Beauty (And Life) Lessons I Learned From My Grandmother

There are some things makeup tutorials can't teach. That's where grandmas come in.
Publish date:
July 31, 2014
manicures, facials, family, colored hair, beauty lessons, grandmother

My grandma passed away about a month ago, and as I was thinking about our time spent together, I realized that she taught me a lot about beauty without even trying. She wasn’t a cosmetics addict like me, but even still, there are a few lessons that I will always remember, thanks to her.

Little Things Really Count

My grandma and I used to spend two to three days a week together, and as I’m into all things beauty, I started bringing a little kit with me to give her a facial and do her makeup.

I’d start with a light exfoliation, do a hydrating mask, and then slather on some fancy cream and massage her face. I’ll be the first to tell you that I can be a very selfish person, and I sometimes don’t think about what I can be doing for other people rather than myself. Taking time out to focus on pampering someone else for a change really made me see that it doesn’t always have to be about me.

My grandma was a worrier at times (always clucking about not wanting to be a burden), but she had such a good time getting her facials (she’d never had one before!), and I had a good time just watching her relax and enjoy herself. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the day-to-day and making sure we have everything we need, that we can overlook the people in our lives that just need someone to care for them--even just a little bit.

Never Stop Having Fun

You’re never too old to wear bright nails. As a part of our weekly get-togethers, my grandma always requested that I hook her up with a fun manicure. It didn’t have to be anything too fancy, but it did have to be fun.

We’ve done hot pink, bright teal, purple glitter, and always an accent nail (my grandma was hip y'all). I admired that she never thought twice about wearing a bold nail color. And she was always quick to show off her fresh mani to the nurses at her doctor’s office.

Don't Be Afraid To Change Up Your Look

My grandma has had long hair, short hair, dark hair, blonde hair, etc. If she wanted to do something, she did it. When her hair grew back after her first round of chemo, I jokingly told her she should let me chalk her hair pink. A few weeks later, my aunt posted a picture of grandma with light pink curls. I’d like to think my experimental side comes from her.

Family And Laughter Are Everything

Family meant so much to my grandma. Her house was like Grand Central Station for all of our family gatherings.

Holidays meant everyone getting together and going to grandma’s house. We’d all hang around, teasing, laughing, telling old stories--it was the best time! All of the “kids” (my cousins, my sister, and myself) would sneak into the kitchen to steal the black olives off the veggie tray--until my grandma came in and said, "Dammit, get out of there and save some for the rest of us." We'd all scatter and laugh.

She'd tell the same stories over and over again every year, talk about the current tennis standings (she was quite smitten with Federer), and constantly inquire about potential suitors (“nope, still single, grams”).

Sometimes I would just sit back and watch her while she watched the flurry of activity around her. You could practically see her heart swelling with love; there was a lot of beauty in those moments.

It didn’t matter if I had gotten in an argument with my sister last week, or if I was stressed about my job, or whatever that day's distraction was. All that mattered in that instant was that we were together and we were smiling.