that received wisdom in so many other areas of life, in beauty we seem happy to absorb it; it becomes a mark of intimacy and trust, a way of facing the world together, united in ritual. For me, that crystallized in my mother’s advice on how to apply mascara. She taught me to turn the mascara wand in my hand as I apply the black goop and then, when I reach the tips, to keep twirling it around and upwards to curl as I go. Even now, though I own a pair of eyelash curlers, I never use them. Somehow it feels like cheating on my mother.
Sylvie Chantecaille, meanwhile, was taught by her mama each morning to, “dip cotton pads in my leftover tea and apply to my eyes to de-puff my lower lids; I still do it.” The cosmetics maestro Mary Greenwell attributes the fact that “I love to use my hands to do makeup to my mother, who always used her fingers”. Even Aerin Lauder, with all those dynastic products to play with, has followed her mother’s makeup mold: “She always wears a
The Lauder clan, from left: Ronald, Aerin, Jo Carole, Gary, Evelyn, Leonard and Estée, Palm Beach, 1972
“While we may FIGHT our mothers’ received wisdom in many areas, in BEAUTY we seem happy to ABSORB it”
brown eyeliner, black mascara and a neutral shadow, and that’s my formula, too. As a little girl, I watched her put it on every morning. She taught me the importance of a signature look.”
As for products, my mother taught me to enjoy them – partly
because she kept her favorites untouched for years. But she couldn’t feel wasteful, though she would have a lipstick in every handbag; I do that, too. Never the same lipstick, though. My mother saw no need for fancy skincare and always praised Pond’s Cold Cream; even now when I apply it, I do it as she did with great blobs of the stuff rubbed in and wiped off with a tissue. She was only truly loyal to one product: Elizabeth Arden’s Blue Grass body lotion. Sadly, it walked out on her (it was discontinued), and before it did it had changed towards her; once a chic shade of pale blue, it became standard white. She was so disappointed. But still the smell of the fragrance, even seeing its name, links me to her in a flash. It’s my mother in a bottle, it’s a form of time travel and, the lure of it, the memory of it – always in my mother’s room – lurks in the background of every beauty bottle I open. Well, there’s no-one like your mother, is there?
Edwina Ings-Chambers is beauty and health director at The Sunday Times Style
5 BEAUTY CLASSICS
THE RED LIP:
Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro in 401
THE FRAGRANCE: Elizabeth Arden
THE MAKEUP REMOVER: Chantecaille Rose Eye Makeup Remover
THE MASCARA: Estée Lauder Double Wear Zero-Smudge Lengthening Mascara
THE SKINCARE ESSENTIAL: Sisley Lyslait Cleansing Milkcredits
Photograph: Courtesy Estée Lauder