The Best Beauty Lessons We’ve Ever Learned

What our mothers, sisters, mentors and friends have taught us about beauty.

Listen up! The best beauty advice you’ll ever receive is likely to come from someone close to you. That’s certainly been the case for Emily MacCulloch and Ingrie Williams, two friends and former beauty editors who’ve teamed up to create The T-Zone, a platform dedicated to feel-good beauty tips for all.

“The best advice Ingrie’s given me is don’t make things complicated,” says MacCulloch. “I tend to overthink everything, in beauty and in life, whether it’s what lipstick shade to wear with a new colourful eyeliner or planning our next big project together. She’s always there to remind me that simple is usually best.” And Williams’s top takeaway from MacCulloch, a trained makeup artist, can be summed up in two words: more blush. “I trust her eye completely,” says Williams. “When I’m doing a final check after putting my face on I hear her guidance ringing in my ears and double down on a healthy flush. The extra boost works wonders.”

To tap into more universal truths, we collaborated with The T-Zone to gather the best beauty advice shared among stylish families and friends.

best beauty advice | Donna Doran Best Beauty AdvicePhotography: Kayla Rocca | Makeup and Hair: Jasmine Merinsky and Taylor Savage

Donna & Doran

Beauty advice flows both ways for this mother-daughter duo.

“Before, I used to tell her what to do, but we’ve sort of switched positions, which is really cool, and she keeps me current. Doran has introduced me to brow maintenance. Now, in the mornings, I brush them and apply brow gel to keep the hairs in place. I’ve always told her, ‘Don’t over pluck your eyebrows!’ I have a picture from the ’70s where mine were as thin as a pencil line. I painfully plucked them once, and I swore I would never do that again. I thank Brooke Shields every day.” – Donna Ramsbottom, 61, model

“My mom would always sing to us, ‘You can do anything that you want to, you can do anything because you are you.’ And that embodies her essence. Anything that she’s wanted to do, like becoming a model on her 60th birthday…she’s done. Not many people could go out and do that.” – Doran Reed, 25, kindergarten teacher

best beauty advice | Lisa Bunmi Best Beauty AdvicePhotography: Kayla Rocca | Makeup and Hair: Jasmine Merinsky and Taylor Savage

Lisa & Bunmi

As former co-workers turned best friends, these two are bonded by wanderlust and a love of all things French.

“We’ve had a lot of beauty discoveries together when travelling. The latest is to book a spa appointment when you land overseas—it’s the perfect solution for what to do before checking in. We went to the Le Bristol Paris for facials—the most expensive hotel that had availability—and it was like we just discovered oxygen for the first time. You get a cozy robe and slippers, and we both napped during our treatments. We just felt clean and relaxed afterwards and didn’t have to walk around with our luggage all day. Arriving in Paris and having that fresh, beautiful start was genius.” – Lisa Hannam, 48, editor

“In every aspect Lisa encourages me to go for it. She took me to Officine Universelle Buly, the most beautiful parfumerie in Paris. It’s filled with gorgeous scents and balms, as well as objects like combs and body brushes that can be personalized with calligraphy. At first I was hesitant to buy something, but she convinced me. Her reasoning was that this is special. You can’t get this just anywhere, and to have that whole experience of smelling all the scents and talking with the shop people is a really great memory. I appreciate her willingness to splurge on things that are meaningful to her, whether it’s a hair product or a face cream, because it gives me permission to take care of myself.” – Bunmi Adeoye, 40ish, publicist

best beauty advice | Mia Luisa Best Beauty AdvicePhotography: Kayla Rocca | Makeup and Hair: Jasmine Merinsky and Taylor Savage

Mia & Luisa

Thirteen years ago, as lonely teens who were new to Canada from the Philippines, these close-knit sisters bonded over watching YouTube beauty tutorials.

