleBlueprint

vintage photo woman sunbathing

Donna Lampley Dale — sun goddess and mom to Melissa Thompson, one of StyleBlueprint’s beloved account executives. Image: Submitted

“Never do a bold eye, lip, and cheek. When it comes to makeup, choose two of the three.” — Sarah Bishop, StyleBlueprint reader

“My mom always said to rub your face cream ‘up’ to defy gravity. She also used to say, ‘Impress people with your character, not your clothes.’ The best beauty tip!” — Cameron Meek, Account Executive at StyleBlueprint

“A little Vaseline on your teeth will help keep lipstick off of them. And if you don’t have blush, you can use lipstick in a pinch – or use an actual pinch — to give your cheeks some color.” — Emmeline Huddleston, StyleBlueprint reader

“I remember my mom telling me at a young age that plucking hair in the direction of the growth makes it less painful. For a very hairy half-Palestinian girl, this advice was pure gold.” – Alissa Harb, StyleBlueprint Managing Editor

“Don’t forget to wear sunscreen on the backs of your hands. Your hands can age you!” — Mary Zingarelli, StyleBlueprint reader

“When I was really little, I would watch my mom put on makeup, and I thought it was so fascinating. I remember one time sitting there and watching her, and I said, ‘Mom, you’re pretty.’ And she looked at me, and it was very sobering. She said, ‘Pretty is as pretty does.’ And that, I think, is the quintessential Mama Carmen beauty tip right there. But more practically speaking, she was an excellent moisturizer. She used a lot of Vitamin E.” — Noelle Brundidge, StyleBlueprint reader

“After attending a Mary Kay party in junior high, my mom learned that for every night you don’t wash your face, it ages you a week. ‘That’s why I wash my makeup off no matter what!’ she says. She also used hairspray on her eyebrows to make them look fuller.” — Brianna Goebel, StyleBlueprint Associate Editor

mother and child at birthday party

This is Brianna’s mother on her 8th birthday, pictured here with her own mother, who favored a beehive hairstyle to add inches to her height! Image: Submitted

“My grandmother always said to avoid scented moisturizer in the summer because it attracts bugs. She also used hairspray on her face to make her makeup last longer. I guess that was the original setting spray!” — Katelyn Zimmerman, StyleBlueprint reader

“Always use your ring finger to smooth out concealer under your eyes as it’s the weakest finger and will therefore be the gentlest to that very thin skin. Doing this versus using other fingers will help prevent unnecessary wrinkles in the future! Another one: You can use beer to comb through wet hair before putting in rollers to make extra curly hair the next day. And yes, she did this to my hair growing up, before each foam roller was placed.” – Liza Graves, StyleBlueprint Founder and CEO 

“Take all of the nude or semi-nude photos of yourself you want when you’re young. You’ll appreciate them when you’re older!” — Katie Burnett, StyleBlueprint reader

“Always take your makeup off before bed, no matter how tired you are.” — Meghan McKeighen, StyleBlueprint reader

Here’s to our moms, the original beauty influencers. And a very Happy Mother’s Day to all who are celebrating!


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15 Old-School Beauty Tips We Learned from Our Moms