Heartwarming Images Of Family Beauty Routines

Sure, these days, the internet has become the primary source for all things beauty. But our deeper philosophies and rituals stem from a much more intimate and familiar source. We've learned from our mothers, grandmothers, and the women we grew up alongside.

Some of us have vivid memories of being a wide-eyed child looking up at our mom as she patted powder onto her cheeks or swiped color across her lips. Others hold strong to the ideals of a grandmother who pooh-poohed makeup altogether and had glowing skin well into her 90s. Some took notes from an older sister with mad braiding skills.

Whether we've adopted the beauty rituals that surrounded us in our formative years or rebelled against them, they've shaped who we are. So, we're taking an intimate look at the beauty rites and routines of three families. Each one is lucky enough to have three generations of women all living in the same city — some even under the same roof. Click through for beauty stories that've spanned generations and prepare for all the feels.

Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
The Bernards
Jackee Bernard (middle), 34, lives in a vibrant, three-bedroom apartment in Woodside, Queens, with her 12-year-old daughter Aniyah (left); her mother, Marie Jose (right), 57; as well as her husband, father, and two other young children.
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
Many of the family's shared beauty rituals stem from Jackee's late grandmother, a licensed aesthetician born in Haiti, who told her girls to save their skin by not wearing makeup. She swore by natural remedies like honey masks, apple cider vinegar to wash the face and detangle hair, and lemon to lighten dark patches of skin.
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
Marie has had locs for seven years, but she plans on cutting them off this Mother's Day. "It's time," she says. "I want to cut it short like Jackee, but my friends are telling me no. 'You're 57, what is wrong with you?' But I want it. I don't believe in age."
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
After the big chop, Marie is planning on using the locs to paint. "I sometimes paint with sticks and other things, but I am going to paint with my hair," she says. "I am going to use it as a brush to give different textures. I'm thinking of a landscape."
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
This is Aniyah's first time wearing braided extensions (which she recently had done professionally for a family vacation). Usually, she wears her hair natural in a high poof or bun on top of her head. She straightens it for special occasions, like weddings or school dances.

"90% of the time, I have a bun or I put my hair in four or six cornrows, sleep with them, and take them out in the morning," she says. "My friends and I learned how to braid watching YouTube videos and trying it out on each other."
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
But in an age before YouTube, grandmother Marie practiced braiding with her older sister. She later used these skills on her daughter Jackee. "I braided my daughter’s hair all throughout her life, even throughout high school," says grandmother Marie. "I would braid cornrows for her or whatever."
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
Despite wearing braids growing up, Jackee says she didn't fully master the skill until she was a mother herself. "I learned how to braid with Aniyah, because I had no sister. So, when I had her, I had to figure it out," says Jackee. "Once I figured it out, I was awesome, but there was a lot of trial and error. Sunday nights are for braiding in our house...they last all week."
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
And Aniyah helps her mom with her hair, too, whether that means dyeing it (Jackee changes up the color every couple months) or shaving the sides for her.

"I tell my daughters all the time, know you're fly," says Jackee. "Just know that you are fly as you are, and how you're comfortable. So, this is mommy's fly. Mommy's fly is the buzzed sides and the pinned-up look, that is my fly."
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
Though she is always switching up the color, Jackee has had this cut for about two years. She originally got it because her other daughter Xerani, 7, (shown here) wanted it, but her dad didn't think it was appropriate for a young girl. Jackee has a hunch that this is influenced the fact that he doesn't prefer short hair in general — but that didn't stop her.

“Xerani wanted a mohawk, but her dad told her absolutely not,” explains Jackee. “So, there was this big discussion in my house. I don't think he loved short hair, but I thought it was important for her to know that you can do whatever you want with your hair, it doesn't change your beauty. You are beautiful as you are."

