Tried & True

There’s no shortage of expert beauty advice available to women. And while we can certainly glean wisdom from blogs, online tutorials, fashion magazines, television and the salon, the best secrets are often passed down from the people we know and trust. In search of some tried-and-true tips and tricks, we sought out real women in our community—mothers and daughters who are beautiful inside and out—to learn their best beauty shortcuts, favorite products, biggest blunders and daily routines. Because who better to teach you the basics of beauty than the one who knows best? Mom.

 Varina Buntin (mother) and Varina Willse (daughter)

left to right: Varina Wilse and Varina Buntin

What’s the best beauty advice you’ve gotten from your mom?

Varina Buntin: Don’t go to bed with your makeup on. Wash your face every night.

Varina Willse: Don’t frown—she has been saying that to me since I was a little girl. I think it’s because when I think, I furrow my brow. She could see those frown lines coming!

What beauty advice from your mom have you ignored?

VB: Not washing my face before going to bed. That still makes me feel guilty.

VW: She is big on sunscreen, and I have tried to be good about it, but I admit, I like some Vitamin D.

What’s the best health advice your mom has given you?

VB: You have to remember that this was way before we all jogged, did Pilates and hot yoga. She said, “Walk up the escalator because it’s good for your heart and muscles, but not down, as this just wears out your knees.” To this day, I always walk up an escalator, never down, and think of her when I do it. She would also park far away from where she was going and walk. In essence, she was telling me to be active, and that was something I took to heart.

VW: Mom led by example. Every day when we got home from school, she would run three miles in the field in front of our house—we lived out in the country—and then do exercises in our library. She played tennis and tried yoga when no one else was doing it. For her, it wasn’t about vanity but about vibrancy. I learned both the benefits and the joys of an active life from her. People are always telling me how beautiful she is, and they are right, though she would be so embarrassed for me to say so. She doesn’t remotely look her age. I think that’s due in part to the fact that she hasn’t tried to fight it with any “anti-aging” techniques that involve lifting or injecting—the woman doesn’t even color her hair! But also, she has an incredibly youthful spirit, and it shows.

What’s the silliest beauty fad you’ve tried?

VB: The time I tried to copy some extreme eye makeup designs in a Vogue spread. I chose one that went around my eye and down my cheek, kind of like a big teardrop outlined in black and filled in with green. I think there was some shimmer involved too. People spent the whole night coming up to tell me my makeup was running only to realize it was supposed to be a “fashion statement.” Here’s to my husband who encouraged me and still thought it was a fun idea at the end of the evening.

VW: Blue mascara back in the day. It’s just not natural.

What’s your biggest beauty splurge that’s totally worth it?

VB: Without a doubt, a perm from Earl at Trumps every four to five months. He is the only one who can take my stick-straight hair that grows right down over my forehead like a boy and make it look like the good Lord actually gave me those soft, manageable curls I always wanted.

VW: Chantecaille Future Skin oil-free gel foundation. My mom wears it, too. It is made with real rose water, which I know because there was a rose blight a few years ago, and they had to suspend production. I love this foundation. It’s so subtle but so effective.

Who are your favorite local health and beauty experts?

VB: Earl at Trumps, Diana at Woo, Sam at Nordstrom, and our son, Frazer, with his 1 percent body fat, for my life coach.

VW: Teresa at Trumps has been doing my hair since I was probably 7. I don’t trust anyone else. Melissa Langley is my dermatologist, and she is incredible. Both women have the most wonderful sense of humor, which makes getting beautified that much more fun. And I can’t forget Holly at barre3—she rocks it!

I feel my best when...

VB: I am invited to throw the football with my grandsons (ages 11, 9 and 8). You have no idea how good that makes me feel. To be invited and to be able to do it. (Of course I wouldn’t tell a soul how sore my arm is the next day.)

VW: I have been for a long run and taken a long shower.

The one thing I always tried to impart to my daughter about beauty is...

VB: Don’t forget to put on sunscreen, and remember, how you act is more important than how you look. As a biased mom, I think she does that beautifully.

VW: It really does come from within. My daughters are still young, but I don’t think that message will ever change.

Theresa Menefee (mother) and Elizabeth Brodnax (daughter)

left to right: Elizabeth Brodnax and Theresa Menefee

What’s the best beauty advice you’ve gotten from your mom?

Theresa Menefee: The best advice that I received from my mother came by way of my father, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon: Wear sunscreen, and take very good care of your skin. Always remove your makeup before bed. Never smoke—it will destroy you inside and out! Eat a healthy diet, and avoid processed sugar. Fast forward to age 23 when I started working for my father. I witnessed the ravages of sun damage, smoking and poor diet. This had a profound effect on me to this day.

