If I got a pound for each “Oh, you look so well!” comment I have been given since becoming a mum, I would have enough to get a decent sized jar of Creme De La Mer. I usually use superlatives when I tell someone how good they look so I don’t really know what it means when one tells me I look well.
Well, as in you look good for what you’ve gone through…?
Well, as in you look like you’re handling motherhood so effortlessly…?
Well, as in you look like you could do with some sleep but I’m too polite to tell you that you look less than ok…?
Well, as in you look like you have had some good sleep…?
Well, as in you look fantastic!!
In any case I take it as a compliment and reaffirm that all the cleansing and toning and polishing I make a ritual of is well worth it. It is actually a treat for me to slather on serum and cream. And I love wiping up the day’s residues of make up, sweat and hard work. For it is actual work, being a mother. We do so much to nurture and support and raise our little ones. Mothers are the hardest workers out there!
The following items help to maintain the images of wellness (in my opinion) and give me ten minutes where I can just be a regular person who likes using beauty stuff:
Along with amazing health benefits (Miranda Kerr eats it, hello?!), coconut oil is a great remover of make up. Shu Uemura cleansing oil is deemed the best make up remover by InStyle this year, but they haven’t tried this tropical treat. Essence of Eden coconut oil is organic, cold pressed and smells lovely (unless you are averse to the smell of coconuts). It melts away stubborn mascara, gel eyeliner and long wear foundation, and leaves your skin feeling so soft. Just massage some into your face and remove with a hot, damp muslin cloth. Rinse again with a gentle non-soap cleanser like Cetaphil. And it’s very economical too, at about £10 per 250ml jar. It will probably last you a good three months if you wear make up daily.
Liz Earle’s Cleanse and Polish come in at a close second. It really smells like you are in a spa and removes light make up quite well. I only rate it lower than the oil because I have to thoroughly massage and wash my skin twice to get rid of stubborn make up.
I have a love hate thing with toners. I don’t think you necessarily need them, but some smell so divine that I just can’t help myself. One of the best toners about is Liz Earle’s Instant Boost Skin Tonic. The smell is heavenly and it’s packed with natural ingredients such as aloe vera, chamomile, Vitamin E, cucumber and calendula. I get this in spritzer form and spritz away in the evening and on flights where the air can be quite dehydrating. £12.50 for 200ml.
This is more precious than anti-matter to me. It’s the well loved Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair. I don’t really know what is in it. Cow’s balls for all I care. I just know that for me, it works. My skin feels smoother and softer, regardless of which moisturiser I put on top. The big bottle lasts a year, so it works out to be very affordable (in my opinion).
I don’t believe that the more expensive creams do more for your skin than the cheaper ones. Some certainly are fab, such as the La Prairie, Sisley and SKII range. They definitely work if smooth and baby soft skin is what you are after. I have been lucky enough to have generous relatives and a patient working in the beauty industry give me generous samples to try. However, I don’t believe that it’s worth a month’s salary to fork out for the whole set, unless of course you do very well for yourself financially and it doesn’t make a dent in your budget. In which case, splurge away and have merry skin!
But if you are like me, and want more bang for your buck the following moisturisers deliver very well.
Lacura Night Creme by Aldi (I think it has a different name in Oz). This is a great light night cream that is yummy for the skin. Does what moisturisers are meant to do. Probably better for the warmer months if you have dry skin. At about £2.50, you can’t get any better than that. Plus Oeko Test, Germany’s stringent quality tester, gives it top marks.
Olay Range – whether it’s your bog standard or super hyped Regenerist range, you can rely on these creams to do the job. Price point very good. From about £5.00 to £40.00.
Dr Nick Lowe range – super duper, in my opinion. You are getting a top U.K. Dermatologist’s range for a fraction of the cost of other doctors’ lines. Lovely textures and the scents are not too heavy. About £20-30 per pot depending on the different ranges.
Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturisers. If purse friendly spa-like luxury is what you are after, these do the trick. It’s packed with natural ingredients but not too much as to irritate sensitive skins (I know, sounds a bit paradoxical, but too natural can be a bad thing to sensitive skins). I use the sensitive/dry one. £18.75 for 50ml.
You only have one body, so use it and fuel it like you would a Rolls Royce/Ferrari/insert your ideal car. I agree with Dr Perricone that inflammation causing foods wreak havoc on your skin. He prescribes lots of fresh, low glycemic index foods as well as a host of dietary supplements. I take lots of fish oil which contain omega three fatty acids. Super important for brain function and neurological development of the foetus. I pop these in my mouth like candy and have done since I found out I was pregnant. Just make sure they are mercury tested and safe for consumption (I’m not a physician, so please check with yours before you embark on a supplement frenzy).
Foundation: Chanel/Giorgio Armani/Lancome Teint Miracle range if you want to splurge. Fantastic textures and colours that leave skin looking dewy and naturally unblemished.
L’oreal True Match Range if you need to save. Extensive colours (20!) and creamy textures. Just to be cheeky here, L’oreal does own Giorgio Armani, and both their finishing powders do seem uncannily similar (in my opinion).
Blush: Nars in Super Orgasm, Lancome Blush Subtil in Rose Sable. I only discovered the beauty enhancing qualities of a good blush last year. It really helps give dimension to your face (important when you have a flat face, like me) and perks it up. Nars in Super Orgasm is really delicious and it really makes you look like you’ve had one! It’s nice to look like a well satisfied horn bag from time to time.
Eyeliner: Shu Uemura Gel Liner for longevity and Nars Kohl for everyday casual. A tip from my make up go-to person, Sali Hughes of The Guardian: when using kohl eyeliner, line the lower lid as well to make the eyes look bigger- NOT in the water line inside the eyelashes (which will make the eyes appear smaller).
Mascara: I have short, downward pointing lashes that would probably put the mascara industry into insolvency. I have yet to try a mascara that works for me beyond half an hour. And yes, I have used a very good curler, as well as a heated one. So I just don’t bother with it.
Lips: Usually just a standard lip balm on a stick. Weleda do a scrummy range and it’s natural as well, if you’re so inclined. For colour, The Body Shop Liplicious in no. 1 is great for a natural look. And if you really want to go out, Tom Ford‘s lipsticks are just heavenly (thank you, Ms AJK!!).
Phew! So there you have it. Some things that keep this mother feeling and looking well.
(Of course, you cannot buy the glow of joy that inner peace and happiness brings. But sometimes that glow wanes and I have to resort to external sources.)