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5 beauty products my Bubby taught me to love

Grandmothers always know best.

On the left: Two tubes of Estée Lauder lipstick. On the right: The author with her grandmother. Credit: Reviewed / Marissa Miller

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One of my first interactions with makeup came from watching my Bubby, my 93-year-old Jewish grandmother, painstakingly apply lipstick in front of her makeup mirror that also housed a tube of lipstick. She never goes anywhere without items to touch up her makeup, and thanks to a thick spritz of hairspray, her Shirley Temple-esque blond curls never waver in the wind. When she wears nail polish, it's always a translucent peach that's classy enough for any occasion. How can someone emit so much elegance in a tiny 4-foot-10 frame? I thought. It became my mission to follow in her lead.

I feel a deep kinship with my Bubby any time I steal a swipe of her lipstick, inherit any of her creams, or follow her general beauty cues. Here, I share the top beauty products she taught me to love.

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1. A shimmery lipstick

On the left: A tube of pink Clinique lipstick. On the right: A used pink tube of lipstick sits on a table.
Credit: Clinique / Reviewed / Marissa Miller

Bubby doesn't even know she's being trendy when she reapplies her shimmery Clinique lipstick after dinner.

With the resurgence of many '90s fashion and beauty trends, shimmery lipstick is once again celebrated. But even before the look reemerged, I’ve been stealing swipes (and entire tubes) of Clinique lipsticks in deep red, rose, and burgundy hues with a hint of metallic shimmer that brightens up any look. On my Bubby, it looks angelic and very appropriate for a competitive game of Rummy Cube with her friends. On me, it looks like all I’m missing to complete the look are flared jeans, a ruched crop top, and chunky dad sneakers.

Her color of choice? The Clinique Pop Lip Colour + Primer Lipstick in the shade "Love Pop," a shimmery pink that complements the rosiness of her cheeks and adds a sheen to the lips. The formula claims to have a moisturizing primer that makes it last longer. What’s most endearing is the old-school packaging my Bubby still has that makes her lipstick look like a relic she brought over from Poland. Because it goes on quite sheer, or rather the shimmer overpowers the color, I like to build the coverage with two or three layers or apply it over a matte lipstick for a dose of Bubby-approved glam. In my grandmother's true waste-not-want-not mentality, she goes for a single layer. She often wears the lipstick as her only source of makeup.

Get the Clinique Pop Lip Colour + Primer Lipstick from Sephora for $20

2. A pop of blush

On the left: A compact of Maybelline Powder Blush in rose. On the right: A worn in Maybelline blush compact.
Credit: Maybelline / Reviewed / Marissa Miller

Don't skip out on blush, like this one from Maybelline.

I can’t help but blush when I catch Bubby swiping on blush in her little compact mirror—it makes her look like more of a doll than she already is! Because she’s not familiar with YouTube makeup tutorials, her application strategy isn’t exactly makeup artist-approved. She adds dots around her cheeks haphazardly, but that’s part of her charm, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

While the Maybelline version she owns is discontinued, the brand now offers the "Rose" shade in its Fit Me Powder Blush line. The powder is blendable and never looks cakey even over other complexion products. Inspired by my Bubby, I've also opted for the Clinique Cheek Pop Blush in the foolproof shade "Pink Pop." A few dabs along the cheekbones with very little blending is all it takes for a natural-looking flush.

Get Maybelline Fit Me Blush from Amazon for $4.39

3. A moisturizing hand cream

On the left: A tube of Ahava Mineral Hand Cream lay on a desk. On the right: A slim tube of hand cream on a vanity.
Credit: Ahava / Reviewed / Marissa Miller

The Ahava Mineral Hand Cream wards against flakey and dry skin—no matter your age.

My Bubby doesn’t need much to be happy. As long as she has a steady supply of crossword puzzles and an Ahava Mineral Hand Cream, she’s set. I’ve been to Israel three times, and each trip, I felt compelled to bring Bubby back a host of Ahava products—but not before grabbing some for myself.

Her favorite hand cream is comprised of minerals derived from the waters of the Dead Sea, along with hydrating botanicals like sandalwood and green plum. Its formula doesn’t leave hands feeling greasy but coats them in a thick layer of cream that feels plenty protective over the skin. I recommend applying the cream before bed to let it fully absorb into the skin overnight. This cream has a clean, powdery aroma that doubles as perfume. Every time I wear it, I can’t help but think of my Bubby.

Get Ahava Dead Sea Mineral Hand Cream from Amazon for $18

4. A sophisticated perfume

On the left: A bottle of the YSL Paris perfume. On the right: A bottle of perfume sits on a table.
Credit: YSL / Reviewed / Marissa Miller

Bubby's mature scents, like Paris by YSL, help me feel like I can command a room.

Though lighter, fruitier scents are great, there’s an unparalleled level of confidence that comes from wearing a more mature fragrance, like the unmistakable scent of Paris by Yves Saint Laurent. The perfume, which Bubby whips out for special occasions, can be described as a powdery-meets-woodsy scent with notes of iris, sandalwood, and rose. Because it’s an eau de toilette spray, it'll last longer than a body mist, but not as long as an eau de parfum, making it lighter and less of a scent commitment. It's a great introduction to sophisticated fragrances without being overpowering.

In all facets of her life, my Bubby uses a light touch. When applying perfume, a single spritz on the pulse points is all she needs—no touch-ups necessary.

Get Paris By Yves Saint Laurent Eau De Toilette Spray from Amazon for $78

5. A bold lipstick

On the left: A tube of Estée Lauder lipstick. On the right: Two tubes of lipstick stand next to each other on a dresser.
Credit: Estée Lauder / Reviewed / Marissa Miller

Bold and beautiful lipsticks, like the Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick, characterize the "Bubby look."

Whenever I feel shy about sporting a bold lip, I remind myself that if my Bubby can look like a queen with it—and we look alike!—I shouldn't shy away from it. The Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick in the deep pink shade "Rebellious Rose" has long been a mainstay in her beauty arsenal with its highly pigmented, moisturizing formula and lip-plumping effect. Bubby even owns two tubes.

What I love about this Estée Lauder lipstick is how opaque it shows up on the lips. One swipe is all you need for serious pigmented and rich color. It also stays on longer than other cream-based lipsticks I’ve tried, but that might be attributed to its deeper color that wears away gradually, unlike sheer, light lipsticks.

Get the Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick from Macy's for $33

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