Elizabeth Brodnax: Always wear sunscreen! It is important to take care of your skin from a young age.

What beauty advice from your mom have you ignored?

TM: She said to take care of my hands as much as I do my face and neck.  Since I ride horses, I tend to beat up my hands a lot, so they are harder to take care of.

EB: I typically take her advice to heart. She knows what she’s talking about!

What’s the best health advice your mom has given you?

TM: The best health advice my mother gave me was after a horrible car wreck I had at age 16. As a result, I had several facial scars that made me very self-conscious. My mother said I was beautiful and that I was to ignore that silly scar and everyone else would too. “Beauty is not about perfection but from within” was her mantra. Slowly it faded and so did my self-consciousness. It is just a part of who I am now and I have not really thought about it until writing about that period of my life.

EB: My mom introduced me to horseback riding at age 5, and I have ridden ever since. It is an incredible workout and good for the mind and soul.

What’s the silliest beauty fad you’ve tried?

TM: I am not a fad person, but do all of the ’80s count?

EB: I tried to pull off bangs during my senior year of high school. It certainly wasn’t my best look.

How has your beauty routine changed throughout the years or at different stages of your life?

TM: As I get older, I take even better care of my skin. I have Dr. Melissa Langley do skin cancer screenings for me once a year.

EB: I have learned to be more conscious of my beauty routine and skincare. I now get monthly facials and use sunscreen every single day, even in the winter.

What’s your biggest beauty splurge that’s totally worth it?

TM: La Mer and any and all treatments from the spa at Round Hill Hotel in Jamaica.

EB: An oceanside massage at the Round Hill Hotel spa in Jamaica.

Are there any new trends/treatments/products that you’re really excited about?

TM: They aren’t that new, but Pure Barre and juicing are in my immediate future.

EB: I have always loved my Pilates workouts and am excited that it has become more popular as of late. I am also looking forward to committing to a juicing regimen.

Who are youR favorite local health and beauty experts?

TM: First of all, Brady Wardlaw, the best makeup artist and friend there is. Heather at Fruition Salon does the most beautiful highlights there are; Caitlyn Wingerter gives me wonderful regular cuts there as well. I see Dr. Melissa Langley for all of my dermatological needs. She is dedicated to both the health and beauty of my skin. I visit my aesthetician, Erin Bruton, on a regular basis. I know I am in good hands because she works very closely with Dr. Langley and they stay on the same page about my skincare. For my facials, Erin customizes a treatment for my skin that incorporates dermaplaning, alpha hydroxy acids, papaya and CO2 therapy. Bob Deal and Jason Bradshaw keep my house beautiful. Gil Ben-Ami is my acupuncturist, and he has changed my life in so many positive ways in regards to acupuncture and holistic advice.

EB: Brady Wardlaw for makeup and eyebrows, Erin Bruton for the most fabulous facials, Dr. Melissa Langley for dermatology, Deidre DeFelice and Simone Starr for blowouts at the Blowout Company, Willow Pilates Studio, and Sissie Anderton, horseback riding instructor at Brownland Farm.

What are your best beauty shortcuts?

TM: Neutrogena makeup wipes are wonderful in a crunch!

EB: Dior Airflash Foundation is very quick and easy to use.

I feel my best when...

TM: I am at our farm surrounded by my dear friends, family, dogs and horses, or when I am helping my favorite organizations which include Rochelle Center, Tiffany Circle, TPAC, Belle Meade Plantation or Cedar Knob Pony Club.

EB: I’m riding my horses!

Marzette Stallings (mother), Jan Delozier (daughter) and Meg Ferguson (granddaughter)

left to right: Marzette Stallings, Jan Delozier and Meg Ferguson

What’s the best beauty advice you’ve gotten from your mom?

Marzette Stallings: Truthfully, I advised my mom. I “primped” on her, but I do remember she always urged me to go light on the pancake makeup and Revlon Bright Forecast lipstick.

Jan DeLozier: Start the day with a smile and end it with a prayer.

Meg Ferguson: My mother is the most selfless person I know, always putting others’ well-being before herself. Sarah B., Jan and I learn from her by example rather than her giving advice. She truly embodies the thought that beauty starts from within.

What are the beauty products you can’t live without?

