How My 73-Year-Old Mom and I Would Spend $250 at 4 Buzzy Beauty Retailers

My amazing mother (in case you didn't know) is kind of a beauty baller. Not only does she look at least 10 years younger than her *actual* age of 73, but she's also a bit of a product fanatic. Which makes sense considering she's a makeup artist based in Tucson who caters to women over 50. In other words, she's the makeup and skincare whisperer for those with mature skin and any other age-related issues or beauty conundrums. She has a Facebook page and YouTube channel I definitely recommend you check out (and share with all the other leading ladies in your life—from mom to grandma), and despite our almost-50-year age difference, I find myself going to her for product recommendations and skin advice. I mean, her skin is dewier and smoother than mine is! I'd be irritated if I didn't love her so much.

I'm still waiting for her amazing genes to kick in (acne, go away, please!), but in the meantime, I love to sporadically feature my mom and all her amazing intel here on Who What Wear. From her favorite anti-aging serums to her reviews on buzzy, inexpensive brands like The Ordinary and Versed, she's consistently offering great tips. So here's the next installment: I decided to conduct a little experiment to see how our beauty shopping hauls would compare. Given our age difference and range of tastes in products, brands, and formulations, I gifted us each with $250 (theoretically) to spend separately at Net-a-Porter, Violet Grey, Dermstore, and Sephora (aka, my top four beauty retailers right now). Curious to see how our respective "hauls" compared? Keep scrolling! And maybe grab your credit card? 

Elise Marquam-Jahns, 73 Years Old

Violet Grey

Although I haven’t tried this product, it’s definitely on my “lust” list. The reviews I’ve read of this product highlight the beautiful texture it yields and how lovely and “skin-like” the formulation is. I can’t wait to give this product a try.

I've loved just about every product from Tatcha I've tried. This formulation feels luxurious on the skin and has so many oh-so-good-for-your-skin natural ingredients. Can't say enough good things about it.

I love the fact that this can be a beautiful product to apply before makeup as well as after. How mists spray on these types of products can really make a difference, and this one provides a lovely, soft, small-particle mist, which is a treat to look forward to at the end of a makeup application. I also like spraying it on a very slightly dampened makeup sponge and gently “pushing” it in the skin.


(FYI—Tatcha's The Silk Peony Melting Eye Cream, $60, doesn’t seem to be among the Tatcha products Violet Grey carries, but I hope the retailer will have it soon. The feel of this cream in the eye area is unlike anything else I’ve ever tried, and unlike many eye creams I’ve tried, I really noticed a difference in how my eye area looked. Not included in price total.)


The research behind the benefits of using this combination of C and E is pretty indisputable. But the proof is always in the pudding, and this product has definitely made a difference in my skincare routine.

Any dermatologist or plastic surgeon will confirm that retinol is a “must-have” product to help prevent fine lines. There’s no question about the importance of this product for mature skin. It's a game changer!

TOTAL SPENT: $254 (Whoops, I’m $4 over—but what’s a woman to do when she needs the
benefits of these skincare products?)


Because most of us who are over 50 have some discoloration on our eyelids, this is an absolute must for me. It not only keeps my eye shadow from creasing or smudging (how have my eyelids gotten oiler and my skin has gotten drier?), but I use it even if I don’t wear eye shadow since it brightens my eye area and makes my eyes look larger.

For neutral, everyday, quick, out-the-door, versatile eye shadow looks, this great palette really fits the bill.

I have very sensitive eyes and simply can’t wear many mascaras. This is my long-time go-to favorite. It creates beautiful volume and is pretty foolproof.

Great coverage, easy to apply with a doe-foot applicator, love the creamy consistency. Comes in a wide arrange of shades as well. Need I say more?

I only use powder sparingly in my T-zone, and this is a must-have. It’s finely milled and never looks cakey on my skin. It’s perfect lightweight coverage. I often also use it as my base over eye primer before applying eye shadow. It helps the eye shadow glide on effortlessly.

Erin actually turned me onto this foundation. It provides just the right amount of radiance for my mature skin. It feels beautifully lightweight yet has solid medium coverage. And there is a boatload of shades available.

I almost always use cream blush and highlighter (and recommend it for my clients who are 45 and older). This brand not only has skin-loving (and no harmful) ingredients, but it also glides on seamlessly. I also love the fact that each color duo comes in a more intense version of the color as well as a softer version. It’s wonderful to have this choice. Powder blush and highlighter can look splotchy on more mature skin, but creams always provide a lovely, soft glow that blends in beautifully. And a little highlighter in strategic spots looks beautiful.

An eyelash curler can be a game changer for those of us who are over 50. This one by Tarte has handles that are easier to grip and comes with a small version of its wonderful mascara. Who can resist a “twofer” that makes such an impact on your beauty routine?



Okay, can I just splurge a little with The Rich Cream from Augustinus Bader? This product was developed by an amazing German scientist, and Erin (bless her) always gifts me with it since she knows I love it and swear by its magical skin-perfecting benefits. 

That said, this magical cream IS a splurge, so if I wanted to get more bang from my buck, I'd purchase the below six items instead.

I have to admit I’ve not yet tried this product, but (forgive the pun), I’ve heard absolutely glowing reviews of how well this works on mature skin. Normally I wouldn’t go with powders, but this formulation seems to be a one-of-a-kind product that creates a soft, glowing look.

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m slightly obsessed with Charlotte Tilbury products. I love the fact that so many of her products truly meet the needs of over-50 women as well as younger women.

This product, in particular, is so versatile. It can be used as a primer, mixed with foundation, spot-applied on strategic areas of the face, or mixed with a moisturizer. Gotta love the amazing array of options with this product. And as you may have already noticed from my other choices, I’m all about the “soft glow” options for mature skin. This is one of my all-time favorites.

