My mom is no stranger to the Who What Wear scene. Of course, she's a member of my family, so it's a given that she has to put up with me talking about and testing beauty products 24/7, but since she has her own background and experience in beauty, trading secrets, application tips, and fave products with her is all the more fun. As I am a beauty editor, you'd think I'd be the one teaching her all of the things, but in reality, she's taught me some of my most treasured beauty secrets and has turned me on to some of my most beloved products. (Plop her in a drugstore aisle and she'll pull together an all-star ensemble of cheap makeup picks that will look expensive AF on your face.)
As someone who had years of experience in front of the camera while working at a television station before transitioning to the makeup scene by working as an artist for a major cosmetic line and beginning her own YouTube channel for women 40+, she's a font of amazing information and beauty intel (whether you're in an older age bracket or not!). So I frequently turn to her to lend a more age-inclusive angle to my stories. It's one thing for a product to be great on my 27-year-old complexion, but I hold all brands accountable for creating options that look amazing on all ages of skin.
So that's kind of what inspired this piece. Over the holidays, I spent about three full months in Arizona where my parents retired, and in that course of time, I recommended tons of different products to my mom. I'm consistently gifted more products than I can humanly try as part of my job, so to get a second opinion on new launches or just whenever my mom was in need of something new or extra special, I'd set a few things on her vanity for her to test-drive—some she loved and some she, well, didn't. Here, we're celebrating 10 skincare products that are so effective and fabulous that we both love, use, and recommend them despite the 46-year age difference in our skin. Below, I asked my mom to share some insight into why she loves each of the all-star formulas, and to round it all out, she's sharing a few makeup products she's fallen in love with since I turned her on to them as well. Keep scrolling! Ten skincare products that we love for all ages are just ahead.
Our Top Skin Picks
The Face Creams
Okay, I know this is going to sound a bit corny, but after applying this face cream, the only word that came to mind was "velvet.” My skin had never felt softer. Since I live in a dry climate, the next product on my wish list is the Anti-Aging Body Cream ($95). I feel like I need these results everywhere, not just my face! I honestly look forward to applying it. As an added bonus, this is one face cream that absorbs into the skin almost instantly.
I always approach new skincare products with a bit of skepticism. I think we’ve all had experiences where we’ve had high expectations for a product after reading the claims but then were disappointed. My first experience with this product was trying it for the first time at night. When I looked in the mirror the next morning, I almost did a double take. Not only did my skin look brighter, but this product also reduced redness and seemed to even out my skin tone. It’s an absolute winner.
I’m not quite sure how a moisturizer can feel so lovely and rich but also feel so lightweight. This moisturizer from Alo, however, does just that! Being from a clean-beauty brand, it’s packed with plant-based, nonirritating ingredients that soothe and hydrate. I especially love using this moisturizer in conjunction with the serum, which I'll get into below! It’s a match made in heaven. It's also worth mentioning that my husband, whose beauty MO only includes water and soap, loves this stuff!
One pump of this hydrating cream and your skin feels like it’s being treated to a whole lot of special pampering. I love to use it as an all-over hydrating treatment but also as a pick-me-up throughout the day—almost like a spot treatment—wherever I need a little extra dose of hydration. Keeping my skin perpetually dewy and moisturized in the desert is tricky, but this is one of the few products that really keeps hydration locked in.
The Serums & Treatments
Alright, I confess: I’ve been absolutely hooked on literally all things Tatcha ever since Erin introduced me to the brand a couple of years ago. I love exfoliating with The Rice Polish: Deep ($65), and I’m always amazed when I look in the mirror after using it. My skin always looks brighter and less ruddy due to how effectively it sloughs off buildup! Who knew that removing dead skin cells could make such a dramatic difference in appearance? I love to follow the exfoliation process by applying The Essence Plumping Skin Softener ($95), the brand-new Dewy Serum ($88), and The Dewy Skin Cream ($68) to finish. Normally, I prefer fragrance-free products, but one whiff of the scent of these products makes me feel like I’ve been transported to a luxurious spa. Erin asked me to write one or two sentences, and I’m already way over my allotted word count… but did I mention the brand's Silk Peony Melting Eye Cream ($60)?!
I just finished my first bottle of this stuff, and let me tell you, I used every last drop! I definitely saw a decrease in fine lines after using this product, but I was puzzled as to why it was working. Usually, if I even just see the word retinol, my skin starts to turn red and flake. But there was no redness or irritation! There was no flaking! Yet I was seeing a decrease in fine lines. This formula is effective yet gentle. To me, it's pure magic, and the hype and buzz are 110% warranted. There are no two ways about it—I love this product.
This serum initially feels a bit heavy and thick out of the dropper, so I was shocked when it absorbed almost instantaneously into my skin the first time I used it, and I've been hooked ever since! I’m not quite sure how they managed that, but it's truly a wonderful product, especially for the comparatively low price point. I love a clean-beauty brand that packs a punch, and this product doesn’t disappoint! It feels really soothing and fantastic on the skin, and used along with the Luminizing Face Moisturizer, it provides hydration and imparts this really lovely soft glow. It's great under makeup, too!