“Because of Mia’s influence, and her generosity with letting me use her tub, I will now take a bubble bath at every opportunity I get. When I’m in there, my hand isn’t automatically reaching for my phone, like when I’m watching TV. I use essential oils that smell wonderful, turn off the lights and use candles for moody lighting. It’s so peaceful. I can sometimes even hear the bath bubbles popping. It’s a great way to relax and switch off my brain for a bit.” – Luisa David, 29, consumer researcher

“Luisa has always been very intentional when it comes to her skincare routine and makeup, and that’s what I’ve taken from her. It’s the philosophy that your skin is worth taking care of, and it’s worth it to invest in certain products—not just with money, but also with time. She’ll put the effort into researching methods, like heatless curlers to wear to bed, and she’s the first to splurge on something. She introduced me to Dior Nail Glow, a sheer polish with a pinky hue that makes nails look healthy. It’s so good but not a product I ever would have thought to spend money on.” – Mia David, 30, content marketing manager

Hilary Best Beauty AdvicePhotography: Kayla Rocca | Makeup and Hair: Jasmine Merinsky and Taylor Savage

Hilary

A fixture in Canada’s fashion scene who is known for bold colours and luxe textiles, this detail-oriented powerhouse has an all-encompassing approach to beauty.

“Don’t neglect the neck! That’s the best advice about skincare my mother told me, and she’s aged so gracefully. Most people only focus on their face but you have to remember your neck, too, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed this to be true. Those that know me know that I’m completely obsessed with my skin and I’m always on the hunt for new tips and products. When I discovered a sculpting wand years ago it became part of my routine instantly and I’ve been using it ever since. A friend’s mom actually said my neck looks really youthful. That’s the weirdest compliment I’ve ever received, so clearly it must be doing something!” – Hilary MacMillan, 35, fashion designer

Colin Jordan Best Beauty AdvicePhotography: Kayla Rocca | Makeup and Hair: Jasmine Merinsky and Taylor Savage

Colin & Jordan

Embodying the ultimate creative collaboration, this mentor-mentee twosome lean on each other to redefine beauty norms and make art that fuses their boundless creativity with optimism.

“Jordan has passed on makeup artist techniques and unconventional products. She has really helped me develop Rosacea’s look to make it different from other queens in [Toronto] by encouraging me to not be formulaic and to be open to alternative ways of doing drag makeup. I’ve learned to map out shapes on my eyes with pencil and how to sheer out a cream highlighter, using it all over my face which has been powdered to filth along with a dash of glitter. I’m obsessed with the final look.” – Colin Gaudet, 31, photographer and drag artist Rosacea Cheeks

“Colin and I share an openness to creative experimentation that extends to everything we work on, including Rosacea. We bounce our most interesting and unusual beauty ideas off of one another, from neon pigment pressed onto eyelids to a red lollipop used as an unexpected stain on the tongue. We also set aside studio days to photograph concepts without an intended outcome. These are days solely focused on play. The results are the work I’m most proud of, much of which hasn’t been shared yet with anyone other than ourselves. It’s the most pure example of creation for the sake of exploration.” – Jordan King, 40, makeup artist and performer

best beauty advice | Tania Olivia Ella Best Beauty AdvicePhotography: Kayla Rocca | Makeup and Hair: Jasmine Merinsky and Taylor Savage

Tania, Olivia & Ella

Leading by example, this mother of two knows that a beauty statement like rocking a red lip can be equally as powerful as embracing a bare face. But the strongest message she’s passing onto her daughters is that true beauty shines from within.

“There are certain beauty essentials I’ve picked up from my mom, like her love of rose water for toning and cleansing at night with a hot flannel, but she didn’t really wear much makeup. Instead, she instilled in me the value of self-care and being comfortable in my own skin. With my girls, the focus on external beauty is just starting—I’ve allowed them to wear makeup for special occasions, like a dance recital—but I try to emphasize a similar idea of self-love. As they get exposed to social media platforms like TikTok, I actually think it helps them see that beauty is not one-size-fits-all. It’s not a certain look or ideal anymore, like magazines prescribed when I was growing up. I always make a point of celebrating their uniqueness as beauty.” –Tania Kwong, 41, associate director, public relations, with daughters Olivia, 11, and Ella, 9

Next: The Best Skin Care Routine for Your Age, According to Dermatologists

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Originally Published in Best Health Canada