Makeup From Our Moms: After All These Years, Do They Really Work?

Come on, ‘fess up, we’ve all sneaked into our parents’ room before, and chances are, you’d have reached for something on your mom’s dresser. A secret spritz of Chanel N°5, perhaps? Maybe a daring dab of rouge, or sinister smear of lipstick?


Whatever it was, we’ve since left those impressionable days behind and are more than capable to form our own opinions on what constitutes a beauty staple. Or what shouldn’t be — cakey powder compacts, anyone? While mom might still fuss over the same makeup, we’ve moved on to the greener pastures of high-tech beauty, a world of beauty blenders and way better formulas.

For the sake of curiosity though, the NYLON team has decided to re-dive into our mom’s beauty drawers — with permission this time — to find out what they’re using, and whether it works. Does that decades-old cult product or brand deserve its fame, or is all that brand loyalty for naught? We’ll see.



Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Makeup

$70, available at Estée Lauder counters and Sephora

“Full disclosure: I was not completely sold when I first tried the Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation. I usually prefer a more dewy look and this formula leans more towards a soft matte finish. But after two to three more rounds of playing with the product, I liked the lightness of the foundation and when I buffed it into my face, the application was pretty seamless. Even though the coverage is light, a few drops provide you with a really sheer natural-looking finish; a tad more and most of my imperfections basically went poof.”

— Sinead Lee, Writer

M.A.C Satin Lipstick in Amorous 

$33, available at M.A.C counters

“So yes, I’m openly admitting to stealing this from my mom’s makeup stash, and I truly think it was this M.A.C lipstick that led me down that slippery slope of lipstick addiction. I’m now the type of person who constantly has at least 5 lipsticks in my bag, always. Moving on to this product though. With its classic packaging and such a wearable shade, I can see why my mom’s a M.A.C lipstick advocate — heck, any one would be! It’s been a while since I had one to my lips though, so I gave it a proper go…

Only to find that 12-year-old me probably thought more highly of this than the current me. It’s not bad, but it’s not amazing either! The creamy formula sits comfortably most of the day, but isn’t as velvety-smooth as I’d like and tugs slightly upon application. I’m glad to say that the stickiness and unaccustomed taste I used to complain about when I was younger is no longer here though!

There’s also a lingering scent I used to unimaginatively brand ‘the lipstick smell’ that’s still here — it still obvious, though it’s more powdery and toned-down now than it was before. Smelling it all over again did made me feel kinda nostalgic! Still, I don’t think I’ll be picking up this particular rosy hue that soon, since I tend towards brighter shades; I’d be more open to the iconic bold red of Ruby Woo. I’m my own person after all!”

— Amelia Tan, Deputy Editor

IT COSMETICS Your Skin But Better CC Cream SPF 50+

$62, available on Sephora

“I’ve always heard about IT Cosmetics’ Your Skin But Better CC Cream, especially from my mom who claims that it’s one of her must-have beauty items in her makeup stash. The thing is: I’ve never been a huge fan of CC Creams. For one, I’ve always felt that it doesn’t give me as much coverage as a normal foundation would. Secondly, it isn’t as long-wearing as the other foundations that I’m more familiar with.

So when I learned that this CC Cream was something my mom swore by, I got curious. I applied it and after using it once, I knew that this CC Cream was much different than the ones I’ve used before. CC Creams in general are formulated to address issues are more treatment-oriented; they help to protect and restore your skin while colour-correcting. For this, I particularly liked how it’s built in with SPF mineral sunscreen, which skips the hassle of me wearing an extra layer of sunscreen while prepping.

Another thing to note about this CC Cream is that it provides medium to full coverage — depending on the amount you use — and it goes on smoothly when applied on the skin.

However, I have to say, it does oxidise after application so I’d recommend you getting a shade lighter than your usual. The range of shades available for this CC Cream is also quite limited (they only have 6 shades!) so you may or may not be able to find the perfect shade if you’re intending to get one for yourself. On top of that, the CC Cream actually feels quite heavy on the skin and gives off a more dewy, radiant finish so it might not be the one for you if you’re one who skews towards a matte look.

The CC Cream is also said to have anti-ageing properties and I guess that’s one thing that draws a slightly mature crowd. In my experience, I realised that I couldn’t see much of a difference, but in my mom’s case, it actually reduces the appearance of her fine lines and wrinkles, which is a definite plus if you’re looking to cover any signs of ageing.

Overall, I think the CC Cream is a fairly good product if you have mature skin and if you like something that’s more full coverage. But if you’re looking for something that lasts longer on your skin, I’d recommend you use it as a primer, before layering it with a foundation. Honestly, I would still prefer using a foundation than a CC Cream because it’s much easier to deal with.”

— Shazrina Shamsudin, Writer


Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream

$52, available at Kiehl’s stores

“My mom introduced this product to me about 2 years back when my skin was having a dry spell, and it has been my go-to moisturiser since then! I have sensitive combination skin — my nose often gets irritated with constant peeling, although it is oily throughout the day. My forehead gets oily and cheeks slightly dry. It was always a feat to find skincare products that catered to my skin condition, and I had to be particularly cautious as I have acne-prone skin as well.

The Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream is widely raved, and I’ve often heard about it — for good reasons! The moisturiser is lightweight so it doesn’t feel too heavy or greasy on the skin. After just one application, my skin immediately felt and looked more hydrated! When I apply it before sleep, I’ll wake up to supple and healthy-looking skin. Whether you’re going bare or full faced for the day, this moisturiser serves as a great base to set your skin every morning!”

— Cheryl Yip, Editorial Assistant

The Body Shop Drops of Youth Bouncing Sleeping Mask

“My mom doesn’t use a smudge of makeup aside from lipstick, and since I have my own hoard of lip colours, I thought it might be more interesting to try out one of her skincare products instead. A decision made easy, since I’m well aware that she doesn’t go a night without using this on her face, even bothering to carry the admittedly not travel-friendly tub with her when we travel overseas. For some reason, she thinks this mask to be partially responsible for her youthful looks, so of course I was intrigued to put it to the test.

Through a combination of both genetics and hopefully still retaining youth, I have yet to sprout any wrinkles on my face nor show any signs of ageing skin, so I decided to tackle this trial from a more objective point of view, focusing on the moisturising and smoothing effect the mask claims to have. I realise that the ‘bouncy’ aspect from this product’s name is more due to the silicone-like texture of the mask itself, rather than its effects. As I applied it onto my skin, leaving it for a half hour or so before going to bed, I noticed at once that it leaves my face feeling rather unpleasant and sticky. My mother does not have the same issue, mainly because she does not have oily skin. Nevertheless, I applied it as a substitute for my usual moisturiser for two nights straight, too short a time frame to properly gauge its worth, but I dare say that it has succeeded in subtly smoothing my skin regardless.”

— Patrene Mathieu, Designer