The Eye Products
Finding an eye cream that’s reasonably priced is hard enough. But finding one that delivers noticeable results and is reasonably priced feels akin to ending up with a winning lottery ticket. This cream feels rich without being too heavy, and it glides beautifully onto that delicate under-eye area. It definitely helps brighten and tighten everything up a bit, too!
When I first unscrewed the cap on this product, I was a bit hesitant to use it since it looked like it was a bit dense, and I didn’t think it would apply all that easily to the delicate area under my eyes. Well, I should have known better considering it's from ultra-luxe clean-beauty brand Kjaer Weis! The minute I touched this product, it literally melted onto my finger, so I could easily apply it to my under-eye area. The product description says it "glides on like silk," and that’s a perfect description. It’s an ideal base for concealer and does lend noticeable brightening perks as well! I know this is spendy for an eye product, but I think it's well worth the investment if you have the budget bandwidth!
I love everything I've ever tried from Shani's line (Erin is devoted and always brings her favorites when she comes to visit), so I expected no less than a super-special eye cream from Shani Darden. This is her newest product, and she 1000% delivered. It feels like heaven on the skin! I’m all in for any under-eye product that both brightens and firms, and this does both—noticeably.
Mom's Top Makeup Picks
We all have our favorite beauty products. For me, eye shadow palettes just make me giddy. Just ask Erin what rapture her mom goes into when gazing into an amazing palette color story. I figure it must somehow go back to my love of opening up a brand-new box of crayons as a kid. Although I realize how important blush is, especially for those of us over 45, I never seem to get overly excited about a new blush product—until now. Rare Beauty’s Stay Vulnerable Melting Cream Blush does exactly what the name says: It melts into the skin. I’ve never experienced an easier blush application. But as I was getting excited about how easy it was to apply, my logical left brain was saying, "Yeah, it’s a breeze to apply, but it’s so sheer that it will never last." Wrong. This blush is unlike any other blush product I’ve tried and is head and shoulders above the competition. Well done, Selena!
Being the practical Capricorn that I am, any product that multitasks is a winner in my book. This product is the multitasker of all multitaskers! It not only helps to de-puff the under-eye area, but it also hydrates, brightens, color corrects, and has a 35 mineral SPF. In my book, it’s a game changer, and I pretty much refuse to go a day without it at this point.
As a makeup artist with a YouTube channel, it pains me that I can’t try out and review mascaras. Up until now, because of ultra-sensitive eyes and three eye surgeries, I’ve only been able to wear Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes (or Flashes) Mascara. All other mascaras, even some I’ve tried from clean-beauty brands, cause my eyes to burn and sting. So when Erin told me that Who What Wear CEO Katherine Power was creating a brand-new clean-makeup brand called Merit that would include an amazing, nonirritating mascara, I felt a glimmer of hope. And sure enough, this mascara worked for me. This is a truly lovely, gentle-on-the-eyes lengthening mascara. And because it’s a tubing mascara, it’s also easy to remove. Thank you, Katherine.
I swear this isn't just a plug for Merit because my daughter is an editor at Who What Wear. The entire line is really just so, so good. I even dedicated an entire video to talking about my favorite products—that's how impressed I am by these formulas. This balmy highlighting stick is quick, easy, and beautiful, and it applies and melts into your complexion like a dream. This cream highlighter provides a glowing, healthy-looking sheen without sparkle. Perfect!
So many innovations in one small but effective package. It’s a combination foundation/concealer stick, a brilliant notion. It also uses a handy twist-up design, which is practical and handy to carry around for touch-ups and gorgeous in and of itself. (I'm usually a sucker for packaging!) I like to dot this on in strategic spots and sheer it out with a sponge for lightweight but effective coverage. Or you can dot it all over the face to achieve greater coverage—I know that's what Erin likes to do! It’s exciting to see beauty product innovations, especially in a new clean-beauty brand. This handy brush from the brand makes for ultra-easy blending!
Up next, The Holy-Grail Product My Mom Uses to Make Her Look 20 Years Younger
Erin has been writing a mix of beauty and wellness content for Who What Wear for over four years. Prior to that, she spent two and half years writing for Byrdie. She now calls Santa Monica home but grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and studied writing, rhetoric, and communication at University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. She studied abroad in Galway, Ireland, and spent a summer in L.A. interning with the Byrdie and Who What Wear family. After graduating from UW, she spent one year in San Francisco, where she worked as a writer for Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen before moving down to L.A. to begin her career as a beauty editor. She considers her day-to-day beauty aesthetic very low-maintenance and relies on staples like clear brow serum (from Kimiko!), Lawless's Lip Plumping Mask in Cherry Vanilla, and an eyelash curler. For special occasions or days when she's taking more meetings or has an event, she'll wear anything and everything from Charlotte Tilbury (the foundations are game-changing), some shimmer on her lids (Stila and Róen do it best), and a few coats of the best mascara-type product on earth, Surratt's Noir Lash Tint.
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