MS: The young girls are going to snicker, but the older gals will wink knowingly when I tell you my must-haves for 50 years are the old Erace cover-up for age spots, dark circles and anything else you want to disappear (I’m finding it takes more of it than it used to; I wonder why?) and Revlon BlaseApricot lipstick.

JD: Concealer, an eyelash curler, Maybelline Great Lash Mascara, Revision Skincare tinted moisturizer with sunscreen, lipstick and lip-gloss, in that order.

MF: Aveeno shampoo for everyday hair wash, Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel for a weekly pick-me-up, Yves Saint Laurent Touche Èclat to hide tired dark circles, Johnson’s baby lotion for dry skin, Diorshow Mascara for volume without clumps, and I just got a Clarisonic for Christmas, which I am really liking.

What beauty advice from your mom have you ignored?

MS: Fifteen minutes under the sun lamp was standard procedure when getting ready for a date in the 1940s. And of course, we started working on our summer tans in April. Remember, we were not sunscreen savvy then, but I know better now.

JD: So many things...obviously!

MF: I am not great about wearing lip-gloss, which she will lovingly remind me as we are walking out the door.

What’s the best health advice your mom has given you?

MS: Start the day with a prayer and a positive attitude, and go to bed with a prayer and a sense of gratitude.

JD: Remember, you are not invincible, so take care.

MF: You have to take care of yourself in order to take care of others. This requires getting enough sleep and listening to your body when it is telling you to slow down.

What’s the silliest beauty fad you’ve tried?

MS: I was one of those caught up in the hairpiece days. Naturally, I opted for two and cringe at the old pictures.

JD: Spending hours baking in the sun, covered with baby oil and iodine mixture (with an aluminum foil reflector).

MF: Definitely the tanning bed. It is not worth it.

How has your beauty routine changed throughout the years or at different stages of your life?

MS: Aging and the loss of my hair after breast cancer, mastectomy and chemo, I have held onto the wigs I wore during recovery. My husband likes them better.

JD: Ironically, years ago, when I had more “free” time, it all required less effort.

MF: It requires more work than it used to, but I have also had to become more efficient.

What’s your biggest beauty splurge that’s totally worth it?

MS: My bi-monthly nail appointments for 30 years with Jenny in Jackson are my perker-uppers.

JD: Highlights!

MF: Yves Saint Laurent Touche Èclat. After long days and nights at school, it will cover any dark under-eye circles. I gave it to my mom and sisters for Christmas.

Who are your favorite local health and beauty experts?

MS: The late Kevin Moser of Elements was my love. He was the most patient, accommodating friend you could wish for. He brushed up on the age-old teasing technique he learned in beauty school and always let me have the comb and the final say before he sprayed. And of course, Dr. Joe DeLozier, my son-in-law, who allowed me to be his first face-lift some 30 years ago and Dr. Skip Burriss, who promised me 10 more years of health and happiness, and I said, “Go for it!”

JD: Hair stylist Brandon Tynes and everyone at Elan Skin Care. I have been raised by a family of dentists (grandfather, father and brother) who helped me appreciate the importance of maintaining a smile. Dr. Mike Tabor keeps me smiling here in Nashville. For vision, Image Optical has put the fun in bifocals for me!

MF: Everyone at Elan is very kind, knowledgeable and helps keep my skin clear and eyebrows tamed. Sarah-Jane and the team at Krank Fitness are amazing. The workouts are hard, but they are so motivating that you push through and leave feeling better than when you walked in. My family and friends are my life coaches. For the most part, we are spread across the country but texts and phone calls keep me laughing and inspired.

What are your best beauty shortcuts?

MS: A swipe of my old faithful Erace for dark circles, a brush of blush on my cheeks, and of course, a dab of lipstick.

JD: A good ponytail!

MF: If I can at least get on under-eye concealer and mascara, I can run out the door.

I feel my best when...

MS: I have done all I can do with what I have to work with and my husband of 59 years tells me, “You look pretty.”

JD: Joe and I are together with our three daughters and our new son-in-law!

MF: I have had a productive day at school, gone for a run, and enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by my husband, Luke.

Barbara Daane (mother) and Whitney Daane(daughter)

 left to right: Whitney Daane and Barbara Daane

What’s the best beauty advice you’ve gotten from your mom?

Barbara Daane: Stay out of the sun.

Whitney Daane: Laugh constantly.

What are the beauty products you can’t live without?

BD: Revlon Blase Apricot lipstick, mascara, Lancôme Imanance Tinted Moisturizer, Fresh Soy Face Cleanser from Woo, Aveda Phomollient Styling Foam and Rusk Define Pomade.

