14 Beauty Tips From Cool Old Ladies

There are some vintage beauty tips we greet with hearty eye rolls. After all, there are new products on the market, new technologies have been invented, and most of us aren't slathering on cold cream every night in order to land a beau. The skin-care rules our grandmothers cling to tend to be more relic than reasonable. So, we smile and nod, but don't always take their advice to heart.

But, every once in a while, nanna will throw out an idea so brilliant, you wonder why you hadn't thought of it before. Or, maybe it's a technique you've watched her do time and time again since you were a kid. Each one of us likely has a trick up our sleeves that was passed down from Grandma. And, for that, we're thankful.

Ahead, find the best (and, okay, occasionally just wackiest) beauty wisdom we've gathered from the coolest old ladies we know: our very own grandmothers. Modern skin care may have its advantages. But, like the cookies she'd bake you when you were younger, this advice was made with love.


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“Dye your hair red until you literally enter the ground, travel the world, no such thing as too much jewelry, never mind the beer cans under the bed, the Pope is our spiritual leader but we treat his ideas as suggestions.” — Mikki Halpin, editorial director
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“Before hosting or attending parties, my grandmother used to lie down in bed for 20 minutes with witch-hazel-soaked cotton balls on her eyelids to depuff, and look bright-eyed and fresh. I have distinct memories of replicating this when I was six years old, while The Twilight Zone played in the background. Only later did I realize that the witch-hazel treatment was grandma's excuse to take a disco nap.” — Leeann Duggan, style features editor
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“My whole family has been putting coconut oil in their hair every Sunday since I could remember. You put it all over your hair once a week, and leave it in for an hour, two, or the whole night. When you wash it out, your hair is extremely silky and strong. It repairs damaged hair and allows you to leave the house without styling, too!” — Shahbano Farid, ad sales and marketing intern
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“Once you start shaving your legs, there is no going back.” — Kelsey Miller, senior features writer
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“My grandmother puts Greek yogurt on her face every morning with cucumber on her eyes while doing her laying-down exercises. She's done it since I can remember.” — Maia Knudsen-Schule, senior manager of brand experiences
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“My grandma always told us to go to bed with a clean face (no matter how tired we are), wear sunscreen under makeup, use moisturizer every night, and to ‘move’ (i.e. exercise).” — Julie Bogen, associate social media editor
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“The most important thing you can do to look and feel your most beautiful is SMILE.” — Melissa Goidel, chief revenue officer
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“My grandma, who was a Revlon hand model, taught us the importance of always having a manicure — that nail care is just as important as skin. Also, use lots and lots of Pond’s face cream!” — Erin Cunningham, New York editor
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“My grandmother used Mentholatum on her lips every night. I still love the way it smells (acquired, I know) — and it really does work wonders on your dry lips.” — Lindsey Stanberry, senior entertainment editor
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“Instead of typical moisturizer, my grandmother would rub olive oil into her hands after a long day of cooking and washing dishes. Since my olive oil sits fairly close to the sink in my apartment, I always reach for it once I’m done cleaning up. My hands have never felt softer — or smelled better.” — Maria Del Russo, beauty writer
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“My grandma worked for Pan American airlines in its heyday, and [the company] would send them on monthly beauty-training workshops. She was the most well-groomed woman I knew. She knew all the tricks, but my favorite one was if you’re stuck without blush, flip your head upside-down for 15 seconds so the blood runs to your head and your cheeks look rosy. But, don't leave it upside-down for too long, as you don't want to look like a tomato!” — Ellie Stephens, freelancer for special projects
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“The women in my house are doers. They're always doing something: washing dishes, cleaning the bathroom, scrubbing the stovetop — you name it. All that cleaning detergent and hot water can do a serious number on your hands, so my grandma always told me to wear gloves when I do chores around the house to keep my hands soft and supple.” — Jada Wong, brand experiences staff writer
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“Less is more. Both my grandmother and mom didn't and don't wear too much makeup — think lipstick or blush or eyeliner, but not all at once. I sort of skipped that advice in the '90s, but totally live by it today. One stronger feature goes a long way. Also, wash your face every night.” — Cindy Augustine, entertainment content editor
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“My grandmother is 78, looks like Marilyn Monroe, and has never had a surgical procedure. Her beauty secret? Rubbing large amounts of Genes Vitamin E Creme all over her face and neck every night and morning. She is also a huge fan of Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair underneath. I’ve been using her secret for the past 10 years, and will never stop!” — Ashley Miles, executive vice president of national sales and brand partnerships
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