4 things I've learnt about my post-baby beauty routine
Bridget March is Cosmopolitan's Digital Beauty Editor, and mum to a gorgeous 7 month old son. Clio met them both at our our Xtend Barre day retreat in November and fell a little bit in love with the pair. Bridget agreed to share her secrets for post-baby beauty routine and, we're still in awe. Read on for some essential lessons...
1. My hands are dryer than ever before
I was familiar with 'Mum Face' (y'know, washed-out and weary etc etc), but 'Mum Hands' were new to me. It's not that I didn't wash them regularly before (honest!) but now they're constantly in water, whether post-nappy change, cleaning a high chair or washing yet another bottle, and my skin is suffering. They're looking tough, rough and a little wrinkly. So, to rectify I'm lathering on a palm balm whenever I can - keeping hand cream beside the bed, in the bathroom and changing bag - as well as applying coconut or olive oil beneath rubber gloves when doing the chores. If emergency TLC is required, I've found my trusty Lansinoh nipple balm makes a nice mask for the back of the hands and knuckles. It truly is the best multi-purpose mama product.
2. It's possible to fake 'sleeping-through' skin
My baby is nearing the seven-month mark and has only slept through the night once. Not that I did that night! Still, with some product knowledge and access to experts I'm managing to fake eight hours with a multi-pronged approach. Firstly, facial massage. By really working your cleansers and oils into your skin, massage gets the blood to the surface giving you a natural glow. Not only that, it helps with toxin drainage and gives muscles a mini workout so they stay taught. Top facialist and Liz Earle brand ambassador Abigail James is a huge advocate, and she also told me to make AHA masks my go-to pamper product. Why? Alpha hydroxy acids (non-scary and safe for use in breastfeeding!) improve skin tone and texture. My fave is the radiance-boosting Pai Copaiba Deep Cleanse AHA Mask, formulated for sensitive skin so it's free from any irritants. My final quick-fix is a spritz of sunshine in a bottle. The James Read H2O Tan Mist gives your face a healthy luminosity that makes ALL the difference.
3. Ageing + fatigue = a killer crow's feet combo
Like many of my friends, becoming a mama has coincided with that time in my life when all the fun I had in my 20s has started to show on my face. Call them smile lines or crow's feet, but playing entertainer all day and not sleeping at night has highlighted them a treat. In the wee hours when I'm up with my son my eyes also feel super sensitive and dry, making them tempting to rub, which doesn't help matters. What is helping, is dousing them in Liz Earle's wonderfully refreshing Eyebright Soothing Eye Lotion first thing in the morning. Then massaging in a light eye serum with a gentle tapping technique, which encourages the formula to absorb while reducing puffiness. Then, of course, concealer is a mum's best friend. Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer to be specific. It's thick enough to mask stubborn shadows without being at all cakey. And Bobbi's top tip? Pat, don't rub, or you won't blend it in but merely rub the coverage off! Another quick awakening makeup trick is to apply an eyeliner in nude, or even a neutral metallic shade, to the waterline. Not only does it disguise redness but it instantly brightens the eyes, bringing back some lost sparkle.
4. Postnatal hair loss is legit
It's not just my baby's new-found grabbing skills causing my long locks to shed more than ever, the hair loss was happening anyway. Thanks to diving oestrogen levels, causing more follicles to temporarily go into rest mode, your hair can shed post-pregnancy and in my case there's a visible difference. Although I'm reluctant to take supplements like Viviscal while breastfeeding (it may well be fine but it hasn't been tested), the brand's targeted hair care range is helping my locks appear fuller, and while it's tempting to load up on dry shampoo given its time saving and body-building credentials, I'm trying not to rely on it too heavily as it can prevent healthy hair growth by clogging up the follicles. A healthy scalp is the gateway to healthy hair, after all. The thing to bear in mind is that the hair loss is temporary (my hormones should be back in balance by the time my babe is a year old), but while I wait I'm having a 'hair thickening haircut', which adds mass via an invisible structure of layers. Ask your stylist for the same - should you be able to get a babysitter, that is!
The secrets are out!
Bridget March is Digital Beauty Editor at Cosmopolitan. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.
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