Like any good mom, my mom was my first and best teacher in life. She’s taught me long division and the importance of kindness, humility, and charity. She taught me how to appreciate black and white movies and Gregory Peck. She’s taught me “Don’ts” like, “Don’t ever wear Chanel Allure to church again, that is not an appropriate fragrance” and “Don’t even think about putting on flip flops for dinner, they are not shoes.” But one thing she never taught me? How to apply makeup, something I’ve learned largely through DIY trial and error, Michelle Phan Youtube videos, and surreptitiously observing makeup artists work their craft backstage. My mom is a skincare, but not makeup kind of woman. She’ll happily do cranial collagen-boosting face massages or will splurge on the latest anti-aging face cream made out of Icelandic algae kelp and rainbows, but I’ve never seen her apply even a tinted moisturizer. That’s why it was such a surprise when she emailed me the other day, asking for advice about the best eyeliner brands.
I gave her a few suggestions for premium and drugstore brands and waited to hear back. The next day, she wrote, “I tried the brands you suggested, but I think there’s something wrong. It moves to the bottom every time I blink. It looks like I have a black eye. :(” I realized it was time for a bit of role reversal, and teach my mom something for a change, starting with an Eyeliner 101 seminar.
First, the right products. For beginners like my mom, pencils are best because they’re the easiest to wield and control. Don’t choose a pencil that is too creamy because an overly creamy pencil can make mistakes like a wobbly line more obvious. My favorite is this L’Oreal Double Extender pencil in Black Sapphire, a two-sided pencil with white and navy blue/black that isn’t too hard or too soft. Navy blue is a underrated eyeliner color for brown eyes. Black eyeliner is wonderful of course, but too much of it can look too harsh and actually close the eye and make it look smaller (think Avril Lavigne.) There’s a richness and depth to a navy that adds softness and opens up the eye line in a smoky and subtler way. The white side of the pencil is also great to extend and brighten the whites of the eyes, when softly blended.
One my mom has mastered the pencil eyeliner, I’ll point her to Laura Gellar’s InkWell Waterproof Gel Eyeliner Duo, for a way to add more drama to her look. This is another version of the very popular Bobbi Brown Longwear eyeliner (which is great), but I like that Laura Gellar’s version includes an itty bitty eyeliner brush in its tiny InkWell top. The gel eyeliner itself is a dewy, soft kohl that goes on super seamlessly and smoothly. It adds a little more oomph and definition, with the brush giving you the capability to draw a polished line, with a slight upwards flick, to give you a kitten eye.
What are beauty things your mom has taught you? What have you taught your mom?