For as long as I can remember, my mom has been my ultimate beauty hero. As a 4-year-old, I'd plop a play stool in the doorway of her bathroom (a very convenient location, I'm sure) and ogle as she got ready for work every morning. I took note of the way she'd roll her hair into curlers, wiggle a mascara wand through her lashes, and slide a sleek tube of lipstick back and forth over her lips before pressing and pursing for good measure. I was never anything less than enchanted by A) her beauty and B) her vast collection of bottles, tubes, pots, and palettes. Fast-forward 21 years, and not much has changed.
The apple didn't fall far from the tree in our house, and when my mom retired after working for more than 35 years in the television industry, she immediately switched gears to focus on beauty and makeup—her other big passion. Now, she works as a makeup artist and educator for women over 40, and seeing as her 27-year-old daughter is planted in Los Angeles as a beauty editor, roughly 94% of our correspondence revolves around the beauty products and trends we're loving; which products and trends we're hating; and every kind of tip, review, and suggestion in between. (My poor father had to leave our group text. Sorry, Dad!)
Even though I work with the best makeup artists, estheticians, and hairstylists on a weekly basis as part of my job, I'd say I've learned some of the most important beauty lessons and makeup tricks from my beautiful mom over the years. At 73—I kid you not—she has better skin than I do, and she also knows her way around a $4 highlight stick (read this!). Oh, and despite the fact that my product-strewn desk and bedroom are fit for an episode of Hoarders, my mom still has more makeup and beauty products than I do. (The difference being hers are perfectly labeled, organized, and out of sight.)
Since Mother's Day is just around the riverbend, and since my mom is a low-key beauty expert with an eye for both budget and splurge-worthy beauty shopping, I asked her to curate the ultimate Mother's Day beauty shopping guide. Ahead, the 18 makeup and skincare products she either already owns and loves or the products that are marked high-priority on her wish list this May—with, of course, blurbs from Mama Jahns herself. Keep scrolling!
Her Top Makeup Picks
"This palette is a little bit of an investment, but as a makeup artist who specializes in makeup for clients 40 and older, I think it's so worth it! It has great pigmentation and blends like a dream. It's the perfect neutral palette."
"Ditto to what I said above! But this palette is better for those who prefer cooler shades on their lids."
"This new launch for spring is a better bet if you're on a tighter budget for Mother's Day but still want to give your mom something special. This palette has gorgeous spring colors in the brand's signature highly pigmented, highly blendable formula."
"Another primer option, but this one is from Bobbi Brown! This formula has tons of skin perks but also makes sure our makeup applies effortlessly and smoothly. It's luxurious and hydrating but oil-free so your mom won't have to worry about looking greasy or too dewy."
"It seems like this product is on everyone's wish list, including my own! It's designed to give a beautiful glow to the skin and can be used under makeup or mixed with foundation or just applied wherever you want some extra glow."
"Adding more light to our complexions gives our skin a youthful radiance—all good!!"
"Take your mom to a makeup counter and get her matched for this foundation from Chanel! It's such a beautiful foundation, especially for more mature skin. I love it because it's long-lasting, lightweight, and offers a beautiful, velvety matte finish that's really flattering on older skin especially. Plus, it's such a chic beauty gift with that great all-black packaging."
"So many older women, myself included, struggle with lipsticks feathering into the fine lines around our mouth. (Not a cute look!) This is an essential makeup product that's super affordable and helps remedy the issue. Just trace the pencil around your lipline!"
"Your mom wants one of these iconic lipsticks, even if she doesn't know it yet! They're luxuriously creamy, so they won't dry her lips out, and they also offer highly saturated color, which she'll love for durable, all-day or -night wear. Erin knows these are always at the top of my want list! The colors are so pretty I recommend taking stock of your mom's current collection of go-to lipstick shades and splurging on a few that are similar."
Her Top Skincare Picks
"The ultimate eye elixir! Not only does this formula help correct issues like dark circles, puffiness, lines, and wrinkles, but it also offers a dose of SPF 35 to protect us from age-accelerating environmental damage."
"If your mom has been thinking about filler, this is the ultimate skincare alternative! Not many people have heard of this brand, but its formulas are inspired by new and exciting medical techniques, and this eye correction cream in particular targets the delicate area around our eyes to help us look brighter and younger. Plus, it's not crazy expensive, which she'll appreciate when it's time to restock!"
"Erin introduced me to this product from Japanese-inspired skincare brand Tatcha, and I've been obsessed with it ever since! It's one of the gentlest, least-irritating exfoliating products I've tried, and no other product has ever left my skin so smooth or glowy after just one use. Now I'm addicted, and I think every mom deserves to own this! There are a couple of different variations of the formula you can decide on depending on her skin type. I love Deep."
"This serum is a best seller and a cult classic for a reason. It's a miracle worker! I've noticed a dramatic difference in how bright and even my skin tone and texture is since I began using this, and the inevitable brown spots I've accumulated as part of the aging process have also diminished significantly. Every mom deserves to have this serum in her skincare routine. It's the first product I recommend to all of my friends."
"I feel pretty lucky to have a beauty editor for a daughter, especially since she loves letting me experiment (and sometimes steal!) her favorite products when she's home visiting. Aware of my addiction to SkinCeuticals' cult-loved C E Ferulic, she brought this new launch from the brand back with her a couple of months ago, and I've been smitten ever since! You wear it overnight in lieu of your night cream, and it helps promote exfoliation and natural cell turnover. In other words, your mom will wake up with a bright and dewy complexion!"
"I'll be forever thankful to Erin for introducing me to this amazing skincare brand. Yes, this is a true investment piece when it comes to your skincare routine, but I'm being 100% honest when I say this serum, in particular, has made such a visible difference in my skin! I've tried a lot of anti-aging serums, but this one is top notch and has made my sag- and wrinkle-prone skin look plumper, dewier, firmer, glowier, and all around healthier. Oh, and its Anti-Aging Eye Serum ($285) is also a favorite. I know Erin practically drinks the stuff!"
"I love It Cosmetics because I think a lot of its formulas—both makeup and skincare—are compatible for older, more mature skin types. So many popular and 'trendy' brand's aren't! You can't really go wrong, but a standout product for me is this brightening eye cream. Are you sensing a theme here?"
"The do-it-all cream! Erin once told me this is the go-to cream of makeup artists, and I've seen enough beauty buzz around the internet to believe her! It's made in Switzerland, which makes it seem even more luxurious, but the super-rich mixture of oils and beeswax speaks for itself in terms of hydration and glow-boosting. Use it everywhere!"
This article was published at an earlier date and has been updated.