My First Beauty Memory

My mother’s first beauty memory was one of observation. She remembers watching my grandfather’s sister, Auntie Ruby, as she sat at her dresser getting ready.

She would always have a huge flacon of 4711, and she would dab it behind her ears and on her neck. Being a six-year-old, sitting there and watching her was so different and fascinating. Everything she had was beautiful. That’s how I remember her,” she told me.

Today my sister sent me a text.

Can you send Dominique some lilac hand soaps? She loves the name and the smell. She is a mini you!”

Wow, how that took me back!

My niece Dominique is four years old (here’s a picture of her and little sister Isabella!) and right now Dominque loves the word, the color, and the scent of lilacs. Her earliest beauty memories are of me and my mom and her mom, I’m positive. We’re the most makeup obsessed of the family. She loves the rituals of beauty, and wants the products from such an early age.

All of this got me reminiscing about my first beauty memories. My mom always had a dresser cluttered with things I wanted to touch. But the clearest memory of my first beauty product came from going to a fashion and beauty event with my mother. The event was a product showcase and fashion extravaganza, hosted by a family friend, who owned a fancy perfume and makeup shop in the mall that my mother was always shopping in. At this event we had to answer a trivia question to win a prize. And according to my mother, this was the question.

What is the color of Elizabeth Arden’s famous door?

I answered “red”. And won!

I was seven years old!

I remember having to go on stage in front of everyone, and pick up my prize — a big bottle of Fendi bath gel. They don’t even make this product anymore — it came in a bottle that looked kinda like this.

fendi-sample-fendi-vial-sample-women612790

After that, I established myself as a beauty rookie not to be underestimated! And oddly enough, the next Christmas our family friend asked my parents if I could be so kind as to help out at his store during the busy season. And my parents said YES. That’s how I wound up working in the mall, selling perfume and lipsticks and fancy bath and body sets to women at the tender age of eight.

Reminiscing about all of this is so strange, but explains so much about me today – I’ve been on this product obsessed, beauty loving path for a long, long time!

What are your first beauty memories?

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Comments

  1. I adore this post! I have always, always been a product girly-girl, and it started with my first bottle of Love’s Baby Soft. I can remember getting ready for kindergarten (sidenote: I was astonished to learn that little kids often don’t like showers, especially in the morning…I always got myself up — even before my mother — and showered, put on baby oil, then lotion. I just loved product!) and after my uniform was on, spriting myself with Love’s Baby Soft. That was the first perfume that was all my own, and I LOVED IT, and still do.

    I especially remember when my mom got me the set of all the Love’s fragrances: Baby Soft, Soft Rain, Soft Musk & Soft Jasmine. I was in HEAVEN. Every since then, I’ve been a perfume collector and overall product junkie.

  2. Wow.. this is taking me back but I remember being fascinated with my mom, aunts and cousins who wore lipstick.. and I got plenty of licks for touching their lipstick.. My mother bought me a lip balm that smelled so good and it “stained” my lips.. Man I loved that thing!!! and it started my fascination with lips.. LOL I am a lipstick/gloss/stain junkie

  3. My first beauty memory was watching my beautiful mother put on her makeup and perfume before going out with my father on their date nights. I loved watching her get all done up with her beautiful red lipstick and her sweet perfumes – she loves Dior Poison. I would just sit in the bedroom or the bathroom with her and watch her get ready. It really instilled a sense of excitement about being a woman and the process of beautifying oneself. That’s probably why I LOVE beauty products and spend so much time writing about them. I also ADORE getting ready to go out – its so much fun putting on makeup and transforming myself! Love it! Great post!

  4. My mother had (and actually still has) the most amazing stash of perfume and jewelry. When I was a little girl, I remember peeping her scents on a delicate mirrored tray in her bedroom, all golden and glittery like a miniature city skyline. Mom was also a huge proponent of blush, so its no wonder I can barely go to the mailbox without it. To this day her voice rings in my ears — “Moisturize your neck! You don’t want a young face and an old neck.”

  5. My first beauty memory is my grandma she always smelled like ivory soap, oil of olay and chanel perfume. Very weird combo but I loved how it smelled on her… then so I would stay out of her perfume she made my parents get me loves baby soft. Loved it!

  6. Victoria says:

    What a fabulous idea for a post! I remember my mom always using Merle Norman products – her skin still looks great today so I gotta say that they worked well.

