I confess, I’m a beauty product addict. Ever since I bought my first Rimmel lipstick at aged 13, I was hooked. It was a dashing frosty number and I proudly kept the shiny purple plastic bullet in my handbag. I felt very grown up indeed. Luckily over the years, I’ve become better with my application technique and I no longer choose those frosty pink hues! And it’s not just make-up; hair products, tanning, body creams, skincare…. I’m like a child on Christmas Eve in the beauty aisles (Or maybe I should be honest and say I’m like ME on Christmas Eve).
However, since becoming a mum, I no longer have the time and endless funds to splurge on the latest Mac collection. I don’t tend to experiment with colours either as I know what suits me. These days, I only buy products that I know I’m going to use and love. I try not to get swept up by the latest trend that will likely sit gathering dust in my drawer. I have some beloved products that make my life that little bit easier. Products that help me look healthier, groomed and that speed up the getting ready process. And my fellow mummies out there will know how valuable that is!
I’ll never forget opening the door to my health visitor after the birth of my son. (His birth was easy and I recovered well. Unlike the birth of my daughter but that’s another story!) She looked at me in a surprised manner and said ‘I can’t remember the last time I saw a new mum wearing make-up!’ Granted, it was just a bit on concealer and brows but without that I’d feel totally naked! I may as well walk through Piccadilly circus in my underwear!
However, you should never feel that you need to stick to a beauty regime or apply make-up. Do whatever makes you happy. You may be someone who already has naturally beautiful brows and how I envy you! I’m just sharing my own experiences and thoughts and for me, it makes me feel happy and confident.
You, of course, don’t have to be a mum to use these products. These would suit anyone, but they are products for me that I have found to be invaluable when I’m in a rush and I need reliable products that offer consistent results.
I’ve tried to narrow my beauty essentials to my top ten. It wasn’t easy but here’s what made the shortlist!
You don’t need me to tell you why you need this! Who remembers those carefree, lazy weekends lie ins to make up for the hectic week, before our little cherubs became human alarm clocks? And whist I’m on this subject, is it only my children who I frequently must coax out of bed with sweet treats during the week when we’re in a rush, but at the weekend they’re ready to party at 6am? What is that about? Anyway, you get my point. Lack of sleep, stress, it all takes its toll and can result in eye bags to rival a Tesco bag for life. Concealer is your best friend. My favourite is Clarins instant concealer (Link) It’s creamy, moisturising and provides a great coverage. It should be noted that using concealer is almost pointless without using corrector as a base, that is, if you’re using it under your eyes. My corrector of choice is Pixi correction concentrate in brightening peach (Link). Think about it: your under-eye shadows tend to be a blueish-purple tone. If you apply a cream colour on top, it will make that colour take an ashy tone. However, if you apply an orange-peach colour on top of that blue tone it will counteract it (orange and blue are opposites on the colour wheel), effectively blocking that colour out before applying concealer. You’ll look like you’ve had a full night’s uninterrupted sleep. You’re welcome.
When you’re feeling tired and drained it shows in your skin. If you’re living in the UK, like me, your natural skin tone is probably on the pale side! Adding bronzer to the high points of the face, making it looked sun kissed, can really lift your features. My favourite bronzer is Chanel bronze universal (Link). It’s a cream bronzer which blends in effortlessly and looks natural. I use a fluffy kabuki brush to apply it. I’m often asked which eye shadow I wear for every day and the truth is I use this on my lids and I blend a darker, powder bronzer in my crease. So, for me, its multi-purpose and quick!
I don’t know what I ever did before dry shampoo! It is possibly the best invention ever. I didn’t even use dry shampoo on my wedding day. What even was life? Yes, I use dry shampoo for the purpose it was intended – to keep my hair fresh in between washes. But I mainly use it to get texture and volume. I spray it through my hair after it has just been blow dried to get it to look bouncy and fuller. My favourite is good old batiste (Link). I use the cherry scent, it smells gorgeously fresh and fruity. I use the volumizing (Link) version in my roots to give it some extra va-va voom! Not only do I get to wash my hair less, it also allows me to extend the time in between colour touch ups, as the light residue masks those pesky roots (I’m blonde). Result!
