My bathroom closet is full of beautiful bottles of serums, lotions, creams, and masks that I dutifully applied before babies like a meditative practice twice a day. Those exotic over-priced bottles are now probably expired, having been neglected over the last 17 months since my twins were born. There’s no time for a jade roller or 4 layers of serum, and the chemicals in my skin-plumping eye cream are questionably toxic for breastfeeding. And truthfully, I’m lucky now if I have time to take a ‘real shower’ (ie not a quick rinse followed by dry shampoo).
But I realized that it wasn’t actually a confidence boost when friends said, “wow, you look exhausted…twins must be so hard!” So I asked friends, beauty editors, and fashionable mamas their beauty secrets and tested them all until I had it boiled down to just the basics.
Here’s "the busy mama’s beauty routine" - minimal, non-toxic, and portable (because it’s totally acceptable to do your eyebrows on the subway!).
"Meeting-ready" under 3 minutes:
1. Spray on a great 4-in-1 cleanser-toner like Ursa Major. I discovered this crucial step after a visit to HeyDay for my first facial nearly a year after the babies were born. The spray doesn’t need to be rubbed in or wiped off, and you can get by with just the spray and no follow-up moisturizer if running short on time. This step is important for combatting all the build up from the cute grubby hands that are patting your face all morning. The all-natural ingredients like Aloe and lavender, green tea, and orange leave your skin bright and refreshed, and it's hydrating enough that you can skip moisturizer if you're pressed for time.
2. Puff dry shampoo on-to your roots - wait to brush it out until you're walking out the door (I love this loose powder from Klorane because it isn’t an aerosol which I avoid because it can irritate babies, and gives my hair a nice added soft (not sticky) volume - hat tip to Goop Paris guide for introducing me to this on my first trip to a French pharmacy nearly a decade ago).
3. Rub-in a tinted SPF moisturizer (I love Beautycounter “dew skin tinted moisturizer” because it has a lite non-greasy feel, and is made by moms who designed a formula using only non-toxic/baby-safe ingredients).
4. Swipe on your favorite mascara to make your eyes look more awake (it’s hard to go wrong with the classic Maybelline big lash!).
5. Lightly dab on under-eye concealer if its been really long night (YLS Touche Eclat brightening pen is the best $35 beauty product I’ve bought - it does magic at hiding the dark circles and the pen lasts forever).
6. Swipe on a tinted chapstick, or lipstick, and your good to go (get a non-toxic formula like Burt's Bees tinted chapstick and you can also use it as a rub-in blush or even a chapped-nipple-balm when you're our of Lansinoh on the go).
And there you go! Totally achievable in 3 minutes, and minimal enough to do while waiting on a subway platform on your way to the office. So instead of hearing, "must have been a rough night..." you're friends will be amazed at "how you manage to juggle it all..."