Mothers & Daughters On The Beauty Lessons They've Learned From Each Other

Recently, Dove released a study suggesting mothers are more likely to influence their daughters’ beauty habits than celebrities. More than half of the participants said their mom taught them their first beauty routine, and they still use parts of this routine today. 

It’s no surprise we pick up many of our makeup and skin-care tips, as well as our personal attitudes toward beauty, from mom. Perhaps she accompanied you (well, technically, drove you) to the store for your first clear mascara, gave you Bobbi Brown’s iconic Teenage Beauty book for your birthday, or suggested going easy on the glitter. This Mother’s Day, we’re especially thankful for mom’s loving support in all things beauty and health-related, from telling us we’re beautiful without makeup to that gentle hint that it was time to wax our unibrows.            

To dig deeper into Dove’s findings, we asked four women how their moms have influenced their own beauty philosophies. But, who says mothers can’t learn a thing or two from the younger generation? We also got the moms to spill what they’ve picked up from their daughters. Though they may still play in mom’s makeup drawer, they’ve come a long way from using lipstick as face paint.         
Photo: Courtesy of Talia Zindell.
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Tracy & Barbie Zindell  
Tracy Zindell, 32, founded Flex Pilates Studio in 2012. She is also the owner and designer of jewelry company Tracy Sylvia Designs. Creativity must run in the family: Tracy’s mother, Barbie, previously owned a fashion boutique and jewelry business. Barbie, a mother to three and grandmother to one, is 62 years old and lives in Long Grove, IL.           

What have you taught each other about beauty and health?
  
Tracy Zindell: "My mom always taught me that beauty comes from the inside. She nurtured our self-esteem since my sister and I were young and always told us we were beautiful (even during our awkward braces years). She said to wash my face every night before bed and first thing when I woke up — which I still do today. Mom emphasized caring for myself by focusing less on what I put on the outside of my body and more on what I put inside it."    

Barbie Zindell: "I have always taught my daughters to love themselves more than anyone else could! That includes eating well and choosing organic when possible. But, I didn't realize how much my daughters could teach me about diet and exercise. I'd never even heard of Pilates before my daughter announced she wanted to move home from California and open a Pilates studio. The more I learned from her, the more I realized how important it is to take time to treat yourself to activities that feel great. Exercise doesn't have to feel like you're beating your body up — it can feel really good!" 
  
Are there specific beauty habits you’ve learned from each other?   
TZ: "My mom always says there's no makeup that can replace the natural glow of sun-kissed cheeks. But, after my grandma was diagnosed with benign skin cancer, we've been careful to avoid the sun, instead opting for SPF and our favorite Clinique gel bronzer."    

BZ: "When Tracy was five, she asked me why I didn't wear red lipstick like her preschool teacher, Mrs. Kaluzna. She said, 'Don't worry, mom. You're still pretty even though you don't wear red lipstick like the other ladies.' How sweet."     

Do you have any beauty-related memories about your mom or daughter?
  
TZ: "I so badly wanted to be beautiful like my mom when I grew up! I would watch her getting ready for dates with my dad — putting on her ring and earrings before she left for dinner. One night, as my parents were leaving for the evening, I climbed up on the bathroom counter and put her earrings INSIDE my ears — assuming I would become pretty like her. Instead, we spent the night in the emergency room trying to remove them from my eardrums."     

BZ: "I remember my daughters decided to buy blonde hair dye and highlight their hair in our bathroom. After finishing their streaks, they had some bleach left over. Instead of wasting it, Tracy decided to bleach her eyebrows to match her new hair. She used my mascara to try to cover her brows up, and walked out of the bathroom with black eyebrows and bleach-blonde hair. It was the only day I let her stay home from school and fake sick."     
Photo: Courtesy of Tina Wells.
Tina & Marcia Wells  
Tina Wells is the 35-year-old CEO of Buzz Marketing Group, an award-winning marketing agency, which she founded nearly 20 years ago. (Yep, you did the math right — Tina started a business as a teenager!) Her mom, Marcia Wells, currently lives in Mountville, Pennsylvania. Marcia works in corporate finance and as an associate pastor, but says the most exciting profession she has is being a mother to six children.          

What have you taught each other about beauty and health?
  
Tina Wells: "My mom is my health and beauty guru! She was into natural products way before it was the hip thing. I was born in Lancaster, PA (yes, Amish country), and remember the local farmer coming to our house each week with fresh produce. The importance of healthy and fresh eating is something I learned from my mom. What I’ve learned most from my mother is how to embrace every stage of life, from watching my family grow (I’m the oldest of six) to watching her relationship with my dad. I’ve observed how my mom lives life gracefully. That’s what’s truly beautiful."     

Marcia Wells: "I was always one to take care of myself. As a teen, I remember using Bonne Bell skin-care products. A representative came to our school to teach us how to take care of our skin. I remember soaking in warm bubble baths and reading health magazines. But, Tina has added another layer to that. She’s taught me how to take time out for myself, and treated me to some really fabulous spa weekends! She eats very healthy — I learn a lot by just watching her lifestyle."    

Are there specific beauty habits you’ve learned from each other?
  
TW: "My mother taught me the importance of skin care and natural makeup very early on. I’m more focused on my skin and use a Clarisonic daily. I’m always experimenting with new creams or serums, in search of that natural glow."    

MW: "I have four daughters and they all help me to stay up on the latest trends of the beauty world, but Tina is our trusted advisor. Whenever I need special makeup for an occasion, Tina is my personal makeup artist. Because of Tina, I actually wear makeup more than I did when I was younger! She has a very natural look and knows how to add just enough. I like her philosophy that less is more." 

