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What My Mother Taught Me & How Mothers Shaped The Beauty Industry

What My Mother Taught Me & How Mothers Shaped The Beauty Industry

Anecdotes from players of the local beauty industry on the influence of mothers

 

 

What would the world be without mothers? A little more backwards, perhaps. It is, oftentimes, from our mothers that we learn how to tend and be tender.

 

A now controversial study performed by psychologist Harry Harlow in the 1950s to 1960s revealed the emotional consequences of maternal and social deprivation and/or privation in our early childhood years. With baby rhesus monkeys as his subjects, he set several experiments, one of which was placing the baby monkeys in complete isolation for months, which led to permanent and severe emotional damage and inability to socialize.

 

His further studies also found that the bond between mother and child was not solely based on the provision of physical needs, but the emotional. The tenderness and security that we get from maternal figures give us emotional resonance as they help us navigate the unfamiliar world that we were born into.

 

Our mothers are often our first influencers. They point us to the people we want to be—but also, unfortunately for some, who we don’t want to be.

 

More often than not, the first person we learn beauty from is our mothers. Being a human requires constant maintenance. Not everyone is cut out for the glitzy and glamorous (might we even say, expensive) world of beauty, but even the rudiments of personal upkeep must be taught.

 

It took me a while to accept that beauty was a hobby, not a necessity. But it was my mother, never the kikay character, who taught me how to brush and floss my teeth, go to the dentist twice a year, wash my hair properly (use your fingertips, not fingernails!), and put on a sanitary napkin. I suppose I would never have forayed into the realm of beauty if I didn’t know the basics of hygiene.

 

Men are unjustly often at the top of industry chains that concern the business of femininity, an example being the all-Caucasian male lineup of creative directors for Kering’s fashion houses. Despite this, I’d argue that motherhood is the thread that makes up the fabric of this culture and holds everything together.

 

Wonder talks to people from the local beauty landscape about how maternal influence has shaped their perspective and practice.

 

Firas Abboud, College Instructor and Beauty Writer

 

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Wonder: When it comes to beauty, what’s one thing your mother taught you that you’ll never forget?

Firas: My mom always reminds me to take off my makeup before going to bed. In fact, when I was a kid, I would sometimes do it for her when she got home from a long day of work.

 

W: What’s your favorite beauty product?

F: Oh, definitely lipstick! It's the one beauty product I never leave the house without. It's just so versatile—you can use it for a sheer wash of color or a bold lip, and it works as a blush and eyeshadow. And it's just so fabulous to apply.

 

W: If you could give beauty advice as an older sister/maternal figure, what would it be?

F: Hmm, to never be afraid of trying on different colors and experimenting with makeup. After all, you can always take the makeup off!

 

Raffy Mendiola, Makeup Artist

 

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Wonder: When it comes to beauty, what’s one thing your mother taught you that you’ll never forget?

Raffy: My mother always reminded me to have fun with makeup, because whether or not people will understand or appreciate it; I just have to own the face I decide to put on and enjoy myself.

 

W: What’s your favorite beauty product?

R: My favorite beauty product is the Makeup Forever Artist Color Pencil in Dimensional Dark Brown because it makes my eyes look spicy.

 

W: If you could give beauty advice as an older sister/maternal figure, what would it be?

R: Live your fantasy and put on that bold lip or that crazy eye look, because yes, people are gonna stare, so you might as well make it worth their while.

 

Belle Rodolfo, Beauty Editor and Content Creator

 

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Wonder: When it comes to beauty, what’s one thing your mother taught you that you’ll never forget?

Belle: My mom is also morena, so she never taught me to hate my skin color. Only to keep it healthy.

 

W: What’s your favorite beauty product?

B: My favorite beauty product is a good brow gel! Changes so much about your look.

 

W: If you could give beauty advice as an older sister/maternal figure, what would it be?

B: Don't take everything too seriously, and aging is normal. The more chill you are about aging, the more gracefully you can embrace it.

 

Bryanna Go, AD and PR Specialist

 

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Wonder: When it comes to beauty, what’s one thing your mother taught you that you’ll never forget?

Bryanna: Less is more! I only got into makeup quite recently, which was about a year ago. I used to rely on my mom for days when I needed to have a little makeup on. She would always say that young girls like me shouldn’t be using too much makeup, and kept things simple by just using a bit of product. To this day, I still follow her footsteps and keep this philosophy in mind—that makeup is meant to showcase and highlight your features, not cover and take over them.

 

W: What’s your favorite beauty product?

B: Any blush or lip oil/gloss! I always get budoled to buy one whenever I see something that catches my eye.

 

W: If you could give beauty advice as an older sister/maternal figure, what would it be?

B: Explore and try out new products, techniques and styles, and find what suits you best. That's the fun with beauty. It’s not always a one-size-fits-all type of thing. You can always learn and explore things that may or may not work for you. If one thing doesn’t necessarily work for you, try something else! That's what I love about beauty. It’s a constantly growing and evolving world that has a little something for everyone.

 

Whether that’s finding your own signature scent or trying a new makeup technique, beauty is really all about enjoying [the process] and learning as you go.

 

Anna*, works in the beauty industry

 

Wonder: When it comes to beauty, what’s one thing your mother taught you that you’ll never forget?

Anna: I’m a little morena, so I always went less with make-up. I used to be afraid to put colors on because [I thought that] it might not fit me. So, whenever I shopped for make-up, my mom would tell me to just pick whatever I liked instead of choosing something based on what looked bagay on [me].

 

People would say it’s always best to go natural, right? But beauty is about creativity, so I think the best way to go about beauty is to express it authentically. So my mom was right—regardless if you’re going [for a] natural look or full glam, just pick whatever you like!

 

There’s a reason why there are so many products to choose from, and it’s because they’re not one size fits all. I think that’s the reason why I work in the beauty industry, too. My mom made me enjoy the variety of products to play with.

 

W: What’s your favorite beauty product?

A: I really love glowy trends lately. I think the best recommendation would be MAC’s Studio Radiance Foundation and their Squirt Balm in Like Squirt! The foundation has superb skincare components, and it’s not the glittery type of foundation so you won’t look oily [which is perfect for me] as a Manila girl in always hot weather.

 

Squirt balm makes me feel Gen Z lang because it’s a cooling gloss with a lot of colors to choose from, plus the gloss doesn’t really wear out easily. It’s just giving the Y2K agenda. You just vibe all day talaga.

 

W: If you could give beauty advice as an older sister/maternal figure, what would it be?

A: Stop having others coach you when it comes to what colors you put in your face. If you feel like decorating yourself in green lipstick or blue shadow, go [for it] if you feel like it’s your mood for the day. I think that’s my mindset, too, especially since I work in the beauty industry as well—makeup is just an everyday outlet for self-expression.

 

I think, generally, we should always look at beauty as something that brings out the real you, not cover the real you. [Use] it as a form of communicating your mood or vibe for the season. Like what my mom would say: Just pick whatever you like! I think my greatest takeaway from that line is that makeup should always cater to self-expression at the end of the day.

 

If you look closely enough, you’ll realize that the softness of motherhood has made its way to our philosophies and rituals of beauty and care. We thank our mothers for their nurturing. In the process, we’ve learned how to nurture ourselves, too.

 

 

Words Gwyneth King

Art Macky Arquilla

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