After giving birth hormones make your skin erupt like Mt. Fuji, hair from your head falls out and hair everywhere else sprouts like a forest. With all of this going on, it may be difficult to conceive the notion of ever looking pretty again. Besides not being able to fit into any of your pre-pregnancy clothes just yet, you might not even be able to find time to take a shower, let alone put on makeup! I did a search the other day for “Beauty for New Moms” and was led to a website that recommended tips for beauty based partly upon what celebrity moms are doing to get prettied up in the weeks after delivery. I’m not saying that beauty tips can’t be ascertained by observing celebrity moms, but the “tips” I found seemed to be the most unreasonable suggestions for new moms. I got the impression that the writers either forgot what it is really like to be a new mom or they have never been one themselves.
While celebrity mom suggestions are nice, I’m not trying to get fancied up for the grammys. I just want to get myself together enough so that I can go to the grocery store without people looking at me like I just crawled out of a cave. I don’t have the money or resources to hire a team of people like JLo did to get my pre-pregnant body back in 2 weeks or less. One of the makeup tips from the site recommended the smoky eye, under the premise that if you play up the eyes, you don’t have to spend makeup time on your lips. These women obviously don’t really have newborns, do they? This must be some kind of joke. The Smoky Eye?? I can’t even accomplish the smoky eye with much success when I am fully awake…let alone sleep-deprived and using a baby wipe to clean the grease off of my eyelids because I didn’t have time to shower and my hormones are pumping enough oil out of my face to fry an egg with. The smoky eye? I think not. Mascara? maybe.
Even celebrity moms can look less than stellar when deprived of sleep.
This particular website also recommended creamy, brightly colored lipstick. Can I go a whole day without kissing my baby? Some doctors say that mommies have an uncontrollable urge to kiss their babies because it is a natural bonding process. Other doctors say that I’m checking the baby’s temperature. And some say that I’m sampling all of the germs on the baby’s face so that I can create the antibodies and deliver them to the infant in my breastmilk. Whatever the reason, brightly colored lipstick would certainly make fulfilling that urge difficult. Not to mention that most of the celebrity moms I saw wearing bright red lipstick were going to red-carpet events. I may go to the mall to walk around with my stroller. I might stop by the grocery store. Red carpet? I don’t think so. I would look ridiculous walking around with bright red creamy lipstick while I push my baby’s carseat in my grocery cart with one hand and double-check the stipulations on my coupon for prune juice with the other hand.
1. Lip Stain Instead of a lipstick that will prevent you from kissing your baby and make you look as though you were getting ready for a red-carpet event, a lip stain is light, will stay on your lips instead of all over baby’s face, and might even give your lips color for up to 3 days if you choose the right brand. Besides, new mommy, you aren’t sleeping anymore anyway, so why take the time to scrub your lips before “bed” when you’ll only be lying in bed for 2 hours. Scrub your lips when you finally get a chance for that long-awaited shower. Until that moment, you can have a color-stained pout that makes you look and feel prettier. Probably not JLo-at-the-grammys pretty, but prettier than “cave dweller”.
I know that Drew Barrymore really makes that Cover Girl lip stain look fantastic, (I secretly think she may have had some work done on her face this year, or the camera guys did a lot of tape editing)…anyway….the Cover Girl lip stain is not good. First, it isn’t a stain. It washes off with water. It’s drying. If you read the reviews for it, there is a lot of defective product out there. The lip staining pen dries up really quick. The strawberry colored one I had was actually more of a dark red hue than the color that was shown on both the display and the tube.
Maybelline’s lip stain actually DOES stain the lip without rinsing off in water. However, I hear that there are a lot of good lip stains out there to be tried. I have a slightly raisin-colored Maybelline lip stain that has a clear balm stick at one end. Just be careful with darkness of hue and staying power when you buy your lip stain. It might be worth it to ask someone who works at Sephora what they would recommend and try before you buy if you can.
2. Sunglasses. There’s one thing that the celebrity moms above all have in common that I would agree is a good tip. Wear sunglasses. Sunglasses will hide the most tired part of your face; your eyes. It seems that many of us have a hard enough time making our eyes look pretty when we have gotten a decent amount of sleep. Trying to salvage their youthfulness after several weeks of bad sleep seems to be a fruitless endeavor.
Sunglasses come in a variety of different hues, and you might find that a pair of lighter, colored sunglasses works better than a blackout pair if you will be going indoors. It feels a bit silly walking around indoors with dark sunglasses on, so you’ll probably take them off…which defeats the purpose of wearing them to hide those tired eyes.
In one of my Youtube music videos, I actually used a lot of colorful non-black sunglasses. You c
an check it out by clicking this picture if interested. If really colorful sunglasses are not your thing, there are also many places that sell more conservative tones of gray and beige.
(Target, Sears, and believe it or not Five Below are my “go to” places for affordable, stylish sunglasses.)