WD: I am definitely a product junkie, but at the end of the day, here’s my desert island list: Cutter’s bug spray (I get eaten alive just leaving the house!), plain white Dial soap, Cortizone-10 cream, Jo Malone lotion in Lime Basil and Mandarin, Soy Face Cleanser by Fresh, Bionic Face Cream by NeoStrata, Neocutis Lumière Riche eye cream, Dual Action Exfoliant Cream, NeoStrata Sheer Hydration SPF 35, Intellishade by Revision, Pillow Proof dry shampoo by Redken, I use Kérastase (orange line) and Redken products on my hair. I can’t live without my Touche Éclat Radiant Touch highlighter pen and Le Teint Touche Éclat foundation by YSL, Brett Freedman eyebrow pencil in blonde, Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder in Golden Light and eye shadow in Rose Gold, Giorgio Armani Maestro eye liner pen in black, YSL Faux Cils Mascara in eggplant, and some red lipstick. The above makeup application takes less than five minutes and can be done in the car at 40 mph! Ha!

What beauty advice from your mom have you ignored?

BD: Stay out of the sun!

WD: Voluntary starvation.

What’s the best health advice your mom has given you?

BD: Stay out of the sun!

WD: If you feel a cold coming on, wash your feet in hot water. And finish your morning shower by turning the hot water off and taking a quick freezing splash. It helps the immune and lymphatic system and definitely wakes you up!

What’s the silliest beauty fad you’ve tried?

BD: Four inch heels...no regrets!

WD: Magenta and yellow eye shadow to match my earrings in the late ’80s.

How has your beauty routine changed throughout the years or at different stages of your life?

BD: I use more products than I used to and take a cold shower every morning.

WD: Strangely enough, it really hasn’t. I’ve been basically doing the same thing since eighth grade just with different products. I love trying new things, but I wind up back with the most simple routine because I can be consistent in the throes of my crazy life.

What’s your biggest beauty splurge that’s totally worth it?

BD: None, unfortunately.

WD: Monthly facials at Skin MB with Mary. I also love We Care Spa in Desert Hot Springs for a detox spa retreat.

Who are youR favorite local health and beauty experts?

BD: Roger at Heads Up Salon keeps me presentable.

WD: The only person who has touched my hair since 1986 is Gordon at Gordon & Co. The first time I went to the Grammys in 1998, we added a few highlights, but he’d never spill the beans! I go to Mary Mattson at Skin MB for my facials. I started taking care of my skin a long time ago because I had horrible break-outs at an early age. Anita Cantarutti was the first aesthetician who helped me, and I credit her with the skin I have now. Sadly, my two skin gurus of the past 20 years are no longer with us, and I miss them terribly: Wafa from TIBA and Reiko Zealear. They were magical. Diana at Woo is the best makeup artist in town. Michel McDonald is my dermatologist at Vanderbilt. With my family’s history of skin cancer, she has been a life-saver, literally, and she’s so gorgeous, I know she’ll be careful not to butcher me when she’s having to take little spots off here and there.

What are your best beauty shortcuts?

BD: My entire routine is a shortcut.

WD: Redken Pillow Proof dry shampoo, giant sunglasses and red lipstick!

What’s your nightly beauty routine?

BD: Clean face thoroughly, floss (the answer to good health), brush teeth, use Olay fragrance-free Regenerist cream and call it a day (usually it’s the next day by this time).

WD: Wash my face with Fresh Soy Cleanser and moisturize with NeoStrata Bionic Cream and Neocutis Lumière Riche eye cream. I never go to bed with my makeup on no matter how late I get home. And sometimes it’s the wee hours!

I feel my best when...

BD: I am working outside in the warmth.

WD: I am skinny-dipping in the freezing cold water of Elk Lake in Northern Michigan!

Sandra Lipman (mother), Sutton Lipman Costanza (daughther) and Alexa Lipman (daughther)

left to right: Alexa Lipman, Sandra Lipman and Sutton Lipman Costanza

What’s the best beauty advice you’ve gotten from your mom?

Sandra Lipman: Always be sure to take your makeup off before going to bed at night.

Sutton Lipman Costanza: Apply lotion after the shower while your skin is still damp, especially on your neck and hands, as those can be overlooked and can age easily. Always wear a moisturizer with sunscreen on your face.

Alexa Lipman: Take care of your skin and your health. And keep your eyebrows a nice full shape because they frame your face. She also says knowledge is power, so I try to research the products I’m using.

What beauty advice from your mom have you ignored?

SL: Please slow down, and try to get eight hours of sleep at night. Everyone knows I am a proverbial night owl!

