There’s something special about having a daughter, a kindred spirit. I feel a real responsibility to help her grow into a confident woman and while that is a serious task, it’s also tons of fun, especially in the area of beauty and self-care habits. Neither one of us is particularly “girly” and we do some things differently, but we both believe in looking and feeling good. Meet my daughter Skye Jolie, a 19-year-old college student and one of my most favorite people in the world. Here are our beauty and self-care habits from mother and daughter, for any age.
Great Skin Begins With Skincare
Sherrelle: I used to be a real skincare junkie, researching and buying products all the time but now I rely on Skye to tell me if something new is worth trying. Recently she turned me on to Youth To The People. This is what I use now:
In The Morning
Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Eliminating Spot Gel on my chin, where I’m prone to hormonal acne.
Dermalogica Pure Light SPF 50 (moisturizer)
Thayer’s Rose Petal Witch Hazel (if needed)
Prescription dark spot corrector (if needed)
Face oil – Daughter of the Land is a favorite, but currently using Trader Joe’s Marula Facial Oil. Meh.
A dab of castor oil on my eyebrows to keep them full.
“Wear sunblock” is my mantra every day in every weather. I live in Los Angeles so I’m always outside and my home office desk sits in a window. My face lotion has built-in sunblock but if I’m active outside I’ll wear Supergoop! Play SPF 50 or Black Girl Sunscreen Kids SPF 50. Sometimes I get hormonal acne on my chin. I use a mixture of 10% benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and hydrocortisone until it comes to a head and then I apply a Mighty Patch to finish the job (it really works!). If that acne results in a dark spot, I will sleep with Peach Slices Dark Spot Microdarts for a few days.
For years I used to get regular facials at a fantastic spa in Atlanta, but since I moved I haven’t found one here in LA. That happens when you move; you lose your people and have to start all over again. From time to time, like on Mother’s Day or my birthday, Skye will give me a facial. We both use sheet masks weekly that we buy in bulk whenever we venture to Koreatown or Little Tokyo.
If I have drilled anything into Skye’s head about any kind of beauty habit, it’s to take care of her skin.
Skye: I use the same Youth To The People, Dermalogica and Paula’s Choice products as Mom for cleansing and exfoliating, but I also have my own routine that includes facial massage, tongue scraping, dry brushing and cold showers – I love my cold showers! I try to do monthly facials with Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay. After years of hearing Mom’s skin cancer prevention rant, I wear Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 every day.
How We Take Care of Our Hair
Sherrelle: Growing up I had a complicated relationship with my hair; I always wanted what I didn’t have. I begged for a relaxer when I was an older teenager and I kept that up until I got pregnant with my first child and I didn’t want chemicals leaching into my pregnant body. That was over 25 years ago and I’ve never looked back. For about ten years I wore dreadlocks. Ready for a change, I unloc’d my hair (yes, you can do that) against my husband’s wishes.
I like my naturally curly hair (my husband does too) and have found a low maintenance style that suits me: the wash and go. Besides a visit to a dedicated curly hair salon every three months, I don’t do much. After unloc’ing I had to re-learn what works for my hair. I used every product and style mentioned on natural hair blogs and YouTube videos and took detailed notes. It was insane.
After a year of experimenting I figured out my holy grail of haircare: co-wash, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, a light moisturizer, and slippery gel. I follow the Curly Girl Method so I don’t use products with silicones or sulfates, don’t use heat or towels and co-wash (instead of shampoo). The whole process takes about 30 minutes from stepping in the shower to done, although I really should deep condition from time to time (I don’t). In public I’m often stopped by strangers and asked about about my hair. Here’s a list of the products I use, but if you want a complete tutorial on how I wash and style my hair, click the button for a printable PDF.
If I remember, I pre-poo with Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner and jojoba oil or Crafted Complexions Luxury Hair Serum on the ends. Since the Trader Joe’s conditioner is only $3, I can really glob it on. I co-wash with Curl Junkie Daily Fix and condition with Curl Junkie Curl Rehab. To style my hair I apply Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Smoothing Lotion (leave-in conditioner), Qhemet Biologics Burdock Root Butter Cream (moisturizer), and Uncle Funky’s Daughter Curly Magic (gel). I always let my hair air-dry. Every night I pile my hair into one or two buns with silk scrunchies and in the morning I remove the scrunchies and shake. That’s it. I sleep on a silk pillowcase. I even travel with my silk pillowcase; cotton is horrible for curly hair, or really anyone’s hair.
