It warms my heart whenever I smell ammonium lauryl sulfate, ceteareth 20, myristyl alcohol, sodium chloride, cetyl alcohol, sodium citrate and propylparaben.
The above ingredients are only a partial list of what goes into Jergens lotion. A whiff of its cherry-almond scent reminds me of my mother. She used the lotion as part of her daily beauty regime as a remedy for "dishpan hands." Sometimes, while watching television, my mother would repeatedly pat under her chin with her hand to prevent a double chin. In addition to makeup and perfume bottles of Chanel and Evening in Paris, she always dressed nicely. She preferred skirts over pants.
The May/June issue of Hallmark Magazine asked women which beauty tips their mothers passed along to them. Thinking this was a fine idea to steal, I asked several local women to share how their mothers exemplified style, beauty and grace.
Peggy Boni says her mother, Gloria Heimueller, led by example.
"She always took really good care of herself," she says. "That was in the era when the purse matched the shoes and the dress matched the hat. She had gone to cosmetology school and always encouraged me to be the best I could be."
Cold cream was a must for the face.
"She was always putting it on at night," Boni says. "She used Ponds. It took off makeup and moisturized. I could smell the Ponds when I kissed her goodnight. She was a looker in her day."
Ethel Harder says her mother's beauty advice can be boiled down to "cleanliness is next to godliness."
"My mother came from a very conservative family, and she couldn't wear makeup," Harder says. "She and other young girls would wet red crepe paper. They would put it on their lips and cheeks."
Sometimes the only cosmetic option would be to "pinch their cheeks to make them pink," she says.
Madeline Esquivel passed down her mother's beauty advice to her daughters.
"Never rub your eyes, don't tug at your skin and always use cold water after cleansing your face," she says. "I don't know if they follow my advice, but I hope they do."
Kary Mancebo-Ingram remembers her mother's admonishment to "stand up straight." Kary is 6 feet tall.
"She always made sure I was standing straight," she said. "She said there wasn't anything to do about being tall."
Her mother, Susan Sowash, had strict opinions on makeup.
"She would tell me, `Don't wear too much makeup. Let your inner beauty shine through,'" Mancebo-Ingram says. "When I was in sixth grade, I wanted to wear makeup because some of the other girls did. My mother told me I didn't need it."
She says her mother always was well-groomed.
"She gets her hair and nails done once a week," Mancebo-Ingram says. "I remember back in the days when she had a big beehive hairstyle."
She says that, at one time, three generations of Mancebo women were getting their hair done every week.
Toni Johnson says her mother was "always clean and neat."
"She said, `Wash your face every night,'" Johnson says. "I always do that. She would always freshen up her makeup before my father came home."
Johnson's family hails from Shreveport, La.
"My mother was no Southern belle," Johnson says. "She never got the vapors. She was a steel magnolia. I think I got some of that from her."