  7. My first memory is my after bath lotioning by mom. I also remember using Love’s Baby Soft, Exclamation, and Bonne Bell’s Dr. Pepper lip gloss. My mom always fussed at me to apply lotion on my neck in an upward motion so that I wouldn’t get wrinkles. I still do that to this day. She always had a small village of perfumes on her vanity, in the bathroom and on her dresser.

  8. universoul*truth says:

    U are making my eyes mist….I do not have my mother in my life right now, but I think of her often. Her beauty is my fondest (and earliest) beauty memory. I can see her seated at her 1-of-a-kind makeup table holding court with her endless supply of makeup. Out of neccessity, she created the longest makeup table known to man. It was as long as her king-size bed was wide and still it was not big enough to accommodate her endless supply of lipsticks, face creams, body powders, eye shadows, rouge, nail polish, perfume, foundation, face powders, makeup brushes, false eyelashes, hand creams, body creams, and lotions. When she was seated in front of her lighted mirror, my father would take his cue and leave the room and get the mood right with Donny Hathaway or Larry Graham. I assumed my position smack dab in the middle of the bed. I would giggle as I peered over her shoulder always amazed that she knew exactly what shades looked best on her amazing Diana Ross eyes, Sheryl Lee Ralph cheeks and Jill Jones lips.
    Not only did she make her face look good, she took care of her body and had the baddest wardrobe outside of the Macy’s women’s department. But the best part of the evening came when they left and I pulled the chair closer to the mirror and pretended that I was as fly as My Momma.

  9. Dag universoul*truth…you made *my* eyes mist!

    Thanks for the post, ‘Bella! I am enjoying reading both your post and the memories others leave here as well. This is something I’ve never thought about…my first beauty memory…hm…

    I don’t know if it is the first, but my mother used to sell Avon and I remember the boxes coming to the house every blue moon and reading the catalogs. My mom bought my brother and me Muppet Babies roll-on soap to play with. Fun! Many of the women in my family use very little makeup and are not really big on perfumes. I do recall watching my sisters primp in the mornings. :)

  10. Oh yes I do love this topic. My grandmother, who I called auntie because everyone else did has to be my earliest memory. I can see her now as she would be on Sunday mornings before church, wetting the sponge to apply her face powder, applying the most sinfully red lipstick I’ve ever seen, burning the kohl for her eyebrows, fluffling her sponge roller set, dabbing the perfume behind her ears and down the front of her dress. Her final touch was always her pearl necklace which she layered and tied into a knot at the end. Just seeing the way her dresser was laid out with all those items that surely made you a woman, made me look forward to being a grown up.

  11. Thanks universoul*truth for sharing such a profound memory with us!

    Funny enough, my first beauty memory is of watching my father shave. My mom’s beauty ritual was pretty simple…she’d go to the salon, get her hair did, and come back home…so I’d never see much when I was a kid. But my dad was a do-it-himself kind of dude. He has always had a full beard, but I remember he’d carefully shape the hair line on his cheeks and under his jaw with his razor and trim the full beard with clippers. I can hear the buzz of those old clippers now! He’d smooth everything down with his boar hair brush, and then a splash of old spice to finish.

    To this day, I still like to watch a man shave!

  12. aaaawwww this made me teary eye too, I can definitely relate universoul*truth. I lost my mom in ’97 and I can remember as if it was yesterday where I would hear the click of my mom’s heels, the jingle of her keys, and her perfume long before she entered the front door. She always brought a little something for me and soon enough it would be time to watch All My Children with her.

    My mom also had a dresser that was filled to the perimeter with perfumes, tons of jewelry (especially gold) and makeup. I on the other hand had to run out the bedroom when she was getting ready, I could only take so much perfurme and hairspray LOL She was a true beauty and always looked her best. I’m not entirely girly like she was but as I get older, beautifying and taking care of myself like she did is playing a bigger role.

    Thanks for the opportunity to go down memory lane…

  13. What a great memory! And like many of your commenters, I adored Baby Soft too and then graduated to Jean Nate…I know you remember that one…right?

  14. My earliest beauty memory is from when my brother was born. My grandmother came over to watch me and she swept into my house in a red silk blouse and grey wool skirt, perched on a pair of red heels. She wore her hair close to her scalp and giant gold clip-on earrings because she was afraid of getting her ears pierced. The only makeup she wore was a bright swath of tangerine red lipstick. She looked so different from my mom, who smelled of patchouli and sandalwood and wore hippie blouses and amber rings. This moment was when I realised beauty wasn’t just one monolithic thing but my grandmother with her suits and heels was just as beautiful as mom with her beat up jeans and Earth Shoes. And now, in my thirties, I’m a mix of them. I wear bright lipstick and moisturise like my gran and for the last seventeen years have not gone a day without patchouli on my wrists. My daughter is six and she will wear a dab of patchouli….

