My Mother’s Beauty Philosophy

By Jaclyn Gruenbaum


In my last post I mentioned that my earliest beauty memory was sitting in my mom’s bathroom watching her apply Maybelline mascara and separate her lashes with a pin – and I got to thinking about how my mom really is the reason I am so obsessed with beauty. Every time we hang out the conversation inevitably turns to what products we’re using and when we’re taking our next trip to Sephora. My mom has decades of beauty experience, so I thought who better to contribute to my next article than her? In the below interview we talk all things eyebrows, skincare, and my mom’s #1 beauty trick!

Firstly, how old were you when you started wearing makeup? Maybe around 13.

And how has getting older changed your views on beauty? I use a lot more products now than I used to – I don’t even think I used moisturizer when I was younger! I had very oily, acne-prone skin and I thought I shouldn’t use moisturizer because my skin was too oily. Of course I know better now, so I use a lot more skincare. And I go lighter on my makeup – I probably use the same number of products but with a much lighter hand now.

What is your signature makeup look? Neutral eyeshadow. Usually brown tones or sometimes plum, with gold in the inner corner. Every day I use the Hourglass Dim Light palette, and my lip color is always the same – that one from Avon you picked out for me years ago, the rosy nude one. And my eyebrows! I have to put my eyebrows on.

What are your 3 desert island beauty products? Brow powder – I would never be without my eyebrows. Second is foundation. Do I really get only one more?? It’s a toss-up between blush and lipstick, I can’t choose!!

You know what. Go with lipstick – I could use it as a blush if I had to.

What is your nighttime beauty routine like? How much time do you have? First I put my hair in a headband and use Garnier Micellar Water to take off just my eye makeup, not my face. Then I cleanse with Origins Checks & Balances and then do a second cleanse with my Clarisonic. About two times per week I mix in an exfoliator. Then I use toner – I’m using more natural products lately so it’s a Derma-E one. Then I move onto the creams; eye cream, neck cream and face cream. Am I crazy? This sounds like a lot.

I probably get my extensive skincare routine from you; I think you instilled it in me. Probably. I love my skincare now, but I didn’t really use it until I was in my 50’s, except face wash and toner. So, I would just say it’s very important to start caring for your skin as early as possible. And always use appropriate products for your skin.

What is your biggest beauty regret then? Is it not caring for your skin sooner? There was a time I wore too much makeup. I think it was normal then though; it was the 80’s! I had big hair and heavy makeup.

Tell me the best makeup trick you’ve learned. Maybe you don’t want to include this one. I’ll tell you what it is but if it’s too embarrassing I’ll come up with something else: when I put on mascara I separate my lashes with a pin. (here is where I interrupted my mom to tell her this memory is exactly how the idea for this article came into fruition – she thought this was hilarious.)

You know where I learned this? When I was 13 and starting to wear makeup, my parents’ friends had a daughter a year older than me and she taught me to use a pin so my lashes wouldn’t clump. To this day I still do it and I don’t know if anyone else in the world knows this trick. I’ve never thought much of it, but now that I’m talking about it, it sounds weird.

What about Grandma? What beauty tips did she give you growing up? I had acne-prone skin growing up and she was always very supportive. It’s not really a beauty tip, but she spent the time and money to take me to a dermatologist, so I guess just the importance of taking care of yourself.

You give yourself at-home manicures every single week – what are your must-have nail products? Sally Hansen’s Cuticle Remover Gel – the blue one; it’s amazing. A good metal cuticle pusher and nipper. People say not to cut your cuticles but I do anyway. And a base coat, nail polish, and top coat. I started using the Julep Oxygen thing as a base coat recently. Oh and cuticle oil. Wow, why do I use so many products?

I feel like most people splurge on weekly manicures, but you don’t…what would you say your biggest beauty splurge is? Hourglass Dim Light powder.

What common mistakes do people make in their beauty routines? Bad eyebrows. I’m fixated on eyebrows.

Tell us what beauty brands you’re currently obsessed with. I’m trying to use more natural skincare products so lately I’ve been using a lot of Derma-E and Origins.

What products do you believe every woman should own? A good mascara, something like foundation or concealer to even out your skin, blush and lipstick. If you have good brows then I guess you could leave it at that, but if you have bad eyebrows you need to add a brow product.

Where do you pick up most of your beauty tips? Magazines and my children.

What is your ultimate beauty secret? Honestly? Using a pin to separate my lashes.

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June 14, 2018 5:07 PM

This is so cool–your mom seems like an awesome person! I love her tips and completely agree with her on brows–that’s the one thing that can make or break a look. The pin tip is a gem 🙂

June 25, 2018 8:07 AM

Thank you so much!

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