From learning how to brush hair to hydrating before makeup application, beauty pros break down the lessons they learned from their moms.
They may be the on-call beauty pros to the likes of Charlize Theron and Lupita Nyong’o, but for these Hollywood hairstylists, makeup artists and manicurists, the beauty lessons began with mom — from learning how to brush hair (says Sarah Silverman's hairstylist Sunnie Brooks) to hydrating before makeup application (a tip from Tessa Thompson's makeup artist Kirin Bhatty).
These pros' mamas also love their products. While a majority slathered on a lot of Oil of Olay, many have added lipsticks from Tom Ford and NARS to their vanity staples. Plus, they have ingenious ideas for last-minute mother's day gift giving (prestige subscription box curated by Rashida Jones's makeup artist, Jamie Greenberg, anyone?).
Clients: Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart, Jessica Biel
What beauty products do you associate with your mother? “My mother was always into beauty and expressing herself. One of the products I remember my mother using was [Yves Saint Laurent] Opium perfume. It was her absolute favorite perfume. And she was all about her face creams; She would always use Olay face cream.”
Gift idea: Does your Mom's hair need a little TLC? Abergel, creative director of Virtue Labs, put together a three-piece kit to nourish damaged, stressed tresses with a shampoo, conditioner and styling aid; Virtue Labs Adir Abergel’s Repair and Style Collection, $92, at virtuelabs.com
Clients: Lupita Nyong’o, Gugu Mbatha Raw
Who are your mom’s beauty icons? "She loves old movies and classic stars, who were elegant and not flashy like Ingrid Bergman, Julie Andrews and Grace Kelly. Those were her beauty and style icons."
What products do you remember her using when you were young? "Mascara in electric blue. I think it was YSL. This was the '80s. I grew up in Thailand, so lots of her makeup was from duty free when you traveled internationally or asked friends to buy for you. She had lots of fun makeup and it showed me that bold colors don’t have to be garish if it’s done with the right touch and balance. I recreated this for Lupita at the Golden Globes this year with a Lancome mascara."
What’s one of her key products now? "Lancome Artliner in chocolate brown. It’s this delicate liquid liner that’s not too dark, but defines her eyes. She says that, as she’s gotten older, pitch black liquid liner is too jarring and severe so she prefers dark brown."
Clients: Yara Shahidi, Janelle Monae
What was mom’s essential product when you were young and what’s her essential product now? "Olay face cream. It’s one of my favorite scents to this day as it reminds me of her. And SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is one product my mom and all my aunts covet. Everyone in my family swears by it. I’m definitely the favorite daughter because I keep her well stocked."
What has she taught you and what have you taught her? "Wear sunscreen! She’s very prone to sunspots so I’m now very diligent with my sunscreen use. And I introduced her to Cle de Peau concealer and showed her how to color correct sunspots so that they’re properly concealed and don’t look grey. It’s been her favorite concealer for over a decade now."
Clients: Serena Williams, Yara Shahidi, Thandie Newton
What were some memories you have of your mother and her beauty products? "She has always been super big on Oil of Olay. Even now, I can find it on her vanity. But now it’s called Olay. And Iman makeup as well. I remember when she heard a rumor that Iman Cosmetics would be discontinued in Goldsmith’s (now Macy’s). She drove around to every single Goldsmith’s in the city and purchased all their stock in her color. Then, she went to all the mall kiosks and did the same. I was stunned!"
Gift idea: Nai’vasha taught her mother to "always use quality makeup brushes." Up mom’s cosmetic game with Chantecaille’s Ultimate Brush set that includes foundation, concealer, cheek, eye defining and eye lining brushes together in a roll-up case; $185, at chantecaille.com.
Clients: Rashida Jones, Kaley Cuoco
What's the best beauty lesson you've learned from your mom? "Get beautiful for yourself. She loved to do her hair and makeup but it was really for her. She showed me how a little effort can make you feel better."
What products do you always remember her using when you were young? "Ralph Lauren Lauren perfume. This was her signature scent when I was little. She also always used hot curlers for her hair."
And what were a few of her faves as she got older? "She loved IS Clinical skincare and also M.A.C Lipglass. She was a product junkie. She’d always tear out the 'Best of Beauty' from Allure and shop for everything that won. I remember she’d bring the list to our favorite store called The Cosmetic Counter."
Gift idea: Greenberg has a monthly subscription service with a bag of beauty loot full of her picks of fabulous skincare and makeup that any mama is sure to appreciate; $70/month at jamiemakeup.com.
Clients: Kristen Bell, Kyra Sedgwick
What are your mom’s favorite products: Then and now? "Jergens body lotion. I couldn’t tell you which one but I could pick the smell up from anywhere. It smelled so amazing. And recently my mom has been really into fun lip colors, mainly from NARS. I love that she is having fun with makeup and experimenting with brights and deep reds."
