My mom is a celebrity. Kidding. She's totally not. But if you were to check out the hoard of DMs I receive pretty much the second I post a pic of and/or with her, you'd easily assume I'd posted a chummy selfie with Kim and Co. instead. From dozens of heart-eye emoji to inquiries regarding her exact lipstick shade and highlighter, I've become increasingly aware that the people love my mom. I'm biased, of course, but she is pretty fabulous, and I don't balk at the pandemonium she creates. She's A) adorable, B) better at applying eye shadow than I'll ever be, and C) easily looks 20 years younger than her actual age of 70. (Even her doctors say she physically defies the aging process.) I'm pretty positive that is where most of the fascination lies. People consistently refuse to believe she's actually 70 years old.
It's not like my mom doesn't work hard at it, though. She's devoted to taking care of herself by regularly exercising; eating a clean, mostly plant-based diet (she doesn't drink alcohol or consume a stitch of sugar); and religiously wears hats and sunscreen whenever she's out in the sun. Oh, and as far as her makeup know-how, she worked for more than 30 years in the television industry. After retiring, my mom eventually honed in on her love of makeup (and the beauty of her fellow baby boomers) by founding Boomer and Beyond Beauty, a business dedicated to educating older women on how to revamp their makeup routines to feel their best and most confident. Working as a makeup artist for 40-plus women, my mom also teaches masterclasses in Arizona (where my parents retired), and she regularly writes up blog posts and contributing articles for websites like Sixty and Me. The woman also has the best collection of makeup and skincare—and that's coming from a 25-year-old beauty editor who can barely see her apartment floor through the masses of product. She's impressive, to say the least, and every single time I go home or talk to her on the phone, I learn something new that I remarkably have never heard before or seen in a PR pitch (which I get hundreds of weekly).
If you've been a Byrdie reader for a while, you're already aware that I've featured my mom (and my dad!) multiple times on the site—posting everything from her $4 highlighter hack to her review of my very own anti-aging skincare products and virtually everything in between. However, since there's been an overwhelming demand where my mom's collection of makeup tips and beauty lessons is concerned, I decided to grill her for all of her best intel. From the ingenious way she keeps foundation and concealer on her nose (that's not just a Jahns family issue, right?) to how she makes her lips look impeccably full and pillowy (she's never even gone near Botox and filler), here lies her treasure trove of fountain-of-youth beauty lessons.
1. Put Eyelid Primer on Your Nose
My mom and I have the same nose. Funny enough, the shine of said nose is off the charts if we don't do something to help keep it matte when we're wearing makeup. That said, getting concealer and/or foundation to stay put on a shiny nose is a sport in and of itself—and a difficult one. Alas, my mom being the makeup genius she is recently told me her solve, and I've been following her advice ever since.
"If you get really shiny on your nose, avoid putting moisturizer on your nose when you're prepping your skin before applying makeup," she tells me. "Instead, put an eye primer that matches your skin tone on your nose! Since an eye primer acts as a protective barrier to keep the oil on our eyelid from creasing and smudging our eye shadow, the same principle can be applied to address the oily area of the nose pre-foundation." In fact, if you get bad midday greasies, my mom says you can actually use the trick on your entire T-zone, as it might work better at keeping oil at bay (and makeup in place) than your normal face primer. She loves Urban Decay's cult-classic version.
2. Using a Beautyblender Is the Only Way to Apply Foundation
Like me, my mom went years applying her foundation with her fingers and maybe a flat-headed brush to buff and blend out any hard edges. While many makeup artists actually say fingers are fine since they help warm up the foundation for a meltier, more even coverage, many more prefer the skin-perfecting bounce of a Beautyblender. And yes, my mom says it's also the best technique for aging skin. Seriously, life before the Beautyblender is almost more difficult to imagine than life before iPhones. Almost.
"I avoided Beautyblenders and other similar sponge-like applicators for years simply because I thought they were a little gimmicky and would take me twice as long to apply my foundation. However, the first time I finally broke down and tried one, I was completely dumbfounded. Even with my less-than-perfect eyesight, I could absolutely see a difference. For once, my foundation actually looked like my skin but definitely better. Once you get the hang of it, it definitely doesn’t take more time than using a brush or your fingers!"
3. Use Moisturizer to Apply Blush and Highlighter
Even though there are 45 years separating us, I pretty much implement every single makeup tip and beauty lesson my mom shares with me. This one might be my favorite. I do love powder highlighters and used them for years, but my mom has really gotten me into cream formulas, and now I'm not sure if I'll ever go back.
