My Grandmas: My Biggest Influence


Prior to starting this website, someone once asked me who my biggest influences were when it comes to skincare and makeup. At first, I honestly didn’t really know how to answer that. In terms of color, I am influenced by my skills as an artist and what I learned in art school. In general, though, I tend to choose products based on the memories they evoke. Some of the strongest influences in that aspect are my grandmothers.

My Grandma Frerichs died about a year-and-a-half ago, and I miss her so much. I am lucky enough that my Grandma Sexton is still alive- but she lives far away, so I don’t get to see her nearly as much as I would like. It never fails that when I find something that reminds me of these beautiful women, I buy it, even if I don’t really need it.

When I was growing up, we lived only a few blocks away from Grandma Frerichs, so we saw her and Grandpa almost every day, whether visiting or in passing. Grandpa and Grandma Sexton lived 100 miles away, so we didn’t see them as often. But, in addition to holidays and other get-togethers, we got to spend a week or so at their house every summer. They took us golfing (we got to drive the cart), out to dinner, shopping, and we got to stay up late watching movies and having hot-fudge sundaes with peanuts. Needless to say, they spoiled us!

Grandma Frerichs

Grandma F 1 Grandpa Grandma F

School Photo 2

Grandma Frerichs preferred a more simple life. She was the stereotypical grandma; she cooked, baked, and had the greenest thumb of anyone I’ve ever known. She had an “L” shaped row of lilac bushes along the perimeter of their yard, and I loved walking through like it was a lavender tunnel. She had poppies, lilies of the valley, irises, ferns, violets, the whole shebang. Whenever we tried, unsuccessfully, to grow a plant, we inevitably ended up giving it to her. She somehow magically brought plants back to life. She and my grandpa had tea every afternoon around three, complete with delectable homemade sweets. Every time I stepped foot into their house, I always felt comfortable. No matter what was going on in life, everything was always okay there.

Grandma Sexton

Grandma S Me Grandpa Grandma S

Grandpa Grandma S 2

Grandma Sexton has always led a bit more of an “on-the-go” life. Now she has slowed down, but just barely! We always got excited when we knew we were going to go see Grandpa and Grandma Sexton. They have always been very active, and even their card club friends would shower us with attention if they happened to drop by while we were there. I remember some friends of Grandma’s, Lora and Pauline, who were always particularly fun to be around.  Grandma Sexton’s beauty routine was a bit more involved. Whereas Grandma Frerichs was more of a lip balm person, Grandma Sexton wore lipstick. She also had this night cream she wore that smelled like roses. I don’t remember the brand, I just remember it said “Extra Emollient Night Cream,” and it was a peachy color. Now I’m curious as to if she still wears it…

With the love they shared and strong influence my grandmas have had on me, these are some of my favorite products that remind me of them:

nostalgia items

Guerlain Meteorites Perles du Paradis– These limited edition powder pearls have the trademark Guerlain violet scent, and they come in a container with a powder puff. There was always powder with a powder puff in both my grandmas’ bathrooms.

Layla Ceramic Effect Nail Lacquer– Grandma Frerichs always had long, pretty, natural fingernails. The last time I saw her alive, she was wearing a gorgeous dark red nail color.

Pacifica French Lilac Body Butter– Both of my grandmas had a plethora of lotions and potions. This body butter smells just like the lilacs in Grandma Frerichs’ yard.

Tom Ford Violet Blonde Eau de Parfum– We always picked dandelions and violets and both grandmas proudly displayed them in vases of water. Grandma Frerichs once nursed an African Violet plant back to health after we nearly killed it. It grew quite large, and looked beautiful on her table.

Benefit Bathina Soft To Touch Hard to Get Body Oil Mist– Grandma Frerichs always gave us those bath oil beads that dissolved in the bathtub. Oh, how Gina and I LOVED those! This body oil is reminiscent of those beads, and the vintage-style bottle reminds me of the bottles that were always in Grandma Sexton’s bathroom cabinet.

Royal Apothic and Sapone Violetta bar soaps- Grandma Frerichs always had a stash of bar soaps in her drawer that she saved as souvenirs from all the trips she had been on. It was SO much fun to go through them while she told us about the particular trip she was on for each one. The floral scent of these two soaps brings back so many good thoughts!

Prada Infusion d’Iris Eau de Parfum– Both grandmas had irises that grew so big and plentiful. They were stunning and smelled divine.

Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope in “Brat Pack”- Grandma Sexton was the lipstick wearer; Grandma Frerichs always chewed peppermint gum. This shade and formula was made in an effort to pay homage to old Hollywood. It also contains peppermint oil, which adds moisture and freshness.

Perricone MD Face Finishing Moisturizer– This moisturizer smells like roses, just like Grandma Sexton’s “Extra Emollient Night Cream,” only this is lighter and much more wearable during the day.

While I can’t get my Grandma Frerichs back, and I don’t get to see Grandma Sexton much, these items bring me much joy as I recall such wonderful memories when I use them.

Who is your greatest beauty influence? Scroll down to comment below!