    Thanks for bringing up lovely memories!

  15. Hmmmmm one of my first beauty memories was created in my imagination. I listened as a little girl to my mother describe the beauty of both her mother and father. Her mother was known for tying beautiful cloths together (as skirts and headwraps) and looking amazing. That was in the 50′s way before the Bohemian style existed. And she rocked it! My grandfather on the other hand was the sterotypical pretty faced bad boy. He rode motorcycles and wore leather that made women squeal lol. My mother painted these pictures for my imagination as a child. Although she couldn’t care less about fashion or beauty products she shared these details with me to make me smile as a child. It worked.

  16. My mother never wore any makeup, bless her heart, but I did have an aunt who had a dressing table filed with all kinds of goodies. I remember putting on some of her blue eyeshadow when I was about 8-she didn’t have any sponge applicators or brushes so I used my fingers, and man did I get a spanking for it.

    Then I disovered the joys of nail polish and my aunt took me to the drug store for my very first bottle of pink cutex polish. Looking back it probably wasn’t very flattering, but I loved it. Then I moved on to the huge tube of Dr. Pepper lipsmakers and that gigantic bottle of Bonne Bell’s Ten-0-Six which burned my face something fierce. When my aunt passed away, no one put up an argument when I said that I wanted her vintage hats, gloves and purses because I was always the one who spent hours playing in her stuff.

    My mom did wear perfume, so I was always snagging her Kiku, Shalimar and Opium. I am just a perfume, cosmetic and acessory junkie!

    My sister doesn’t wear make up, but her 6 year old daughter has a keen interest in cosmetics, so hopefully she’ll be playing in my makeup and she most certainly won’t be getting a spanking over it

  17. love this post!! My earliest and fondest beauty memories lie with my mother and her 2 sisters. Every weekend they would all come together at one of my aunt’s houses and give each other manicures, do their hair and swap makeup and stuff. Since then i have loved makeup and nail polish!

  18. My mom is a natural beauty who never ever wore makeup regularly. I think I’ve only seen her wear lipstick a handful of times. I’m so lucky to have had a natural beauty as a role model.

    But my earliest memory is her teaching me how to apply perfume to the 7 classic pulse points. Do they even sell “Charlie” perfume anymore? She got me a small bottle of this to practice with and it makes me so nostalgic.

  19. Ooooo! My first perfume was Love’s Baby Soft too! I remember going to our local drug store and purchasing this one that I felt was appropriate for me! My mom and aunt loved Jean Nate and Fashion Fair! My Aunt used Barbara Walden’s makeup as well–I thought that was cool–black woman’s makeup! I preferred Posner’s and its Get Down Brown and Blast Off Burgundy lip colors! Ha ha! Later on I found a body oil shop in the Gay community (Im from SF) and bought a $3 bottle of Jasmine oil! Whew, I was in love! And in downtown SanFrancisco, there was a shop called Beadazzled and I bought all kinds of beads–wood, glass, stones, wire, etc, and used them for my beaded braids back in the day! When I reached my twenties, I loved Lauren, then Opium, Poison, Giorgio, Benetton, (I stayed in Macys!) then in my thirties I started making and selling body oils and bath salts and had a little shop for a while. I totally loved it all. I even did research on perfumery, and was fascinated by it all!! Great post!!!

  20. My mother never wore any makeup, bless her heart, The only makeup she wore was a bright swath of tangerine red lipstick

  21. My earliest beauty memories involve my mom, aunt and grandma. Mom is a perfume junkie and she started my addiction early with Avon’s Sweet Honesty in various girly bottles. My tastes have grown up a bit, but still I love smelling good, whether it’s Nautica, Versace or The Body Shop.

    My aunt started my fascination with eyeshadow – she had a shadow palette that must have had 100 different colors, and she would let me play with them sometimes when she realized that I kinda knew what I was doing! She laughed when I recently showed her my pink tackle box full of pigments, glosses and powders.

    And Grandma (my best friend) was the jewelry queen – chunky necklaces, brooches and earrings galore. I spent many a happy day putting on every piece she owned, sometimes all at once! Sadly, she passed away when I was 11. Despite her having 3 daughters, 2 other granddaughters and 3 sisters, everyone knew who her jewelry was going to – me. To this day, I receive compliments on her jewelry, and it keeps her alive in my mind and heart.

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