Seven Times Grandma Was Right About Beauty

Is less more? Did grandma really know best? The simplicity movement in home decor, fashion, and beauty makes me reflect on what my Grandma Lucy taught me about self-care (nobody called it “self-care back then, heh). Grandma Lucy was beautiful, vivacious, funny, a fabulous Italian cook, and my surrogate mother when my parents divorced. She knew a lot about everything, I realize more and more as the years pass.


Grandma Lucy died at age 63, the age I’m going to be next week. Gone far too soon, I still miss her and her lovely light still warms me. She would have been appalled at all the face and body modifications that are almost “normal” now. Life was too busy and money too short for things like botox, chemical peels, liposuction et al. But here are some things she taught me about beauty:

1.  Use a washcloth on your face. She knew about exfoliation, but didn’t call it that fancy name. Just wash your face every night with a soft cloth and it will look fresh.

2.  Eat your veggies. Although we had spaghetti with almost every meal, Grandma also pushed plates of olives, tomatoes, beans and broccoli at me.

grandma spaghetti

A little pasta on the side.

3.  Red lipstick is everything. Grandma had only three or four lipsticks, and looking back I swear they were all the same color. She loved real red, and so do I, especially when I’m feeling washed-out.

4. Pond’s cold cream is the best; just be sure to rub it in all the way, and don’t forget your neck.

5. Don’t pick at your skin! She was so right, of course, about this. I used to be a skin-picker and it always made small pimples into enormous ones.

6. Don’t start shaving your legs; you’ll have to do it forever. This is not scientifically true, but the fair, soft hair on my legs could have been left alone for many years. I just couldn’t wait to use her pink Lady Schick.

grandma shaver

Who remembers these?

7. Wear rubber gloves for house chores.  Grandma got her nails “done” about once a month, and for a few days afterwards I had to wash, rather than dry the dishes. She always used gloves for the rough stuff, and so do I.

Some of grandmas’s advice turns out to be not-true: bread crusts don’t make your hair curly; and you can exercise when you have your period. But always true: naps make you prettier.

Lucy at about age 60. I flatter myself that I resemble her.

Stay fabulous and eat your veggies, xox,

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  1. What a lovely post, Patti. Your grandma Lucy was so right in many ways. She was absolutely gorgeous too, and I can see her in your smile! xxx

  2. Love this post! My grandmother always told me too that it’s better to leave more to the imagination (when it comes to swimsuits). I tell my girls the same thing now. I couldn’t believe it the other night I saw for the first time in a commercial targeted towards men for Botox for frown lines and wrinkles…what? I thought my grandmother was the most beautiful woman on this Earth (she was also my best friend and we shared an apartment when I was 18 and she was 72). When I’m feeling blah looking in the mirror at the lines that are appearing, I just try to think of her and how beautiful I thought she was with all her lines of life.

    • how great that you got to share an apartment with your grandmother! xo

  3. I love the picture of Lucy! She is beautiful, vibrant and wise! You look a lot like her – same smile, lovely face and wisdom! What an interesting coincidence, that you celebrate the same age when your Grandma died, ad I celebrate the same age when my Grandma died… it’s so full of meaning now, this number, isn’t it? <3

    • Yes, and it reminds us of the speed of life! Thank you for your kind words, xo

  4. My grandma was a great believer in Pond’s and red lipstick as well! But I have to disagree about the washcloth. Unless you make sure you wash and dry your washcloth frequently, that damp cloth can grow bacteria that you will then rub into your face, my dermo told me.

  5. Your grandmother has a great grin and you resemble her a lot!

    My grandma taught me by example that tidying up as you go resulted in an always beautiful home. She made the beds after breakfast, and had a brief morning routine of touring the house and yard in her apron, pulling a weed or spent bloom, emptying a waste basket, picking a fresh flower for a table, greeting a neighbor, making mental notes of things that needed doing, and so on. On the way back inside, she’d transfer detritus from apron pockets to the garbage bin.

  6. Lovely photo of your stylish Grandma. Grandma’s had some pretty darn good advice.

    I’m a fan of wearing rubber gloves. I damaged my skin when I was younger and am trying desperately to repair some of it. Seems like a losing battle though.

    PS…only one week!

  7. So true about the red lipstick and I will start washing with a cloth!!!

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