Clients: Danai Gurira, Janet Jackson
What product do you remember your mom using when you were young? "Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. I remember sitting and talking to her when I was young and she would slather it on. And it’s still a staple on her vanity to this day."
What’s one of her newer staples? "Tom Ford lipstick in Casablanca. She likes that it’s a pinky nude and looks natural on her lips with a touch of pop."
Have you taught her anything, beauty-wise? "I taught my mom to match her natural skin tone because it’s beautiful. As a Thai woman, she always does her makeup on the lighter side due to the old misconception that the hard laborer works outside, therefore, their skin tone is darker."
Clients: Jennifer Connelly, Marion Cotillard
What were some of your mom’s beauty tenets? "Less is more. Better to have a clean, fresh-faced look than a heavy makeup look. My mom loved getting her nails done, however, she only did a French manicure. Colored nail polish never felt right to her."
What products remind you of her? "Oil of Olay, as it was called back then. The small pink bottle sat on her nightstand. I would ‘borrow’ some whenever I felt like I needed a pick-me-up. Incidentally, I use Olay 7-in-1 Moisturizer every day. And my mom was an Estee Lauder devotee. White Linen was her favorite fragrance."
Clients: Sarah Silverman, the Imagine Dragons members
Do you have a favorite beauty-related memory with your mother? "I remember sitting with her in front of the mirror looking like a ragamuffin with wild hair. She sat down with me and taught me how to properly brush the tangles out of my hair by starting at the bottom, gently brushing and working up the hair, section by section."
What’s a product you remember her using when you were a child? “My mom was very much a no-makeup, minimal hair-care person. She was really confident in having healthy skin and hair. But she sure did love her perms and giving us them at home! To recover from the dry damage, she would spray Biolage leave-in conditioner in my hair to keep my curls soft and make it easy to pick out my curls. Every time I use their leave-in, it reminds me of her."
Anything else you remember her using? "Although my mother was minimal and natural in her beauty routine, she would keep pretty little bottles of perfume on her counter. I used to admire how beautiful and fancy they were. Whenever I smell Chanel No. 5, it reminds me of her hugging me."
Clients: Catherine Zeta Jones, Zoe Saldana, America Ferrera
What’s one of your earliest beauty memories of your mom? "From as early as I can remember, I watched my mom slather on thick Nivea cream on her face and neck. There were those little blue iconic jars everywhere. I could tell by her example the importance of moisturizing. I saw her reapply the thick, heavy cream many times a day. She didn’t wear a ton of makeup—she mostly lined her eyes—but her skin was always glowy and hydrated. She told me that I wouldn’t need to wear a lot of makeup as I got older if I had hydrated, beautiful skin."
Does she have a favorite product nowadays? "She still lines her eyes with a black Maybelline liner."
Clients: Maria Sharapova, Sadie Stanley
What product do you remember your mom using when you were young? "When I was a kid, she used to swear by a face cream that she would buy in bulk from Japan. The label was in Japanese so I have no idea what it was called or if it still even exists. She does still look really young!"
Does she have any current beauty must-haves? "My mom struggles with her fine, flat hair. I introduced her to Virtue Labs Full Shampoo and Conditioner and she’s hooked. Can’t live without it now."
Clients: Awkwafina, Tessa Thompson
What’s one beauty lesson your mother taught you? “One thing my mother would always do before getting ready was drink an entire glass of water. She always told me that it makes the makeup go on better and you end up looking more fresh. Hydration is everything. Mama knows best!”
What’s her number one beauty must have? “She always used kajal and still does to this day. When I was young she used the powder version called Surma, which is very inky black and can stain clothing, the carpet, etc., so she would literally step outside and apply it with a brass applicator called a Surmadani. I loved watching her do that. Now she uses kajal in stick form, which looks like a small black cone. It definitely inspired my love for a rich, black smoky kohl liner early on.
Aside from her kajal, is there something else she loves? “She loves Oil of Olay and Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair anti-aging cream. With access to almost every brand because of me, those are her two creams she swears by and will not change up her routine.”
Clients: Erin Andrews, Boots Riley, Gillian Flynn
What’s one product you remember your mom using when you were younger? "Stila liquid highlighter. I always thought it was nail polish because of the packaging. I even tried to paint my nails with it and wondered what went wrong."
And what are some current faves? “She douses herself in coconut oil and is always stealing my Cle de Peau anti-aging skincare products. They make the best eye and face creams.”
Gift idea: Katz taught her mother "to use cream contour and blush instead of powder," calling Tom Ford her top choice. "It’s way more youthful to have a dewier finish." Give mom that youthful look with Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Cheeks; $85, at tomford.com.