Beauty Advice From My 81 Year Old Grandmother

Growing up, my grandmother, or as I call her, my Mammie, played a huge role in raising me as she has lived with us for as long as I can remember. Along with the endless lessons on life itself, she has given me her fair share of (both warranted and unwarranted) beauty tips and tricks. As a kid, I did not always take her advice to heart but now as an adult, I find myself mindlessly incorporating her advice into all of my daily routines. 

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! If there is one thing my Mammie instilled in me, it is the importance of keeping your skin hydrated and healthy. Her favorite and my go-to for years (until I needed something more heavy duty) is the Ponds Dry Skin Moisturizer. This was a staple for her, and you can always find multiple bottles of it in the bathroom of my house. However, the most important component of moisturizer is not the product itself, but the application. I vividly remember standing in the mirror with my Mammie telling me, “rub up unless you want wrinkles!” I would have to say this tip has proved true as she does not have many wrinkles for her age! In terms of body lotion, our favorite product is Jergens lotion. She loves the original scent, but I am more of a coconut girl myself. Either way, rubbing up stays true on all of your body, not just your face!


Another example of the magic being in the application rather than the product itself is with perfume. Mammie’s "secret" is to only apply perfume in three places: your wrist, behind your ears, and in the creases of your elbows. Though I like to do more of a “spray a big cloud and run through it” technique myself, with more expensive perfumes I take Mammie’s advice. 

As a 5’10 girl with lots of 5’2 friends, I am always slouching. Whether it be a poke in the back or a subtle roll of her own shoulders from across the room, my grandmother is constantly reminding me to stand up straight and embrace my height. “Do you want to look like me?” she would say every time I sighed or complained. Due to her own slouching in her teen years (for the same reason as myself), she has a rounded back. Without it, she would probably be about 5’8 now. I have to say I am still not great at keeping my posture perfect, but it would definitely be a lot worse without her constant reminders. 

Though she is a big fan of wearing her pj's at all times now, back in the day Mammie says she loved to dress to impress. This always rang true when I would try to leave the house to go to school in my sweatpants and a sweatshirt. I could never quite make it out the door without a “really, you’re going to school in that?” She always said that when she was young she loved wearing jeans with her dad’s button downs (she was very happy to hear that this style is making a comeback!) or the classic poodle skirts if she was going out with friends to dance. 

Finally, if there is anything my Mammie always advocates for, it's having fun and expressing yourself. She is the only 80+ year old woman I know that loves her acrylic nails with a variety of bright colors. Additionally, I just found out at my last trip to our family hair dresser that on her next birthday, she is swearing to get a mohawk and dye it pink. My hairdresser swears it was my grandmother’s idea, and she is going to hold her to it. Though she wasn’t the biggest fan of things like my nose ring and tattoo at first, once she realized that I liked them and how they made me feel, she began to like them, too. 

Pink neon love sign Photo by Shaira Dela Peña from Unsplash

These tips and so many more have stuck with me throughout my life. I hope to share them with my future family, my friends, and now all of you!