Dear Rookie Moms, What are your beauty secrets?

A request came in for us to make some recommendations for how to look like you’ve gotten a full night of sleep and haven’t had your skin and hair ravished by monstrous hormonal changes over a long period of months. Susan Wagner, who normally blogs about fashion, did us the generous favor of responding with tips, grace and humor below, and isn’t she just the best?

Dear Rookie Moms,

I haven’t looked through the RM archives, but I’m wondering if you’ve done a post about post-baby beauty secrets. I’m talking the eye creams for the dark circles, the hair products for the newly limp hair post nursing, the 30-second make-up tricks for moms on the run. I’m sure there are many moms — like me — that could use your wise tips for not looking like a train wreck after two kids!


photo of susan: rita orloff

Ah, the post baby days; nothing is better than bringing that wee little bundle of joy home with you. At least until you look in the mirror. Then maybe it’s not so great.

The first weeks home with a baby (and by “weeks” I mean “months and possibly years,” if we’re being honest) can take a toll on your looks. But it doesn’t have to be that way — there are some simple tricks that anyone can use to look better. Here are my three favorites.

The simplest way to keep yourself looking good is to take care of yourself. Eat right, drink lots of water, get as much sleep as you can, of course — but that’s not the end. Make time to wash your face every day; if your skin is in good shape, you won’t need a full face of make up to look good. Use a gentle face wash; I like Neutrogena’s Fresh Foaming Cleanser, which is gentle enough for any skin type). In the morning, follow up with a light moisturizer with SPF, always. A tinted moisturizer will give you a little color and coverage without any extra effort.

JK asked specifically about eye creams for dark circles. Try an eye cream with caffeine in it; the caffeine constricts the blood vessels around your eyes and reduces puffiness and dark circles. Eating an ounce a day of dark chocolate can also increase the blood flow to your skin and reduce dark circles (yes, really!).

What if you’re taking good care of your skin and yet you’re still looking tired and wan? Here’s my super quick morning secret: skip concealer, which often just highlights the flaws — instead, use a wee concealer brush to apply foundation only where you need it. I use foundation on my eyelids, to even out my skin tone, and under my eyes, for those dark circles; I’ll also apply a wee bit on any blemishes, because who needs that? And that’s it! Set the foundation on your eyes with a little powder; add some mascara and blush and you’re good to go. Seriously.

You don’t need a full face of makeup to take the baby to Gymboree; a few strategically applied products will make you look fresh and awake and pretty. And it will only take five minutes, promise.

JK also asked about post-baby hair; as with skin, take care of basic maintenance. Don’t skip hair cuts — it’s easier to style your hair when it’s healthy and the right length for your style. Plus, a hair cut is an hour to yourself, which is a good thing for everyone. Seriously.

In terms of day-to-day styling, the secret is that less is more. We all know how hard it can be to get a shower every day when you’re caring for a new baby; instead of worrying about washing your hair every day, use a dry shampoo to string your hair along one more day. My friend Sarah James (who is about to be a mom again herself, and who has the best hair ever) recommends Big Sexy Hair Volumizing Dry Shampoo. Spray it in and go. So simple — and so good for your hair, especially in the post-baby days.

And if all else fails, wear big sunglasses and hold the baby out in front of you. No one will even notice your hair or your dark circles. (You know I’m right.)


Do you have more beauty secrets to share?

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