Erin insisted I try this product awhile back, and it kind of changed my life. It's by the best brow product I've ever used and works great for those who find their brows to be getting more and more sparse. This tinted brow gel is quick and easy to use, and most importantly, it has a wonderful tiny brush that lets you be very precise in where the product is applied. I’ve tried other products like this that have a large brush, which makes precise application impossible. Some tinted brow gels don’t have much “tint,” but this one is a great combination of both tint and gel.

This wand is a great contour color (which is not always easy to find) that applies easily—though I still recommend the use of a brush as well. Contouring is a wonderful way to create more facial contrast for if you have more mature skin. As we get older, we lose facial contrast, so this is a wonderful product for those of us who are 50+!

Once again, I’m focusing on another “glow” option. Applying this product in a triangle under the eyes is a lovely way to brighten and “lift” the face, and it also looks beautiful on top of the cheekbones. 

Many of us with mature skin start to notice a few of those pesky vertical lines around our lip area. Since many lipstick formulas can migrate into these fine lines, a great matte lipstick really helps to prevent this issue. And this formula is top-notch. I like to use one of Charlotte Tilbury’s gloss products (like the Lip Luster Luxe Color-Lasting Lip Lacquer, $20) in the center of the mouth (avoiding the edge of the lips to prevent gloss migration) to lighten and brighten a matte lip color. 

TOTAL SPENT: $235 (Not Including Augustinus Bader)

Erin Jahns, 26 Years Old

Violet Grey

The day I found out Augustinus Bader was collaborating with Victoria Beckham Beauty was basically Christmas—except multiplied by about 100. My fellow beauty editor Courtney Higgs and I agree that this primer is unlike anything our face has ever experienced before. It's a guaranteed good skin day in a bottle. To save some money, I'm opting for the smaller size, which comes in at $95. 

So I have the Riki Skinny Mirror, and honestly, it's pretty much the most beloved beauty product I own right now. (If you value seriously amazing lighting—you need Riki Loves Riki in your life!) Call me high-maintenance, but now I feel like I need a more portable version. This sleek little handheld number features LED lights with three levels of dimming. (Crappy restaurant bathroom lighting, be gone!)

French icon Jeanne Damas designed these creamy vegan lipsticks herself. Do I need to explain why my life's mission is to collect every single shade?

Kim Kardashian West, Courtney, and I all concur—you haven't lived until you've bathed (and exfoliated, duh) with this seriously dreamy body scrub. The smell and velvety-smooth finish it leaves behind is so divine—like Heaven has taken form as your bathtub.



For the record, my mom and I are both obsessed with Gloss Moderne's hair products even though we have completely different color, length, and texture. It's one of the few clean haircare brands I feel effectively cleanses dirty strands, and my mom and I agree the masque is one of the best formulas of all time if you need some seriously great shine. 

FYI: If you didn't think it was possible to be obsessed with something as simple as a lip treatment, you've never tried this little tube from PCA Skin. Truly, it's the best lip balm I've ever tried. I panic without it!

Unlike my mom, I'm usually a powder-highlighter kind of gal. That said, Ilia's serum-infused formula is the one and only with the power to convert me. I can't describe how seamlessly it melts into your skin for a dewy (but not too dewy) hint of radiance. 

When anyone complains to me about bloat or digestive issues, I suggest these digestive enzyme capsules from Hum Nutrition right away. The blend optimizes protein, carbs, fiber, and fat breakdown to help with your body's nutrient absorption while also providing relief from bloating and indigestion.



Hourglass just launched this concealer, and I'm obsessed. I love how lightweight yet long-wearing it is. I have really sensitive eyes (that are prone to watering!), and this formula weathers the storm while keeping my under-eyes nice, bright, and crease-free.

Dior's iconic balm—but turned into the most epic of lip oils. This is on my wish list. 

Also on my wish list? This brand-new mascara that RiRi just launched. I've seen some before-and-afters, and the results are pretty amazing—think full, fanned, long, and thick-AF lashes. (which is what I want).

I'm such a mask girl. It's the easiest and quickest way to get a glow and prettier complexion. Since I'm a huge fan of the serum version of this jelly-textured mask, it's no surprise this AHA- and BHA-enriched mask is the next item on my must-try list. 

I can't express how excited I am that Sephora now carries these addictive chews from Goop. They do their name proud, and in addition to tasting great (like mint chocolate!), they're one of the few sleep products that truly work. They're always on top of my nightstand! Oh, and the Nerd Alert Energy Chews ($30) are also life-changing. 

Being the Tatcha fiend that my mom is, I can't wait for her to get her hands on this new lip mask from the brand. The packaging is adorable, yes, but it also makes your lips so soft and glossy. It's so great for winter and has a unique jelly consistency, which I've been loving as an alternative to balms.

I love Kitsch, and I love scrunchies. I can't get over that this chic little set is only $12. Choose from pinks or blues!

Because I can never have too many!



Okay, I'm splurging here, but (in real life) I'm nearly out of my favorite perfume, and I've been pining for a refill. Net-a-Porter with the save! (But honestly, for as long as I've worn fragrance, I've never received more compliments on my scent than when I'm wearing this best-selling formula from Killian.

I love Slip's pillowcases, sleep masks, and scrunchies so much, and I truly believe my skin and hair health alike have improved since regularly incorporating the brand into my beauty routine. This pretty ribbon-and–hair tie combo is on my radar. 


Up next: People Don't Believe My Mom Is 71—Here Are 8 Anti-Aging Serums She Uses

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