6 Things We Need To Teach Our Moms About Beauty and Makeup

A little over a decade ago, I remember going to my mom and asking her to do my makeup. She reluctantly said yes and proceeded to put two very different eyeshadows on my eyes (with the applicator that the palette came with), added a powder that was three shades too light for my skin, and handed me a pink lipstick.

Since that fatal experience, I’m happy to say that it’s been about 10 years since I’ve been doing my mom’s makeup. LOL – but really. Truth is, I can’t blame her! It’s not her fault, or your moms or the Aunty down the street. Makeup wasn’t a thing for them growing up. They were barely allowed to wear lipstick until they were married (read: 21) and if they did wear anything else, it was dominated by a “Fair & Lovely” marketplace whose job it was to tell you how the amount of melanin in your skin is somehow directly correlated to your value as a person. Hence my Pakistani mom wearing Covergirl powder in “fair” – nah mom, we are “medium beige” all the way.

[Read Related: The Art of Healing: Finding the Beauty Within Your Journey of Mental Health]

What is it about this generation that’s different than past generations? Is it that we are surrounded by “beautiful” people of every skin tone? Is it the resentment that we spent our entire lives under an umbrella on the beach while our non-brown friends played volleyball in the sand? Is it that we are *finally* not afraid of the sun – in terms of getting dark… Wear sunscreen y’all, skin cancer is real. What makes us thrilled that Fenty Beauty by Rihanna has finally forced every other mainstream beauty brand to make more than “medium, medium beige, and medium dark” shades for our skin tone?

There are certain lessons that we can learn from our moms, i.e. makeup to enhance your features is a good thing. It’s not always about concealing what you don’t like (read: large pores and dark undereye circles) but also about enhancing what you love: your eye shape and full lips.

Our moms were the queens of the natural look and it’s so glam! But, here’s what our moms can learn from us now.


1. It’s art

Makeup, like many types of art, is fun and it’s allowed to be! It’s okay that the bright purple lip isn’t “beautiful,” it’s an expression of yourself and your mood. Our clothes are a reflection of our personalities and our makeup can be too. I’m not telling you to wil’ out with magenta eyeliner for a job interview, but don’t ever be afraid to try a new lip color if you only “wear browns” – red might look great! Have fun with it.

2. We do it for US

We DGAF about what men think of us with makeup. Exactly ZERO women will tell you that they wear makeup for guys. They may wear makeup when they want to see someone – but that can be a girlfriend, a work acquaintance or a boy. I appreciate it when people say that I’m beautiful without makeup, but this is fun for me — so get on board or get out.

[Read Related: 7 “Makeup Rules” you can Kiss Goodbye]

3. Order matters

Makeup order. Whether or not you choose to skip steps is on you, but here’s the official lineup: moisturizer, primer, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, foundation, concealer, powder, blush, bronzer, highlight, setting powder, lip liner, and lastly, lipstick. Throw in brows wherever you want.

4. Quality over kits

Multiple products aren’t a bad thing and neither is investing in good pieces. You would never cheap out on a saree (“What material is this? Yes silk? But, is it raw silk?”) so why not be picky when it comes to what’s on your face? Leave the free kit with perfume behind and invest in products that are good for your skin and suit your individual skin issues. #DeathToTheKits

5. Your tools are key

Brushes are crucial. You wouldn’t chop without the right knife or cook without the right pan, right? Your brushes are the same way! Forget about the little sponge that comes with your powder or the q-tip wand in your eyeshadow pallet, you need real brushes. They don’t have to be super expensive either. These seven from Morphe (most under $10) should get you started: Brow brush, Flat eyeshadow brushLarge eyeshadow brushCrease brushBlush Face BrushBronzer BrushPowder brush, and, of course, a Beauty Blender – worth the $20, trust.

Swap your black eyeliner for dark brown. South Asians knew before anyone else that lining your waterline is where it’s at (kajal anyone?). But, black makes harsh lines. Dark brown compliments our skin color and enhances our eyes without the extra drama.

There are literally a million things that we can learn from our moms, (no really, but how exactly do you fold a fitted sheet?), but the new-age of makeup is what our moms can learn from us.

Share this post with your mom, aunty, mother-in-law or anyone else who needs to love the skin they are in.