I mentioned in my last post about my battle with eczema and dry skin. I discovered the most intense body moisturiser last year after watching a Pixiwoo video on YouTube. They recommended Eucirin Intensive Lotion (Link) and I’ve probably been through one bottle per month ever since. This lotion isn’t anything fancy. It comes in a rather clinical looking clunky bottle and there is no scent whatsoever. But this lotion is really something special. It is SO nourishing, the most moisturising body product I have ever used. It keeps my skin incredibly soft. It was a god send on holiday, being in and out of the water and sunshine. It leaves a silky film on the skin, making it look just as good as it feels. It gives that sheen to the legs that you see on celebrities on the red carpet, but without the shimmer. If you have dry skin, you’re really going to love this.
Despite what you may think if you follow me on Instagram, I don’t get the time to go for baths very often. I love to have an invigorating shower in the morning to wake me up. I don’t get very long before I have a stampede of children (actually 2 but it sounds like 10) outside the door calling on me to pour them some Cheerios – so I need to be quick! I have recently fallen completely in love with Radox feel lively scent touch body wash in wild peony and lychee (Link). Its tender freshness and fruitiness wakes me up and leaves me smelling beautiful for hours after. You could easily skip body fragrance. It’s cheap and I buy in bulk when it’s on offer.
I’m often asked how I style my hair. I have used my beloved BaByliss big hair (Link) to style my hair for years. This is basically a brush and hairdryer in one and it makes achieving a sleek, bouncy, blow dry that you can only usually get from the salon easy peasy. Anyone can use it; the tool does all the hard work for you. The key is to blast your hair with a hairdryer first and leave it a little damp. This does not work on wet hair! I dry my hair so it’s around 70% dry. Then I section my hair off with a clip and dry the rest in layers using this. I simply don’t have the time to be drying my hair for hours on end and this makes a somewhat tiresome job quick and effective.
Rushing around in the morning to get the children ready can often feel like the hardest part of the day. It’s without a doubt my most stressful time, no matter how organised I am. I’ll spend ages getting Sofia’s hair into a sleek bun that’s going to last the full day at school and then five minutes later Leo’s on top of her play fighting in a heap of hair grips. When I only have one child, it’s a walk in the park, but together? Its mayhem! My point is, stress and rushing around is a sweaty business. I use Mitchem Ultimate 48 hour protection in pure fresh (Link). It leaves me feeling very fresh and smelling of lemon drops all day. It’s the best.
If I was going into the Jungle, lip balm would be my one luxury item. I cannot bear the feeling of tight/dry lips, it’s like torture. I am totally addicted to the stuff and my sister jests that I leave a trail of it wherever I go. I have one in my handbag, in my car, beside the sofa, by my bed and I have back-ups. Even my back-ups have backs ups. The best lip balm of all time is Lanolips banana balm (Link). It is intensely moisturising and tastes gorgeous. I love that I still have residue on my lips in the morning after applying a generous layer before bed. Apply a lush lip scrub (my favourite is popcorn) and then whack this over the top and your lips will be soft and kissable for days!
There is no better feeling than removing your make up at the end of a long day and applying a rich cream under your tired eyes. I have used Kiehl’s creamy eye treatment in avocado (Link) for years. It takes a bit of warming up to blend it in but it feels wonderful to apply and works as a good base for applying concealer on top (corrector first! *thumbs up emoji* for those who were concentrating above!)
Applying a little colour to my face works wonders for my complexion. I really don’t rock the pale look and I don’t think I have tried since 2003. It really makes me look healthier and more awake. I apply a dark tan to my face once a week such as Xen-Tan Dark lotion absolute lux (Link) and I top it up every second or third night with a subtler colour such as L’Oréal overnight tanning elixir serum (Link). If you’re not a confident tanner choose the latter. It’s very easy to apply and gives a light, but noticeable colour and can be applied after your skin care regime. I like to apply it with a brush. Real techniques have some fabulous tools. My favourite for tanning is this one. The body beauty blender (Link) from real techniques also gives a flawless application.
Pop your recommendations below if you think there’s an undiscovered gem out there just waiting to be popped into my basket. Let’s help each other out. Share your secrets and give yourself a pat on the back. You’re doing great Mama.