Hello there 🙂
I am fortunate to have many inspiring women in my life, but I always had a special relationship with my grandma Rosalie (aka Mema). As a kid, I remember her awe of her style and her apologetic glamor – IRL and pictures taken long before my time – from her perfectly blown hair to her red lips and long lashes. People always tell her that she looked like Elizabeth Taylor and they are not wrong. Mema is still the epitome of class and who I want to be, not just because she looks damn good (that's just part of it!) But because she showed me what it means to work hard . that it's never too late to start over; and putting on and putting on makeup just because never hurts.
Mema entered the fashion world and began working in the New York Garment District when she was 17. Because she had so much color and beauty, her love of style – from clothes to makeup to hair – made it really good. She was able to express herself through these things and found that the more she dressed, the more secure she felt, which helped her find a place in fashion at such a young age. She excelled in almost every area of the industry, from a manufacturer of men's and boy's clothing to a sportswear company for women, where she assisted one of the fashion designers and ran showroom sales. Eventually she met my grandpa, got married and started a family. Although she stopped working at the age of 24 when she became pregnant with my mother and had three more children, her responsibility as a mother did not let her love of fashion and personal support deter her. Fifteen years later, she used all of her previous experience and returned to the workforce to start her own accessories and jewelry business. And she didn't stop there: she worked in a legendary department store for another 20 years before retiring at the age of 75.
Mema's lifelong experience of fashion and beauty – as a young woman, employee, mother, and business owner – has given her a particularly deep insight into what it means to be beautiful. That made this story the perfect excuse to get her to tell me her best-kept beauty secrets, but now I am obliged to share it with you too. (Sorry Mema, your secrets Not Safe with me.)
If after reading this article you think it makes sense to improve your beauty game, you are absolutely right – and it is exactly Ulta Beauty is there for. Keep scrolling for Mema's tips, then treat yourself to some makeup and skin products because we all deserve extra joy this holiday season.
The secret to looking youthful is simple: no matter how tired you are, always wash your face. Period. And start when you are young. Even if you don't wear makeup, it's so important to wash away the day, but never with regular soap, which can remove the moisture from your skin. Use a facial cleanser or oil that is formulated with gentle ingredients to get the job done. Mema believes that one of the easiest ways to age yourself is by not cleaning your skin on a daily basis. (And she's not wrong.)
Remember, when Mema was growing up there wasn't a lot of product variety or stores like Ulta Beauty that made it easy to discover the latest and greatest in skin care products. She used to use simple creams for drugstores doing their job, but as she got older and exposed to more innovative products, she realized the difference they made – even prestige makeup! Can you really put a price on skin preservation?
Mema might have four kids to look after, but she said she always took the time to indulge herself at the end of each day. It used to mean taking a beauty bath, also known as soaking in the bathtub with oils, but now it means treating yourself to a face mask (especially before events, before COVID-19) to keep your skin looking and feeling great. In the end, it's the little rituals that have the greatest impact.
The 60s and 70s were meant for experimentation, but when Mema found her signature look, she stuck with a few variations of it: perfectly blown and styled dark hair, smooth and youthful skin, red lipstick, brow pencil, and mascara. It's simple and classic, and their daily look for a reason – it works. Prior to the pandemic, when her social calendar was full of events, she became more aware of her daytime look and might add an eyeliner or a darker red lip. In Mema's eyes, an event is not the time to experiment with something new, especially when it comes to images. There is a time and a place for everything.
For the 30 years I've been alive, Mema only has one signature look and one signature look. Until recently. I think all she needed was a global pandemic to change things by turning her hair white. Before the pandemic, Mema would go to her hairdresser every week for a blowout and color grading, but when the salons closed she knew it would be too much upkeep to do it on her own and it was her natural time To accept color. Although she's still on the fence about the change, it's been an exhilarating ride. If nothing else, it's a reminder that beauty should be fun and experiment, especially when it's not permanent.