I was determined that Skye would grow up loving her natural hair and there was no way that she would use chemicals if I had anything to do with it. When she was little I washed and twisted her hair every week and she was adorable. Still, as a Black girl she did have those moments of being told her hair was Other. As she grew into a teenager and took over styling her hair, the styles got a little funky there for a while, but eventually she found what works best.
Skye: After pre-pooing with Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner and jojoba oil, I wash my hair with Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo and deep condition with a heating cap and Camille Rose Moroccan Pear Conditioning Custard. Mostly, I style my hair in a braid-out or twist-out using Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Smoothing Lotion (leave-in), aloe vera leaf, and a bit of Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie. If I’m traveling and don’t want to be bothered with my hair, I’ll get it braided.
The Makeup We Use (or don’t)
Sherrelle: I work at home so most days I don’t wear any makeup at all, just a sweep of my eyebrows with Anastasia Clear Brow Gel and on my lips Booda Butter Naked Lip Balm – it’s the best lip balm ever. I have one in every room, in my purse, in the car. If I do venture into the world I wear makeup that takes me about two minutes to apply: Nars Concealer in Caramel with a dusting of Laura Mercier Translucent Powder in Medium Deep, black Diorshow Waterproof Mascara over Diorshow Maximizer 3D Lash Primer, and Nars Lip Gloss in Risky Business, a neutral pink with a bit of shimmer.
If I want a little extra oomph, I’ll darken my eyebrows a tinge with Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Ebony or a new find that I love, Winky Lux Uni-Brow Pencil. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll sweep on a neutral eyeshadow from Laura Mercier Essentials Eye & Cheek Palette (so many colors and I use two), line my upper lid with Nars Larger Than Life Long-wear Eyeliner in Via Vento (black) or Last Frontier (brown), dab some Nars Illuminator in Orgasm on my cheeks and Chanel Le Rouge Crayon De Couleur Nº8 Cassis on my lips. I have but never use Laura Mercier Foundation unless I’m taking professional photos (so never).
Skye: A few years ago I really liked makeup; I watched YouTube videos and was so good that I would do Mom’s makeup before a big event. I still admire the art of makeup but it just seems like such a hassle at this time in my life. Instead, I focus more on skincare and really enjoy the science of it all. My eyebrows are thick and grow very fast so I groom them every 4 weeks. Usually, I go to a salon with Mom but I also know how to do them myself quite well.
What We Wear
Skye and I have different styles, but respect each other when we are shopping. Skye will point to a flowered sundress that she likes and I will say “hmmm.” I will point to a leopard print dress and she will say “that’s nice for you.” My style is flashier than Skye’s style. We both love sneakers but she follows the drops more than I do; she lets me know what’s new. We both love vintage and second-hand stores. I think I got her hooked when I bought a vintage Burberry dress for her in Paris. She was only ten years old and wasn’t into vintage shopping then; I can’t wait to go back with her now – she’ll really go crazy.
Sherrelle: My style is a combination of relaxed Cali-cool and NYC downtown art scene with some vintage and B-Girl swag. I love the brands Xirena, AllSaints, rag & bone, and ATM. I keep my eyes open for Birkenstock and Teva collaborations and always dope sneakers. My favorite stores were Barneys New York (RIP!) and Fred Segal, but now I shop more local and love discovering smaller regional stores and boutiques. My favorite place to shop is around the world. I have the most unique dresses bought in Paris, Johannesburg, and San Sebastián. I promised Skye that when I’m gone all my clothes and designer purses are hers (but not before).
Skye: When I moved to Los Angeles from Atlanta, I found more of my personal style. I guess I used to dress sort of southern preppy. Now I’m more eclectic. I like the brands Stussy and Carhartt and really love Vintage 60’s and 70’s fashions. When we shop at vintage and second-hand stores, I have more patience than Mom; I will comb through the racks to find the gems. A few years ago on vacation in NYC, we spent three hours in a second-hand store and came upon some real finds for me: Prada pants and a Chanel jacket! The Rose Bowl in Pasadena is my mecca and I can spend hours there, but I buy vintage online too from Etsy, Depop, and Grailed.
How We Move Our Bodies
Sherrelle: I do some kind of exercise nearly every day. I used to dislike yoga because I couldn’t sit still, but now I love it and think it’s imperative to a fully functioning body. I am a huge evangelist for kettlebells; I started using them over 10 years ago and will use them until I die. If you’re interested, I post my weekly kettlebell workouts on my Instagram story and highlights. Boxing is a great workout, mentally challenging (remembering the combinations is really hard!), and fun. I must have fun while exercising or I get bored. I can’t believe this, but I recently started running and completed a 5k! I used to hate running. Maybe I still do (I haven’t decided yet), but I’m doing it and I like the challenge. I didn’t grow up as an athlete, but I’m inherently really competitive, even with myself.