She continued, "What you do with your hair is just an expression. It's like a shirt, you take it off...I have had different colors in my hair, I've had different cuts. I've done the gamut."
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
Xerani is a fan of purple and loves her purple-haired dolls. "If I am going to buy a doll, the doll has to look like them; it's important. But looking like them doesn't have to mean the color of their skin, it's also their personality. Xerani is very artistic, so the toys I get her have to reflect her."
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
Another secret passed down from Marie's mother is sesame oil. All the women in their family swear by it as a moisturizer. "That's her life, she always has a bottle," Aniyah says about her grandmother, Marie. But she loves it, too. "You know how if you wash your face before bed and you put something on, it can clog your pores? This honestly doesn't, I sleep with it, it's amazing," she says.
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
Aniyah isn't allowed to wear makeup yet, but that doesn't mean she hasn't found a workaround. She loves cooking up her own lip gloss on the stove with oils and crayons. "I'm not allowed to wear makeup, so honestly, I just tinker around with lip stuff," says Aniyah, who wants to be a chef when she gets older.
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
"It was a new thing at the time, everyone was trying it at school, so I sorta jumped on the bandwagon," Aniyah says. "We tried it yesterday with a bunch of crazy colors that no one would wear on a daily basis."

Here, she shares some of her freshly baked gloss (purple, of course) with sister Xerani.
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
The Marinellis
Maria SchianodiCola, affectionally referred to as Nonna, (left) is the 87-year-old matriarch and spirit of a large Italian-American family spread throughout the boroughs of New York. She immigrated from Naples with her husband in her 20s and won't let you leave the house without kissing her goodbye. Here she is with her daughter, Theresa Marinelli, 63, and one of her granddaughters, Gina, 28, a fashion editor at Refinery29.
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
"My grandma is the biggest champion for natural beauty," says Gina. "She would never say, 'Put that lipstick on,' or, 'Straighten your hair.' She appreciates people as they are, which was really nice to have instilled in me growing up. It comes through my mother, as well."

In Nonna's words: "Natural beauty, why you gotta ruin it?"
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
“I’ve never seen much more than an eyebrow pencil and lipstick in Nonna’s makeup bag,” says Gina. “She's had the same bottle of Chanel No. 5 on her dresser for years, I don't know if she ever used it.”
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
Theresa stresses the important of a healthy lifestyle. "You really have to take care of your health. Everything you do — eat well, get enough sleep, drink enough fluid — it comes through the skin."

Like Nonna, she also favors a natural look (and natural products), but she does love a good lipstick. "I feel naked without something on my lips," Theresa says.

Gina remembers watching her mom put on makeup as a child. "I was always fascinated by it in general. She always wore a lipstick. Every time we would run an errand, she would put it on before we got out of the car. She would be like, 'Hold on. I have to put my lipstick on.'"
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
Gina may be following in her mother's footsteps. "I don't wear lipstick every day, but most days I do," she says. "I appreciate a good red lip. I feel very confident, I feel powerful. It makes me feel a bit more prepared, more alert, and awake — even if I am not."
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
When Gina was 4 and her older sister was 8, Theresa took them to Naples to meet Nonna's mother. "There are pictures of them combing their great grandmother's hair. She had very long hair that she used to wear in a bun. All the older women there grew their hair out and never cut it. They would do one long braid and a bun in the back."

Gina even remembers this moment. “I distinctively remember combing my great Nonna's hair,” she says. “It was super-long, gray hair. I was so impressed, because I was used to my Nonna and all the little short-haired old ladies in Brooklyn.”
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
Recently, Theresa has introduced essential oils to her routine. She turns to them for everything from curing headaches to healing scars, and also uses them simply for fragrance.
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
Though Gina was hesitant at first, she has come around to the power of the oils. (Nonna is still on the fence, though.) "Part of me was like, 'Really mom? Oils? We're doing this now?'" she laughs. "But it really does work. Everything she has ever given me has really helped; she has given me peppermint for headaches and stuff to relax."

"You need to relax," Nonna chimes in. "She never sleeps." Shut-eye is high on the list of beauty priorities for Nonna. "Get enough sleep, it's important!"
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
Growing up, both Gina and her sister loved to sing and dance, and both competed in beauty pageants. But they weren't allowed to do them until they turned 18. "I am not a stage mom," says Theresa. "I said to them, 'Why don't you hone your skills first. You want to be a dancer? Become a better dancer. Get your academics in order.' Which they did..."

She encouraged them to always focus on learning first. "It was something Judge Judy said: 'Beauty fades, but stupid is forever,'" says Theresa.
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
Although Gina stopped doing pageants because she realized they weren't for her, she looks back on the experience with pride. "I was proud of that moment and I was proud of what I did," she says. "It put me out of [my] element in a really big way."