Do you have any beauty-related memories about your mom or daughter?
  
TW: "Mom was obsessed with Jane Fonda exercise videos when I was young. My sister Adrianne and I used to do them with her. Total '80s moment!"    

MW: "When Tina was a toddler, she would always exercise with me. As soon as she heard the music and saw me start to move with the lady on the video, she was right there with me (mostly in the way)!"
Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Van Leer.
Samantha Van Leer & Jodi Picoult  
Samantha (Sammy) van Leer is a sophomore at Vassar College, majoring in psychology with a minor in human development. At 19 years old, she helped her mom co-write the #1 New York Times best-selling book, Off the Page. Sammy’s mother Jodi Picoult is a 48-year-old novelist living in Hanover, NJ. She’s the author of 23 best-selling novels, including My Sister’s Keeper, The Storyteller, and, most recently, Leaving Time.

What have you taught each other about beauty and health?
  
Samantha van Leer: "Mom always told me to look however makes me feel beautiful. If I’m comfortable and happy, that’s all that matters. She’s always encouraged me to work out and be healthy, but also never to skip dessert, because — let’s be real — it’s the best meal." 

Jodi Picoult: "Sammy is so naturally beautiful. I'm the one who takes screenshots of her Snapchats, because I want to have a record of that picture in my phone. What makes her so beautiful, though, is that she doesn't think of herself that way — she’s probably the most humble person I know. From Sammy, I think I've learned how to wear makeup (usually I leave the house without a stitch of it on my face), and how the best beauty is the kind that comes from within."     
  
Are there specific beauty habits you’ve learned from each other?
  
SVL: "My mom raised me on the idea that there is no perfect way for a human to look. Some people are just going to have bigger thighs, and some people are going to be really skinny. No matter what you try to do to change them, there are parts of you that just won’t change. The best we can do is learn to embrace and love the body we’ve been given, and see the parts we love in the mirror, not all the things we wish we could fix."    

JP: "She taught me how to put on liquid eyeliner. Seriously, I needed the remedial course. She's sent me YouTube tutorials as continuing education, too. I never wore it before that, because I always looked like a raccoon."    

Do you have any beauty-related memories about your mom or daughter?
    
SVL: "I remember being 13 and wanting to go to the spa with my mom to get pedicures, but usually the cut-off age for spas is 16. So, we’d pretend it was my 16th birthday, and for my birthday treat my mom was bringing me to get a pedicure. We’d make a whole fuss, saying loudly how exciting it was that I was officially 16, making sure everyone around us heard so no one asked any questions."        

JP: "On one summer vacation, we did Pilates together on the deck (she taught me, once again). I cannot count the number of times we would pop into each others’ rooms and say, 'Okay, I'm going to try on three outfits. Tell me which one looks best.' I know she'll always be honest with me (painfully so!), so I really trust her judgment."                    
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Photo: Courtesy of Millie Tran.
Millie Tran & Linda Le
Millie Tran is a 26-year-old East Coast transplant — she’s originally from California, but now lives in New York City. She’s a full-time journalist and a part-time foodie, always scouring the city for tasty finds. Her mother, Linda Le, is originally from Vietnam and works as a manicurist in Santa Cruz, California. She says her daughter is her best friend. 

What have you taught each other about beauty and health?
  
Millie Tran: "Oh gosh, I totally remember my mom trying to dress me when I was younger — she still does it today! She is very patient with me, as her only daughter, and yes, actually does love me more than I can understand. She’s taught me to be equally patient, whether that means taking my time to treat myself with care or taking the time to be more thoughtful about what I eat. (Though, ask anyone, she’ll make you eat so much food if she’s around.)"    

Linda Le: "I remember when Millie was little, I would sing her a sweet song every night until she fell asleep. When she got sick and didn’t want to eat, I cooked her favorite food. When she didn’t want to take a bath, I had to run after her. But, I’m patient and I taught her many things, like eating etiquette, how to pick out clothes, and just dealing with daily life. Now, she teaches me to be patient and always remember that at the end of the day, love is everything."

Are there specific beauty habits you’ve learned from each other?
  
MT: "She always tells me to get facials, but I rarely get them, or ever for that matter. But, I did get one of those facial scrubbers and it’s changed my life. I keep my routine pretty simple, natural, and easy. Mascara, some blush (both drugstore!), and a very good eyelash curler. Lots of Darphin moisturizer and La Roche-Posay sunscreen — per mom’s instructions. I hope I’ve taught her this, but I’m obsessed with having a signature scent. Mine is Chanel’s Chance Eau Fraîche."

LL: "I always tell her to use sunscreen, cover her face from the sun, and to get a facial every once in awhile. Not too much makeup. And, clean your face well and do it every night. Don’t sleep with makeup on!"

Do you have any beauty-related memories about your mom or daughter?
  
LL: "In fourth grade, Millie really wanted a perm. I love her natural hair, so I said no at first, but I let her perm it for her graduation the next year. She combed it out right after it was done, because she didn’t like it. But, she’s impatient and stubborn. I love her, so I let her do it to figure it out for herself. Sometimes, you have to let your daughter learn her own lessons!"

MT: "My mom never let me paint my nails when I was younger, which makes no sense because she’s a manicurist! As a result, I tend to keep my nails pretty simple — lots of beige and clear. I guess I rebelled in other areas of life."   

These sweet stories and special bonds make Dove’s research truly come to life, though it’s refreshing to hear a few moms acknowledge that they've learned from and are inspired by their daughters’ beauty routines as well. Regardless, through thick and thin, Lip Smacker to lipstick, mom’s beauty guidance holds true today and for many Mother’s Days to come — just peek inside your own makeup bag for proof.       


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