I inherited a lot of things from my mother (for starters: high cheekbones, bullheadedness, a taste for afternoon naps and all things fermented grape), but my love of beauty products wasn’t one of them. It’s actually more likely that my propensity towards packed bathroom cabinets and overflowing shower ledges was directly derived from my father, who has been hoarding L’Occitane Green Tea Shower Gel in case of apocalypse since before I was born. (And not in vain: they actually did discontinue it a few years back, just as he feared.) My mother, on the other hand, doesn’t wash her face, never throws anything out, and insists on using the same L’Oreal lip gloss every day, even despite my many attempts at replacing it with Yves Saint Laurent under her nose.
Even so, I’m not surprised that a new British study found, in a poll of 2,000 women, that one third of those women use the same beauty products as their mothers. According to the research, daughters begin borrowing their mother’s products at the average age of 13, and 40 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds continue to use those same products. It’s natural to go through your mom’s makeup and skincare products and then turn to the same ones yourself, because there’s a good chance you don’t know any better. But we definitely know more about beauty products than our mothers did — we’ve learned how certain ingredients can be harmful to your health, and some of the products that were touted as being totally fine for you in 1990 have been discovered to be, well, not so fine.
Just the other day my mom was telling me that she had found (the following sentence pains me to say) a 10-year-old tube of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream in her cabinet, and had proceeded to slather her body in it. She commented on the strange smell. I cringed: despite being recommended as “every makeup artist’s backstage secret!” and other claims of that ilk, it’s actually full of things that are terrible for you and your skin. Petrolatum is made from distilled fuel, lanolin is secreted from the sebaceous glands of sheep (yep, that weird smell is from sheep oil), and mineral oil is also the byproduct of distilling gasoline from crude oil. Those are just the first 3 ingredients. And she had it sitting in there for 10 years. Ew.
So does mother know best? When it comes to beauty products, not necessarily, and in my case it’s the other way around. (Or it should be, because I leave the latest in anti-aging serums on her dresser, she emerges from her bedroom thanking me for the new foot cream.) I may have gotten my start in beauty trying on her lipsticks in front of her vanity mirror, but that ended the minute I hit the drugstore makeup aisle on my own for the first time. Then the drugstore, then Sephora, and now here I am today, flat broke and rollin’ in beauty products. Yay!
Tell me: do you use the same beauty products as your mom?