In our continuing discussion of modern elegance, let’s consider the elegance in beauty routines.

Be inspired by women throughout history or look to the women in your life. I learned how to apply makeup and develop a good skin care routine by my very elegant mother.

My Mother as My Beauty Inspiration

My mother always looked beautiful everyday. She started the day with what I like to call her toilette. The morning toilette was a very fashionable practice in 18th-century society. It was the act of getting prepared for the day, including hair, makeup, and clothing.

My 20th-century mother bathed every morning and then applied makeup, fixed her hair, put on perfume, and got dressed. It was her routine every day whether she was leaving the house or not. I’m sure she did this in part for my father, but she also did it for herself. She liked to put her best self forward.

One of my nieces used to call her a “fixed-hair grandmom.” My mother was known for her beauty and elegance. People used to call her the Jackie Kennedy of our neighborhood. She had a classic style, never overdone, minimal makeup, and beautiful skin. And she was very pretty. She had raven hair and bright blue eyes.

There was an incident in my youth, when she was standing in line at the bank, and an old school friend of hers recognized her and struck up a conversation. The woman asked her what skin care she used because she looked so great for her age. When my mother replied, “I always use—“ the entire bank went silent to hear the answer. LOL. For the record, she always used Mary Kay. Now you know, everyone!

And I have to say, she lived to be 88 years old, and never wrinkled. I hope I take after her.

Elegant Beauty Starts With Skin Care

Because of my mother, I am very much into skin care. I don’t use Mary Kay. I like to use a variety of brands in my routine. My favorites are Trilogy Organic Rosehip Oil as a nighttime serum. I use Alba Botanica Jasmine and Vitamin E cream during the day. I like Borghese Gel Delicato as a cleanser and makeup remover.

From time to time, I like to switch it up and try other products. But I seem to keep returning to these favorites.

When you take care of your skin, you can wear less makeup.

Elegance in Cosmetics

Although I am dedicated to a good skin care routine, I am a makeup lover. I love to collect eye shadow palettes and lipsticks. I adore powder, highlighter, and really good mascara.

When I studied Italian and French women in their beauty routines, I realized they enjoy a minimal look. They enhance their features rather than cover them up with loads of concealer and foundation. Italians love to play up their eyes, and usually leave the rest of the face minimal. Their skin shows through without too much coverage. They may wear a red lip on occasion, but they make sure to balance it with a softer eye. Or go dramatic with the eyes and a softer lip.

I stick to this formula myself. It works well.

My beauty icons are all Italian women: Sophia Loren, Monica Bellucci, Isabella Rossellini, Monica Vitti, and Claudia Cardinale.

Elegant Hair Care

I’ve always had a big head of thick Italian curly hair. It can be quite unruly if left alone. When I shampoo, I have to follow with a conditioner or else I have a hard time getting a comb through it.

Because of all of this conditioning over the years, my hair is very strong. I don’t get many split ends. I don’t use heated tools that often, so perhaps that helps.

I also take a vitamin supplement called Hair, Skin, and Nails. I don’t remember to take it every day, but I try to take it a few times a week. I definitely see a difference in my eye lashes and nails when I take it regularly.

Good skin and hair comes from within. That’s why I always say the Mediterranean diet can make you more beautiful. Proper nutrition is the most important part of any elegant beauty routine. I try to eat well for good health but also for beauty.

Elegant Choices

I would never presume to tell you what type of makeup or hair style to wear. These are very personal choices. But I encourage you to make choices. Be specific in your skin care and beauty routines. Make choices appropriate for your skin type and style preferences.

There is no law that says you have to wear makeup, but a good skin care routine is essential. Also, be mindful about the types of shampoos and soaps you use.

Find the elegance in beauty. A little elegance and glamour in your daily routine can make you feel empowered. Take pleasure in your morning and evening routines. Savor the time spent on yourself. Beauty is a form of self care and self love. That’s true elegance.

Click here to read the entire Elegance Series.