We Tried It: Getting a Makeover to Become My Mother

02/17/2016 AT 05:00 PM EST

Moms make us who we are, literally. This is something I have always been proud of. My mother, Judi Bender, is one of the most gracious, supportive and strong women I have met in my 26 years, and I am lucky enough to share 50 percent of my genetic makeup with her. Jackpot!

So when the dermatology company Galderma offered me a chance to transform into Judi Bender (and for a good cause), I was instantly on board.

In February, Galderma launched the MomGenes campaign. MomGenes is a project created to start an optimistic dialogue about aging: According to results of a nationwide mother-daughter survey commissioned by Galderma, 82 percent of moms hope facial aging is easier for their daughters, but more than half never talk about it together.

We Tried It: Getting a Makeover to Become My Mother

Galderma

MomGenes is a way to start this dialogue so daughters can learn easy ways to protect their skin for the future and embrace the beauty of aging like their mothers.



To help women worldwide celebrate their "mom genes," Galderma is encouraging ladies to recreate a favorite photo of their mom and share it on MomGenes.com. For each photo posted, Galderma will donate $5 to the National Charity League, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering the mother-daughter relationship through hands-on volunteerism.

The Makeover

For my MomGenes transformation, which can be seen in the video above, the crew at Galderma gave me a totally makeover, working off a photo of my mom at 27 as a bridesmaid in her sister's wedding.

We Tried It: Getting a Makeover to Become My Mother

Courtesy Kelli Bender

The photo is classic Judi: an unabashed smile and a whole lot of hair, which I was lucky enough to inherit. She looks good!

But that's not a surprise to me. My mom always looks good, to the point where she radiates good. To help transform me into this beaming beacon of kindness, Galderma went all out with the makeup, hair and wardrobe.

The makeup portion was the first and the lengthiest part of the process, mostly due to my so-pale-it-glows winter skin tone. While my mom has fairer skin, she also has the coveted ability to get a tan. I am a burn-first-and-then-burn-some-more type of broad. To rectify this, my makeup artist loaded on bronzer to match my mom's golden glow. The other thing Judi had me beat on? Brows. Apparently having loooong brows was a trend when my mom was 27, so a few extra hairs needed to be penciled in.

Next up, hair! My lob allows me to fall asleep with my wet hair, wake up, do nothing to it and still be deemed socially acceptable. I love it ... except for right here. The hairdresser did wave wonders to the hair I had, but because of the length, we could not achieve the full-out Farrah Fawcett splendor that Judi accomplished.

The final step was to change into an outfit selected to match my mom's look – complete with keyhole magenta top and hair flower – and recreate my mom's pose for a photographer.

The Result

We Tried It: Getting a Makeover to Become My Mother

Courtesy Kelli Bender and Galderma

Galderma did it. The final side-by-side presents a strong case that my mom and I are probably related. People are 50/50 about whether my mom and I look alike, so I was happy to see an obvious resemblance when the makeover was complete. My mom adored the result as well. As her only child, aside from a very possessive cat, I think this picture firmly places me in the favorite kid position. Take that, Perri the cat!

The Lesson

We Tried It: Getting a Makeover to Become My Mother

Courtesy Kelli Bender

On a more serious note, while my mom received a new photo to frame from this project, I learned an important lesson: I want to age like my mom. She is beautiful inside and out, in a way that always makes me feel lucky to be her daughter. If I look anything like her 30 years from now, I will be ecstatic. But, more important, I want to grow up to resemble the woman my mom is today – confident, dedicated, loving, altruistic. And if that happens, it won't just be from Judi's mom genes, but all the mom work she's put in.
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