I hope that I have taught Skye that exercising is good for our brain, heart, and bones – and not as a way to punish our body for eating certain foods or for trying to look a certain way.
Skye: I do yoga most days and started lifting weights a tiny bit. I like to skateboard for fun, but it’s great exercise too. I finally joined Mom in her boxing class and now I love it. With my physical therapy exercises, I’m learning the importance of mobility and strengthening certain muscles. I find the human body and how it functions fascinating.
What We Eat
We are mostly a grain-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free household. This started ten years ago, spearheaded by me and since I’m the only one who cooks, my family had no choice. Now that the rest of the world has caught on, we can buy many of the grain-free foods that I used to make from scratch, like cauliflower rice. Vegan ice cream has gotten really good and we don’t miss dairy ice cream at all. We do eat meat but not at every meal and try to eat 2/3 vegetables to 1/3 meat.
Sherrelle: Every morning I have a Bulletproof Matcha Latte that fuels both my brain and body with good stuff.
Skye: Even after our household turned grain-free, I continued to eat grains outside of the house until a few years ago when I figured out that by eliminating ALL grains, my digestive problems stopped and my skin rashes cleared. Recently I learned how to cook and enjoy finding new recipes to try. Mom is always happy to eat one of my meals! I really enjoy the healing properties of tea and drink matcha, kombucha, and yerba mate.
Our Morning Rituals for Mental Well-being
Sherrelle: Every morning I start the day softly with a cuddle from my dog. I write in my wellness journal, TAP IN: A Daily Practice for a More Creative, Focused and Joyful Life, followed by a few poems (Rupi Kaur is a favorite), stories from Humans (of New York), or profiles in In The Company of Women. At some point, Skye wanders in and we chat a bit and cuddle with the dog some more. Then I exercise. I try not to check emails or social until this is done. I skim The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and read emails while drinking my matcha. Finally, I light a candle, turn on some music and start to work.
Skye: Every morning I write in my wellness journal, TAP IN: A Daily Practice for a More Creative, Focused and Joyful Life, followed by meditation and affirmations. Then I play a vinyl record while making my bed. I swear by hot lemon water first thing in the morning before a good breakfast. No matter the weather, I step outside to get some fresh hair. Finally, I make a giant to-do list on a whiteboard and start my day.
What Makes Us Come Alive
Sherrelle: Writing and creating – I get lost in those worlds. Curiosity is my passion; I’m always learning and challenging myself. Writing a screenplay was one of the hardest things that I’ve done but also so much fun to learn something new and create a whole world. I’m really proud of that, even if it never becomes a movie. My lifestyle and media company, World Famous, is multi-faceted and takes up most of my time. It includes this website as well as a publishing company, World Famous Books; the first product is TAP IN: A Daily Practice for a More Creative, Focused and Joyful Life. Running these ventures solo is so much work and really challenging to do in a full household, but along with my mental wellness advocacy work, it’s how I happily spend my time.
I’m going to make everything around me beautiful, that will be my life.Elsie de Wolfe
The beach is my happy place and I’m blessed to live nearby. I feel inspired while visiting art museums and bookstores, exploring new neighborhoods, or being active in nature – rafting, horse riding, zip-lining. Where I really get my juice is traveling. I can literally feel the neurons firing in my brain and endorphins coursing through my body. For me travel is not a nice to have, it’s necessary.
Skye: I love music and enjoy both discovering new artists as well as reveling in the classics. I have a record player and listen to a different vinyl every day. I’m growing my collection slowly and I even have some of Mom’s old records. I have a very busy college schedule but I like putting together 1,000 piece puzzles with Mom, doing cross-stitch, and baking. I find all these activities relaxing. I like to read non-fiction books on science, music history, or self-help. Currently, I’m reading How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog. As a science major, I am intrigued by the human body, plants, and animals and often pursue those passions outside of the classroom. Right now I am fostering the most adorable puppy for the Labelle Foundation; it’s the best thing ever. I love to travel and have been around the world on vacation and on service mission trips, but probably my favorite place is Tumbling River, a dude ranch in Colorado. I plan to work there one summer!
The best thing about having a daughter is sharing life with her. It’s been so wonderful watching Skye grow into a young woman with her own interests and passions. I hope that I’ve taught her some useful things over the years – I know that I continue to learn from her. She’s an amazing human and not only do I love her, I really like her. We have such a great time together traveling the world or just hanging on the sofa. While this past pandemic year was a rough way to start college (online at home), I got the gift of a bonus year: lots of home facials, puzzles, so much laughter, and hey, she even learned how to cook!