"Since we lose pigmentation in our skin over the years, adding a soft, natural flush of blush can truly help us look more radiant and vital. I swear by cream blushes, which apply smoothly and flawlessly and simultaneously add back some moisture to the skin," my mom explains. "Many cream blushes and highlighters come in stick form, and instead of applying the stick directly to your cheeks, I like to dip one finger into a small amount of moisturizer and then rub the moisturizer onto the top of the stick so you’re picking up some of the color of the blush."
"Then, apply the blush in an upward sweep from the middle of your cheekbones (starting at the outer corner of your pupil) upward toward your cheekbone. The moisturizer will enable the blush to go on more smoothly while adding moisture and a lovely glow to your skin," my mom tells me.
Oh, and it's also worth noting my mom says you can use this technique with any kind of cream blush; it doesn't have to be stick form. When she's not using the Wet n Wild MegaGlow blush and highlight sticks, she loves the five color palettes from RCMA. Personally, I'm obsessed with Onomie's Boosting Lip + Cheek sticks and the blush-and-highlight duos from Kosås. The brand's shade Helios is all I've been wearing!
4. Matte Lipstick Topped With Gloss Is Magic
Suffice to say my mom and I both love lipstick and feel 100% incomplete without a pop of color on our lips. That said, we both run into some common issues when it comes to the formulation and daily wear and tear. It's nearly impossible for me to find formulas that won't suck the hydration out of my lips in two seconds' time, and my mom has major issues with feathering and migrating color (as many older women with some lip lines do) and my same issue with moisture. But, of course, she has a miraculous solve.
"Honestly, the formula of lipstick you choose makes a huge difference. But here’s the conundrum: Matte lipstick doesn’t migrate into our lip lines as easily as a more luminous formula might, but matte lipsticks can also dry out our lips. Plus, since they are flat and don’t reflect light, they can make us look older and more severe.
"On the other hand, more luminous lipstick formulas bring more light to our lips, which can help us look more youthful but are more likely to make their way beyond our lipline—and not in the trendy, overdrawn way, ha! Therefore, I recommend using matte lipstick formulas to help prevent feathering but enhancing the application with a light coat of gloss (only in the middle part of your lips) over the matte to give your lips beautiful light and glow."
For an extra hit of insurance, my mom likes to line her lips with a liner (the above from Revlon is her go-to!) before mixing a couple of different lipsticks for customized color.
Last but not least, she'll add a hit of gloss in the center part of her lips, as mentioned, for a finishing touch of shine that shouldn't budge. She's especially obsessed with marrying the two lipsticks above with this pretty formula from Clinique.
5. Use White Eyeliner on Your Eyebrows
"Eyebrows are sisters, not twins, so they can look a little different," my mom says. "If you have uneven eyebrows, decide which brow you like better, then use a white pencil (I love this one from MAC) to mark both ends and put a white dot on top of brow you like. Then, lay a pencil across the top of the brow you like at the height of the white dot and mark where the top of the brow you don’t like should be. This will be a good guide as you use whatever other product you like to fill in your brows."
6. Always Prep Your Powders With Powder
Question: How many times have you tried to apply a powder bronzer or blush on top of your liquid or cream foundation only to have a splotchy, streaky, all-around uneven finish on your hands? As a beauty editor, I probably should have known better, but this is something I struggled with for years. Until my mom stepped in, that is.
"I usually recommend this especially in regard to eye shadow application (always add some powder over a cream primer if you're planning to use powder eye shadow), but honestly, it applies to anywhere you're layering different formulas and product consistencies on your face. So here's my rule: Whenever you have used creams or liquids on your face, before you put on a powder product, you must prepare the skin with a translucent powder barrier first so the following powder product will glide on smoothly with no streaks or splotches. Most often this occurs with eye shadow and when applying powder blush or bronzer."
7. Try Navy Mascara for Whiter Eyes
"I know a lot of people like to recommend brown or black/brown mascara formulas, but I find black or navy blue mascaras are almost always best. And go for volumizing ones! If you have super-fair hair and skin, then use black-brown, which is softer and more natural. Otherwise, use navy blue mascara or eyeliner, as it works as a trick to reflect the light back into the eyes and makes the whites of our eyes look brighter. As we get older, the whites of our eyes get duller. Plus, navy is really sophisticated and just a fun alternative to black!"