The Best Black Beauty Tips We Learned From Our Moms, Grandmas, & Aunties

Black girl magic didn't just come out of nowhere — it's been lovingly passed down from generation to generation. It's how our moms made every holiday season feel like a Disney movie scene, even when some of them barely had two pennies to rub together. It's how our grandmothers created haute couture from mere sewing scraps. It's in the cornrows that our ancestors wore to escape slavery, so that we can now wear them with pride on the red carpet.
The point is, the magic is very real, and it just so happens to trickle down to our beauty routines, too. YouTube be damned — some of our favorite tips come from our moms, grandmas, godmothers, aunties, and family friends. Ahead, five R29ers reveal the advice that keeps us feeling beautiful in our skin, and that we'll pass down to the next generation.
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"I've had a fixation on hair ever since I watched my grandmother, who was a licensed cosmetologist, give my mom and aunts the bounciest roller sets and blowouts right in her kitchen. Sadly, my grandma isn't with us anymore, but the women in my family still have a love for hair — and allll the hairstyles, too. Sometimes, I just don't have the money to fuel that passion, and when I was in college, it showed. My hair was in shambles: short, thinning, and breaking everywhere due to lack of maintenance. 'Never be cheap with your hair,' my mom advised. 'There's always a way to make it work.' After that, I started getting biweekly treatments at the Aveda Institute. My appointments were within my budget, and after a while, the health of my hair started turning around. Yet another instance where my mom was right. She usually is." — Khalea Underwood, Beauty Writer
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"I didn’t get into makeup until I was a high school junior, but I’d watch like an apprentice when my Nana and mother would sit at their vanities and true glamour would unfurl. My mother’s niche was eyeshadow, and she'd create color galaxies around her brown eyes. My grandmother's preference was lipstick — browns, coppers, and reds of all kinds.

"And for both of them, it's all about the eyebrows. My Nana and mother won't even go to the corner store without penciling them in, or wearing sunglasses to hide them if they didn't. Nana is a strong 82, and her makeup routine still starts with her eyebrows. As for my mother, she showed me how to pencil in my eyebrows when I was in the 5th grade and shaved my left eyebrow off out of curiosity. That same lesson became my beauty foundation, and I always have my brows on — just like them." — Raven Baker, Snapchat Intern
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"Whenever I stayed with my maternal grandmother, Russell, she always made me take the weirdest baths. She would use dish detergent for bubbles and add a cap-full of olive oil, claiming I would have the softest skin ever. And then when the bath was over (and before I could towel off), she would drench me in olive oil. She wasn't lying, though. I would have the softest skin ever, and that's a tip I still standby to this day." — Channing Hargrove, Fashion News Writer
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"These tips from my mom are simple, but go such a long way. Because of her, I brush my teeth with baking soda to make them whiter. I know that Vaseline is the best eye makeup remover ever. And brown eyeliner always makes my your eyes pop, as opposed to a black cat-eye. 'That way, you don't have to worry as much about looking like a raccoon,' she tells me." — Sojourner Elleby, Production Assistant
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"My Black doesn't crack because my mother and my aunts educated me at a young age to take care of my skin and embrace natural and radiant no-makeup looks. I've used the same skin-care tips from my mom since I was a teen. Like, when you use a face moisturizer, always remember to moisturize in an upward motion to prevent wrinkles. Pretty heavy advice for a 13-year-old! Also, don’t spend hundreds of dollars on a teeth whitening kit, ever. Instead, create an at-home kit using household essentials like baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, apple cider vinegar, and a toothbrush. Thanks to her, I get daily compliments on my pearly whites and my melanin is glowy, baby-soft, and youthful." — Nana Agyemang, Associate Content Strategy Editor

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