As for Nonna, she was always in the audience with a "Go Gina!" sign and still has the newspaper clippings from the competitions. When asked about her granddaughter's pageant years, her voice deepens, and in her thick Italian accent she says, "Beautiful, it's beautiful."
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
The Mirra/Dyers
Francesca Mirra, 30, (pictured right) lives with her mom Marie Dyer, 63, (center) and her grandmother Lamercie Carrie, 83, (left) in the Upper West Side apartment she grew up in. Francesca and her mother, who moved from Haiti when she was 13 years old, went to the same junior high school.

The apartment is overflowing with family photos (Marie is an amateur photographer) and the impressive artwork Francesca has painted, drawn, and collaged over the years.
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
Before Francesca was born, Marie went to beauty school to become a licensed cosmetologist. She worked part-time selling fragrances at Bloomingdale's before eventually becoming a law firm receptionist and then a real estate agent.

"I loved it, I really loved [it]," she says of beauty school. "First, you get to know how to do hair, then makeup, and I already loved makeup. But life throws you different directions, so you just go where the money is."

Ever since her days working the counter, she has used Elizabeth Arden everything — she may, in fact, be its most loyal customer. "It's the one I am always buying, always using," she says. "I never bother with the others." You can always find a few Elizabeth Arden lipsticks in her purse, which she layers with the skills of a makeup artist.

"I never use one lipstick," she says. "I always use two or three of them. So, people will always say, 'You have nice lipstick, what is the color?' Well, I made it up with three different ones. Today, I think I have four on."
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
This torn-out Chanel ad has been in Marie's makeup bag since her days as a receptionist. "I had to have nice makeup, so it was my inspiration," she explains. "I copied her [look] every day."
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
Though she is a graphic designer now, Francesca followed in her mother's footsteps and worked as a makeup artist while she was in college. "Francesca takes after me," says Marie. "She always says, 'Thank you mommy, for teaching me everything...'"

Marie used to do elaborate makeup on her daughter for Halloween, and Francesca took note. "One day [when she was 16] it was a Halloween party. I walked in and I saw everybody's faces and they were beautiful," says Marie. "'And I'm like, what's happening? I said, 'Who did your face?' They all said it was Francesca!"
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
Francesca gets it from her mama, sure, but she also credits her skills to her artistic background and the years she spent working at Ricky's beauty store from the age of 16 to 21 (when it was still a mom-and-pop shop).

"I went to Ricky's to get makeup for Halloween and I was like, 'Oh my god, this place is so cool, I want to work here,'" she says. "So, I called them every day. I just kept calling. 'Do you need anybody? Do you need anybody?' Finally, they were like, 'Okay, just come to the store.'"

It wasn't long before people started noticing her talent and she began booking freelance gigs as a makeup artist. "I started doing makeup at Ricky's and customers would ask for my number, and I would go to their homes for parties to do makeup."
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
"Being an only child, I remember spending hours in the bathroom playing with makeup, doing my hair, and painting my nails," says Francesca. "My mom always wanted me to paint her nails, too. I love doing it. I also gave my grandmother facials."
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
Both mother and daughter were the go-to beauty girls in their circle of friends. "I always like trying to do everything myself," says Francesca. "I would go to the salon and see how they [did] it, then I would try to copy them and learn it myself. So, I would practice on my mom and grandma and my friends — they would always come here."

Marie adds: "I used to do people's hair. I go to their house [to] do shampoo and [a] relaxer."
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
Though she no longer works as a makeup artist, Francesca still has plenty of beauty tricks up her sleeve. She swears by her Stila liquid liner in black, the Urban Decay Naked2 palette, and Ben Nye Lumiere Luxe Powder in golden apricot.

"I sometimes use eyeshadow as blush because it has a little sparkle. I also use eyeshadow as eyeliner. If you want color inside your eye, it's better to use eye shadow than buying a colored pencil. The pencil doesn't show up; if you want green or blue, eyeshadow is better."
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
Before moving to New York in her 30s, Lamercie was a Carnival beauty queen in Haiti; she road on floats in the parade. "It was very fun," she says with a smile. Here, she holds a picture of herself at 18 years old.
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
When it comes to her makeup routine, Lamercie is much more pared-down from her daughter and granddaughter. "Only powder," Lamercie says. And she uses Pond's Cold Cream for her skin.

"What I've learned from my grandmother about beauty is really just keep it simple and natural," says Francesca. "To this day, she hardly wears makeup and her skin is amazing. She's so beautiful, I want to age gracefully, just like her."
Photographed by: Katherine Wolkoff.
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