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How I see my mother
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My mother’s makeup palette has never been very colorful.

She’s always preferred wearing soft shades of pinks and browns. I don’t believe she’s ever ventured far from the nude range of lip colors.

She has always told me the trick to wearing makeup is to look like you’re not wearing any at all, but in a good way.

My mother is a naturally beautiful woman; this “trick” has never been difficult for her. When I was child, I’d watch her reflection in the bathroom mirror as she got ready for the day. Her routine involved a dab of lotion, a touch of foundation, some eyeshadow and black mascara. Anything she put on her face only seemed to magnify the green in her eyes, though she might argue the point as being to diminish a “flaw.”

When I first started wearing makeup as a teenager, my mother didn’t necessarily like the idea. She wanted me and my sister to be comfortable with our faces before we started covering them up.

Her favorite piece of beauty advice for us growing up was to “go outside and get a little sun on your face.” In fact, that’s exactly how I got ready for my junior prom.

A few years ago, my mom let her hair go gray. As her white roots grew out, I remember wondering why she was so committed to aging. She was barely 50 and far too young for gray hair.

Then it occurred to me that perhaps she was just aging gracefully, continuing on with the next phase of her natural approach to beauty.

She was also showing her children age was nothing to hide from or fear.

My mother’s graceful acceptance has become something of an internal mantra when I notice the start of fine lines on my own face or a new gray hair near my temple.

As obviously lovely and confident as my mother is, she would never describe herself as “beautiful.” My mother, like most women, can find “faults” in her appearance. But if she could see herself the way her children do, she’d never call her smile lines “wrinkles.”

Sometimes, my 4-year-old son watches me as I put on my makeup in the morning.

I know the look on his face. It’s one I’m sure my mother saw on my own face when I was his age.

Savannah King is a reporter for The Times. She can be reached at

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