I have an enormous, earthshaking secret to share with you: new mothers are a little bit busy. I know. You’re floored. But seriously, before I became a mom I sort of wondered, you know, what’s all the fuss about? What, the kid needs to be fed and changed once in awhile? How much time can that possibly take up?
As it turns out, the answer is: all of it.
So it’s an understatement to say that I haven’t had a ton of time to worry about beauty routines over the past few months. (I gave birth to my first child in October.)
The challenge of trying to look pulled-together on very little sleep when you have only about three minutes each day to achieve a fresh-faced glow, however, is a neat one: it forces you to figure out what really works for you, streamline your routine right down to the bare bones and get creative with the multitasking.
Here’s what works for me:
- Drink water. Drink so much water. Drink more water than you ever thought it was possible to drink—so much that you feel like a sloshy elephant while you’re running around after your little one.
- Wear less makeup than you think you need. The tendency is to pile it on when you’re feeling less than your best, but tired skin looks even more exhausted when it’s caked with foundation and powder.
- Dab concealer in the key spots: at the corners of your eyes and around the edges of your nose. This quick fix goes a long way toward making your skin look fresh and even. (I love Clé de Peau Beauté concealer. It’s definitely pricey, but it lasts forever.)
- Don't forget blush! Go for a bright pink, such as NARS Blush in Angelika. It’ll brighten up your whole face and leave you looking (relatively) rested in a flash.
- Turn to double-duty products. Who has time for tons of steps? I try to make sure that every beauty product that I use pulls its weight, whether it’s a moisturizing lip balm that can also be rubbed into my cuticles (I can’t get enough of Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment), or a beauty balm that provides SPF, fights wrinkles and evens skin tone (my top pick is Dr. Jart+ Silver Label Rejuvenation BB Cream).
- Add mascara. Always. Try: Benefit They’re Real!
Those are my go-to new mama beauty fixes, but I’m always open to hearing other ideas. I checked in with a few of my very most fabulous mom friends to see what tricks they have up their sleeves. Here’s what they had to say:
Casey Kettleson, creative and editorial director of StyledOn.com:
Take advantage of those nap times! While pumping or prepping the next meal, why not also apply a moisture-intensive facial? My favorite is YonKa Masque No 1 Time Release Intense Moisture. Apply a thick coat to the entire face and watch your skin absorb all that goodness.
Ask any new mother and she'll tell you that long nights will lead to tired eyes and dark circles. Try a nightly eye serum, such as Lumene Vitamin C Anti-Puffiness Roll-On Eye Serum, which delivers great results and also smells amazing. In the morning, add a bit of brightener to the area. Try: YSL Touche Éclat. Then define your brows, which will visually draw up your eyes, and use a mascara that won't smudge off. I like d.j.v. Beautenizer Fiberwig LX, which also provides natural-looking extension.
My son would always run his fingers through my hair when it was down, which I loved, but it often left me looking like a rat. All of that changed when I began putting my hair in ponytails that were high, tight and out of my face. I looked—and felt—a lot more pulled together. And my son was still able to play with it to a certain point.
Lindsay Campbell, blogger and host, LindsayCampbell.Tumblr.com:
The only tip that works all the time is to go to sleep when your baby does. Since that’s only possible, say, never, the runner-up for me is using toddler bath time for mama beauty treatments. I do face masks and hair treatments, shave my legs and shape my nails, all while my son happily splashes away next to me. Multitasking at its best!
Allison Czarnecki, blogger, PetitElefant.com:
Use olive oil to clean your face. It’s natural, moisturizing, cleans so well and is amazing for your skin.
Lianne Farbes, beauty expert, LianneFarbes.com:
My best trick is for treating puffy eyes. Put teaspoons in the freezer. Then rest them on your undereyes. It takes any swelling down in less than two minutes.
Joslyn Taylor, blogger, SimpleLovelyBlog.com:
I drink a big glass of water with the juice from a large lemon every morning before I dive into my coffee. It gives me a huge surge of energy, which is essential for surviving crazy school mornings, and just makes me generally feel great. Lemon is also great for your digestive system and skin.
Photos (clockwise from upper left): Stella McCartney Kids Gizmo baby sleeveless onesie; Themis Trio Mobile by Clara Von Zweigbergk; Voss bottled water, Jordan Reid and her baby boy (courtesy of the author); OLV Classic Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil; Kushies' Zolo Chacha baby rattle; ponytail (Getty Images).