3. Hair Texture. Last season, straight hair was the must-have style. I even fell into the trap of getting that side-swept bang cut into my hair that everyone gave tutorials for on YouTube. The side swept bang is nice, but it requires an incredible amount of prep time to make it “sweep” just right, and then an incredible amount of hair product to make it stay in that swept look. While this isn’t a huge burden on girls that have time for daily showers, this amount of hair-time is nearly impossible for you, new mommy. In the odd chance that you DO get to shower, perhaps you’ll have time to dry your hair, but dry, straight iron AND style it? pfft. Straight hair also looks like a rats nest if you pull it into a ponytail and then later decide you want to wear it down. It also doesn’t fare well if you sleep on it. Not that you will be getting a lot of sleep as a new mommy, but what little sleep you get will most likely destroy your hairstyle. Hair with texture is making a comeback, which is helpful for us, because unwashed hair can lend itself well to having texture! The trick is making the hair look stylishly textured without looking greasy or dirty.
TRY: Dry shampoo spray. There are lots of different brands of dry shampoo spray out there. Before being a new mommy, you probably even thought, “Eww…why don’t people just take a shower?” Well, here is our chance to have a little empathy for those who just don’t have time to shower every day. Dry shampoo spray is meant to absorb the extra oils in your hair, leaving it looking less greasy. If your hair is dry or frizzy at the ends, you may find after using this that the ends of your hair need some smoothing. Enter product #2..
A Spray Bottle of Water. I use an old bottle that once had detangler in it and just fill it with water. I’m poor and cheap-o like that. They do sell spray bottles for water though. You can find them in the hair or travel sections in most major retailers. Sometimes spraying your hair with a bit of water and combing it into place looks just as good as if you had a shower. I like the idea of trying water first before any major products like mousse or pomade, because whatever product you put in your hair may very well be there until you have your next shower…and who knows when that will be!
One of the tips from the websites I researched recommended braiding my hair before bed and taking it out in the morning for a soft, wavy look. So, I thought I would try it…
I dampened my hair with water, and worked in a bit of gel. I separated my hair into 4 sections and french braided it. This took more time than I probably would have spent just taking a shower, to be honest. And I needed to braid the top part of my hair so that my hair wouldn’t be curly on bottom and straight on top. I had to keep dampening my hair as I braided, as it took a while. Once all of the hair was in braids, I patted more of the holding gel on the braids. In the morning, I took out the braids and poof! my hair was curly. I “combed” through my hair with my fingers, trying to get it to lay in such a way as to not keep re-parting itself where I had parted the original braiding. My ordinarily side-swept bangs were incredibly poofy, and made me look like I belonged in an 80’s hair band. I sprayed a bit of water on my scalp and rubbed it in with my fingers to help lift the roots a bit, being careful not to get the curly parts overly damp. Despite my best efforts, the top part of my hair was still straight. So, I pulled out my old crimper that has been collecting dust in my closet since the early 90’s and used it to make the top of my hair blend in with the rest. I went through several stages of crimping my bangs, hating them, wetting them with water and waiting for them to dry…then crimping again…until I finally got them to look almost normal. Unfortunately, babies like to get their hands tangled into mommy’s hair. So, I pulled the curly mass into a ponytail on the right (since baby’s head is usually on my left). Keep in mind while scanning these pictures that I am a very tired new mommy who is not wearing makeup.
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For the amount of time that I spent fussing over this hairstyle, I do not feel like it is a good “tip” to save new mommies time. It may have worked if I had a different hair texture, or if I didn’t have bangs. The day that I took the braids out the hair looked pretty “decent”, but was not a style that you could comb easily, making it look a bit more dreadlock-like by day 2 (another day without a shower, by the way) and by day 3 I HAD to take a shower because I just looked like a frizzy mess. I think I will stick to my spray bottle of water and dry shampoo.
4. Wear makeup products that have a built-in applicator. There are so many new products out there that have the applicator built-in for truly one step application. But Beware some of the Loreal products with those brushes that are built atop the lid. They LOOK like built-in brushes, but are actually not all that convenient. The more convenient types are like the Neutrogena Mineral Sheers, where the powder actually flows through the brush. It won’t cover imperfections as well as liquid foundation, but it’s better than nothing at all if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands.
5. Use a nail buffer.
Now that your hands are constantly on your baby, the last thing you want is for her to accidentally ingest some nail polish. Let’s face it – you’re going to be sticking your fingers into her mouth on a daily basis now…so nail polish is (for now) a thing of the past. Put a nail buffer on the back of the toilet tank and use it each time you go to the loo.
6. Wear Casual Anti-Wrinkle Dresses if it’s warm. There are a few reasons for wearing dresses. The right cut can hide parts of your new body that you are uncomfortable with. Some dresses are very comfortable for napping in. It is easier to find dresses than tops that have easy access to the milk-factory for breastfeeding moms. Certain cuts of dresses will still fit after you get your pre-pregnant body back, unlike jeans which are very size-specific. It’s takes less time to throw on a dress than to match up tops and bottoms.
Hopefully some of these tips will give you back your confidence and help get you out the door to enjoy the world. And if all else fails, throw caution to the wind and hit the town as you are; with your new jiggly bits, with your hair that cries for a product to fix it, and skin that looks very far from Dove-commercial ready. Remember that you are beautiful just as you are, and when your baby smiles up at your face, she really doesn’t care whether you have the best looking “smoky eye” or not. To her, you are the most beautiful person in the world.