SLC: My mom loves my hair to have some golden highlights, and I’ve neglected those for some time now, much to her chagrin.

AL: She doesn’t really like to leave the house without lipstick. I wouldn’t say I’ve completely ignored that, but I sometimes just wear an all-natural chapstick like the Thistle Farms lavender lip balm.

What’s the best health advice your mom has given you?

SL: Drink lots of water, eat a well-balanced diet, remember to exercise, and be sure to enjoy a good ol’ cup of afternoon English tea.

SLC: What really comes to mind isn’t so much advice as it is her living by example. She has always taken great care of herself from drinking lots of water to regular exercise and a daily/nightly skincare regimen. Watching her through the years has had a very positive impact on helping me live a healthy lifestyle.

AL: She always says to drink tons of water, get sleep, exercise and eat healthy, which is typical advice for your overall well-being. She used to tell me that your body is a machine, so what you put into it is what you get out of it.

What’s the silliest beauty fad you’ve tried?

SL: Every time I get a spray tan, I say never again because my skin turns orange. They just don’t work on me.

SLC: Probably in high school when I dyed my hair bright red with very chunky platinum blonde highlights. I looked like a red skunk to put it mildly, but I thought it was such a cool look at the time!

AL: It’s not really a trend, but off the top of my head, I would say bleaching my hair blonde was unhealthy considering how fine and dark my hair is naturally. It made my hair very porous. It is still recovering from bleaching it over six months ago.

What’s your biggest beauty splurge that’s totally worth it?

SL: Facials with Karee Hayes and private Pilates sessions with Dede Brignardello at Willow.

SLC: Eye cream and deep tissue massage!

AL: The Clarisonic Mia 2. I use the softest brush head, but I don’t use it everyday because I don’t want to over-exfoliate my skin.

Are there any new trends/treatments/products that you’re really excited about?

SL: Omorovicza thermal cleansing balm and Blue Diamond products from Private Edition and Aerin Lauder products at Woo.

SLC: Lately, I am loving the original beautyblender makeup sponge. It is really easy to use and does a wonderful job blending makeup!

AL: Olaplex is really neat. I like that you can use it as a gloss to help reconstruct the hair follicles in addition to using it when dying and/or bleaching your hair to prevent it from damage. I also like the concept of essential oils. In addition to this, I enjoy going to this tea shop in East Nashville called High Garden Tea. You can make your own herbal tea from fresh herbs there, which I love!

Who are youR favorite local health and beauty experts?

SL: Earl and Mark at Trumps, Stephanie at Polished, dermatologist Melissa Langley, Karee Hays, Brian Biesman, physical therapist Susan Underwood, Darryl Allen Salon and Dede at Willow.

SLC: We are so fortunate to have so many great health and beauty experts in our area, and I’ve had many wonderful experiences with them. To name a few, I love everyone at Trumps, Laura Borsick with Laura B. Salon, dermatologist Dr. Melissa Langley, and I have my manicures with Stephanie Williams at Polished.

AL: Tara Brown is an excellent life coach. Karee Hays is a great aesthetician. I also like Private Edition for their services, especially their brow shaping. For hair services there are so many talented people. I love Mark and Earl from Trumps. I also am fond of Seventy at Local Honey and Laura Beth at Trim. I highly recommend Hotbox Fitness for a high-intensity workout, the Willow for Pilates and licensed massage therapist Jonda Marie Bechter for energy work, meridian balancing and holistic therapy.

What are your best beauty shortcuts?

SL: Mascara, lipstick, sunglasses, hat, out the door!

SLC: I let my hair air dry after applying product and apply a coat of mascara and lip-gloss.

AL: I take my makeup off at night with Yes to Cucumbers Facial Wipes. The YSL concealer stick is easy and quick. I use Burt’s Bees spot acne treatment with a Q-tip to apply on any bumps I may have.

I feel my best when...

SL: I’m relaxing with family and friends. In a few weeks, I’ll be a first-time grandmother, so I know nothing will be better than holding my brand-new baby grandson. I’ve been dreaming in shades of blue!

SLC: At 8 months pregnant, if I don’t get up five times a night and can manage my extreme sweet tooth, I am feeling pretty great!

AL: I’m well rested and make time for myself.

Sandra says:

The one thing I always tried to impart to my daughters about beauty is...

SL: Beauty is not just about outward looks, beauty shines from within. It is kindness, sincerity, love, laughter, friendship, honesty and a welcoming smile.

By Nancy Floyd

Photos by eric england