A Mother’s Wisdom Endures Forever

I’m the age at which many of my friends have children of their own, some of them daughters. I love tohear stories about these little girls’ opinions on beauty, ranging from a two-year-old expressing severe disgust over her mother’s love of sweatshirts, to a four-year-old terrified of becoming the next victim of a perfectly relaxing spa mud mask, to an eight-year-old who transforms into a starry-eyed supermodel when she finds your pink rhinestone bikini top. I started to think about my mom and the stories she must have told her friends, because to raise a daughter who becomes a makeup artist could not have been easy on anyone in my family.

This is an ode to moms with daughters, particularly mine, because without our moms, how would we have even figured out the open-your-mouth-when-you-put-on-mascara trick, or where to put perfume (and how much of it is socially acceptable), or that fashion sense that immediately develops the first time you see a picture of her in what I’m sure was a very trendy and fashionable dress and hairstyle in the early eighties?


My first beauty memories involving my mom are really early, playing Barbies and princesses, and mostly of her braiding my hair (when it finally grew in).

Her commitment to my sister and I resulted in becoming a full-time mom, and her constant compliments were so great for my self-esteem that my third grade autobiography began: “My name is Jessica May Purtee. I have long pretty hair and beautiful brown eyes.” I learned what bragging and being vain meant that night, but a monster had already been created. Her support of my beauty decisions was always solid, even if it meant cutting all of my hair off and buying thick red prescription hipster glasses (before hipster glasses were cool!)…at the same time.

One of my favorite chores as a kid was to clean Mom’s bathroom. Her vanity held a world of interest for me, and I would sneak an ampoule of her Vitamin C serum by Avon and pat it in under my eyes. If I felt like I had plenty of time I would apply a tingly mud mask, and as a final step I would perfect my lipstick application skills with this beautiful burgundy color I loved. One particular inspection of this drawer as a pre-teen led to the discovery of tweezers, and that night I plucked my eyebrows for the first time. Convinced that because I was blonde, no one would notice, I walked out of my room to talk to her, and as her eyes got wide, she said, “What did you do to your eyebrows?” Well, Mom, I wanted them to look like I drew a line with a pencil on both sides. Why?

I got my first makeup as a twelfth birthday present. (Thank you for that, Mom! I know it couldn’t have been easy convincing Dad that it was time!) Some people adore that “new car smell”…well, give methe “new makeup smell” any day! I still remember the muted colors of that combination of CoverGirl,Maybelline, and Jane, and carefully applying it for the first time. I also remember a couple months later arguing with Mom at the drugstore about my “dark circles”, claiming that Wet ‘n Wild foundation stickwould be just the thing to hide them. Of course, because I was twelve with a complete lack of skinimperfections yet, she won that argument, and in hindsight, I am so glad!

Mom taught me a little bit about makeup, but most importantly, she taught me that natural beauty is the best kind, and that real beauty comes from within. She’s always been the biggest fan of my dreams, fashion choices, and a tendency toward bedazzling both. She’s taught me to follow my heart and that Icould do anything I wanted if I worked hard for it.

Happy Mother’s Day 2013, Mama! I love you so much!


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