Heeding mother’s beauty advice

Published 4:26 pm Wednesday, May 15, 2019

By Peggy Walker, R.D.

My mother and I are longtime readers of Southern Living magazine.  She subscribed from its very beginning and kept her favorite issues for years. We donated a stack to her local library when we moved her into assisted living.

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She reads them voraciously and shares them now with her resident friends. Today the magazine includes an article about Southern beauty icons, written by daughters and granddaughters describing their mother’s or grandmother’s best beauty secrets and advice. So, in honor of Mother’s Day, I’ve written one.

My mother has sparkly blue eyes, a dimple on each cheek, a sweet smile, and skin that glows.  Though now her dark hair is silver streaked, she’s still a beauty. My sister and I have enjoyed going through her photos while getting her situated in her tiny apartment. The pictures of her as Holly High Homecoming were magical, with her crown on she looked like Glinda, the beautiful Good Witch of the East except with dark hair.

Momma’s beauty routine wasn’t complicated, but finding the products was. Her mother also had sparkling blue eyes, pretty skin, and salt-and-pepper hair. In the late forties or early fifties, I don’t know the reason, but a dermatologist recommended that she use Marcel skin care products. So, she did, faithfully as did my mother from then on. They loved to shop the wonderful department stores on Main Street in Memphis and they always included a stop at the Rexall drugstore for their Marcel products.

Eventually the stores on Main street closed and finding Marcel products became almost impossible. Every time, everywhere we went on vacation…to the beach, the Smokey Mountains or out west…. she checked all the Rexall stores along the way.

Holdout. Seems it got down to one remaining Rexall store, and it was in Henderson, Tenn., (a mere 30 minutes from where I now live) and home to Freed Hardeman University where I went as a freshman. My dorm was within walking distance of the drug store. And before I would go home to Holly Springs, I’d make a run to the store for Marcel products.

But, eventually I graduated and moved down to Starkville; the Rexall store closed its doors and the Marcel brand of hypoallergenic facial products went out of business. My grandmother and Momma may have been the last two customers.

Soon Momma found the Clinique counter in Goldsmiths in Hickory Ridge Mall. Having a face cleanser for sensitive skin was very important because her  No. 1 skin care rule was to wash your face every night. I know that daughters don’t always mind their mothers, but I don’t think I’ve ever failed her on this one.  And the second part of this rule was to never touch your face with dirty hands. Your hands pick up germs, she would warn, and you sure don’t want them on your face. Yes ma’am, you’re right.

Rule  No. 2:  Moisturize, day and night…. face, neck, throat, arms, legs, hands…. Momma’s face creams and lotions have to be fragrance and color free.  But even though I can to this day remember the “fragrance” of my mother’s face when she’d tell me good night.  And as a teen, I remember her with a large bottle of Vaseline Intensive Care lotion, for her arms and legs, as she waited up for me on Saturday nights while watching Soul Train. Funny.

Rule No. 3 was about technique. When moisturizing the skin under your eyes only use your fourth finger to gently apply the cream, she advised.  Tugging and rubbing that area could damage that fragile skin and make wrinkles. Right again.

Rule  No. 4.  Always keep a jar of Ponds face cream in reserve to use when out of the good stuff. Refer to Rule No. 2. I have one.

My mother didn’t approve of pierced ears, but as I said, daughters don’t always mind their mommas. I came home with pierced ears after only a month at Mississippi State. She admonished me to take care of my ears and sent me back with a bottle of rubbing alcohol and Rule No. 5.  Never go out in public without your earrings in.  The holes are unattractive. Yes ma’am. Never.

Thank you to my dear, pretty mother who now has the Clinique Counter on speed dial.

Happy Mother’s Day ladies! Stay beautiful.

Recipe of the Week

Ham & Cheese Quiche

Make, cook, cool, slice, wrap, freeze, and take to your momma!

1 cup diced ham

2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

¼ cup finely chopped green onion

2 eggs

½ cup mayonnaise, Duke’s preferred

½ cup evaporated milk

9-inch deep dish pie crust, uncooked

Toss ham, cheese, and onion all together and spread evenly in pie shell. Whisk eggs, mayonnaise, and milk until smooth. Pour egg mixture over ham mixture, gently shake pie pan to even out the liquid ingredients.  Bake in 350-degree preheated oven for 45 minutes or until set.  Cool on rack for at least 30 minutes.  Makes 8 wedges.