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A Beauty Chat with My Mom, Rose

We fell hard for Natalie Alcala last fall, when the LA-based writer and blogger spent a week guest blogging for us. In fact, we loved her posts so much that we asked her to be a contributing editor. In addition to blogging for us once a week, she’ll also be writing for the Birchbox Magazine and keeping us up to speed on all things fashion, beauty, and fun.

In honor of Mother’s Day, I sat down with my beauty idol to learn more about her best secrets, the discontinued products that she wishes would be reissued, and the one tried-and-true product that she’s been using since high school. (Try this Q&A with your mom on Sunday—you’ll learn so much!)

What was your earliest beauty memory?
“I used to really love flipping through Cosmopolitan magazine—that’s where I first discovered vanity. My favorite model was Cristina Ferrare. I also loved Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren. I even used to fake Marilyn’s beauty mark with a pencil!”

So funny! Who taught you how to put on makeup?
“I think I taught myself really, but I also got some tips from your Auntie Esther [her sister-in-law]. I first started experimenting with mascara because I was so amazed by how long it made my eyelashes look.”

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What Did Your Mom Teach You About Beauty?

Happy Mother’s Day! We asked a few of our favorite women entrepreneurs to share the best lessons they learned from their mothers. We’ll be putting up the entire list later today but here are two great stories from Of a Kind founders Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo.

Two sets of perfect brows: Claire Mazur and her mom

My mom taught me not to mess around when it comes to eyebrows. In high school I got too tweezer-happy one day and she was really, really upset. She marched me over to the apartment of a woman she knew who was a makeup artist, where I was subjected to a really intense one-on-one tutorial and walked out with my very own eyebrow pencil to correct the mess I had made. Did you know you should always use eyebrow pencils a shade lighter than your hair? I’m obsessed with #02 from Paul & Joe Beaute, which was introduced to me by Sania Vucetaj, who is the only person allowed to touch my brows these days. (Yes, she’s been vetted by my mother.) - Claire

My mom taught me not to dye your hair until you have to. During the Spice Girls era, I wanted chunky, reddish highlights desperately. I was pretty impressed with myself for wanting something more interesting than the blonde streaks that everyone else was getting. My mom warned me that I would have decades to dye my hair, but, instead of forbidding me completely, she made me wait for six months. Obviously by then I had lost interest. - Erica

Claire’s favorite brow whiz, Sania Vucetaj, happens to be ours, too! She tells us everything we need to know about brows here

Read what our favorite entrepreneurs learned from their moms here!

Packing List: Maine-iac, Maine-iac

This weekend, I went home to surprise my mom for Mother’s Day. Since my mom is an avid follower of our blog, I couldn’t post this on Friday for fear that she’d see it. I grew up in Miami but my parents moved to Maine seven years ago and haven’t looked back since. When I go home, it’s a complete reversal of my New York life, which is why I love it: quiet with nothing to do besides sit in the kitchen and read the paper or take my dog for walks along the water. (Oh, and the J.Crew outlet. There’s that.) Accordingly, I wear zero makeup when I’m home. Here’s what I brought instead. 


AHAVA Dermud Intensive Foot Cream: My feet are a mess. Since I haven’t had the time to get a pedicure, I’m going to try to take advantage of being in a real house (access to a bath tub!) by giving myself an at-home pedi: soak, pumice, finish with tons of this rich lotion.

Lavanila The Healthy Body Wash in Vanilla Grapefruit: This is my favorite new body wash, so I’m bringing one home for my mom, too. It’s part of my plan to slowly make over her bathroom, product by product. This paraben- and synthetic-free suds is good for the skin, and smells so good I want to eat it.

Deborah Lippmann ‘My Old Flame’: My mom is extremely low-maintenance but she loves getting her toes done with bright colors. I’m giving her this classic, creamy red to take with her to the nail salon the next time she goes.

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel: I have been terrible about making the time to use a mask, event though I know my skin is in need of some serious exfoliation (dull, dry). This alpha hydroxy peel will work for both me and my mom, so I’ll make her do it too!

Weleda Skin Food: My dad is an architect turned mini Bob Vila, and he is celebrating his semi-retirement by renovating our entire house, building cold frames and raised beds for his garden, and doing other handy man things. Result: he has the roughest, most cracked hands I’ve ever seen. I’m bringing him Weleda’s super rich Skin Food in the hopes that it can remedy them.

What Birchbox Moms Want, Part Two (P.S. Don’t Forget to Order Today!)

It’s T-Minus six days to Mother’s Day — do you have the perfect present picked out yet? Here are a few more ideas to inspire you, from our own moms. And don’t forget — order by the end of today and we’ll make sure Mom gets her gift in time! 

Matt F. and his mom, Martha Bradley

"I’d love either of the Serge Lutens fragrances, because there is nothing better than smelling great.”

Rachel and her mom, An Hinds

"One of my favorite things to do to recharge and renew is to take a long soak in a beautiful bath. I’d love some Zhena’s Gypsy Tea Chamomile Tea — it’s my favorite drink to help relax my mind and body.”

Hayley and her mom, Eileen Maisel: I like doing things together for Mother’s Day. The gift doesn’t matter as much as the togetherness. But a gift that’s used together — that’s perfect! Now that you’re grown up daughter, it would be fun to have Mother/Daughter DIY Spa time. Mothers like me don’t know the latest products and techniques. It would be fun to learn from you on Mother’s Day. We could do polish each other’s nails, fingers and toes. You should sell a kit with Zoya nail lacquer, Zoya Polish Remover, and AHAVA Dermud Hand Cream. I could feel young with a cool nail polish color I’d never try on my own.

What Birchbox Moms Want This Mother’s Day, Part One

We’re pretty sure we know what will make Mom happy on Mother’s Day — check out our picks here. But just to make sure, we went straight to the source: our own moms. Here, they weigh in on what they’d like to receive from the Birchbox Shop: from hand cream to self tanners. Check back tomorrow for more picks, and remember to order by tomorrow to ensure on time delivery!


Liz and her mom

"My mum would want the Dr. Dennis Gross Glow Pads, cause the only safe way to tan (particularly with our pale pasty skin color) is to fake it! Aussies are very into sun protection — something to do with growing up with a hole in the ozone layer above our country :)"

Patrick and his mom, Patricia O’Regan

"I spend a lot of time outdoors running, gardening and swimming and even with faithful use of UV protectants my skin can use a little special help. A jar of Perricone MD cold plasma would brighten up my Mothers’ Day as well as my skin. A little of the cold plasma’s readily absorbed, non-greasy, unscented formula goes a long way and leaves my skin appearing smoother and feeling more resilient. "

Katia and her mom, Christine Ververis

"There are several things that I love and want! First: Perricone MD Cold Plasma Face Cream. A week after I used this cream I received compliments on the youthful texture of my skin. RevitaLash Conditioner has made my lashes unbelievably fuller—My eyelashes have never looked so good.”

Mollie and her mom, Martha Hesse (and her mom’s Photoshop skillz)

"I want Stila Custom Color Blush because I need a minimal beauty routine. Anything that takes the guesswork out of choosing products that will work for my skintone is perfect! Plus the color looks fun!”