Beauty essential tips and products
Time to take control and activate the three Ds in our lives: De-stress, De-age and detox. Too busy for me-time? Tamara Corin says these fast miracle workers can reveal a whole new you
Any mother or mother-to-be would assume there's only one real solution to simultaneously de-stressing, de-ageing and detoxing, and that's simply the magic s-word – sleep! We're all exhausted to the point that when we wake our first thought is how soon we can get back to the land of nod.
But it's never soon enough. So with the help of beauty experts and products that actually do what they claim, we've compiled the next best thing to making you feel and look like you've had a restful night. Here's our cheat's guide.
1. Stay protected
There's such an emphasis on protecting our skin from sunshine that we only consider slapping on SPF in the summer or on holiday. But facialist and beauty writer Eminé Ali Rushton explains that the higher levels of progesterone in pregnancy make you much more likely to develop skin discolouration such as melasma. So it's vital you protect yourself from UV rays with a natural broad-spectrum SPF, whatever the weather. Pop a travel-sized sunscreen in your baby's changing bag for on-the-move top-ups.
2. Behind the mask
Skin needs extra TLC pre-and post-birth and a face mask gives huge benefits. Putting it on takes seconds: the trick is finding a way to make this part of your routine. For example, before your brush your teeth at night put the mask on, then remove once you're done. Such a little tweak will make a big difference to your skin. Try L'Occitane Angelica Instant Hydration Mask £20.
3. Scrub up
Like most women I know, I have a fine collection of body brushes – almost unused. A good old brush can make a huge difference to your skin texture, silhouette and even cellulite, but it's also time consuming. Instead, use a body scrub in the shower. It makes your skin look fresher and body lotion is more easily absorbed. Just swap your usual shower gel for one with an exfoliator.
4. Booby trap
Crepey texture, stretch marks, pigmentation and broken capillaries are just some of the changes our breasts go through during pregnancy and after. Keep your décolleté tip-top with collagenboosting creams or, for the royal treatment, 24k gold collagen breast masks £52. The blend of plant collagen and gold helps to increase cellular metabolism and tighten the skin, making it feel smoother and firmer.
5. Get connected
There's no doubt that technology can be stressful. While 24/7 connectivity certainly makes some things a lot more convenient, a plugged-in life can take its toll on our wellbeing. Scientists have linked heavy tech use with decreased focus and productivity, increased stress, disrupted sleep and stunted creativity. But technology can also be leveraged to help us de-stress. Download the Health through Breath: Pranayama Lite app and create your very own customised breathing course that can be done while cradling your baby.
6. Jeepers peepers
Puffy eyes are sore and a bore! Freeze used tea bags for an hour then place on the eyes to refresh and de-puff. If you're heading out, Benefit's head make-up and trend artist Lisa Potter-Dixon suggests, 'Speed up your morning routine by mixing your eye cream and concealer. It makes your concealer extra hydrating. Mix on the back of your hand and then pat around the eye area with your ring finger.' Lisa's fave combo is Benefit's It's Potent eye cream (£24.50) and Erase Paste concealer (£19.50).
7. Enliven your senses
Pregnancy often leads to heightened senses, especially the sense of smell. Even your signature perfume that you've worn for years can turn into an all-out assault on your nostrils. It's the oestrogen that's to blame. The mother and daughter duo behind the Evody fragrance house created a new perfume when Cérine, the daughter, was pregnant with her first child. She wanted a scent that was secure and reassuring and which did not overpower her already sensitive senses. And so Cuir Blanc (£70 for 50ml) was born, with notes of violet leaf, iris, amber, white musk and leather. In fact, Cuir Blanc has become the best seller for the range.
8. Crystal magic
Schlepping a buggy, feeding with your mobile held to your ear (don't deny it!) and general body fatigue takes its toll. Ease aches and pains with a warm bath of INA Crystals White Gold Detoxifying Crystal Salt (£47 for 1kg). Rich in 84 natural trace elements and minerals, they draw toxins from the skin, lactic acid from muscles and help reduce water retention while re-mineralising the body. Sounds too yin/yangy? One bathe and you'll feel the magic. Promise. Or try Kneipp Deep Sleep Bath Salts (£7.95) for a less pricey alternative.
9. Take a swab
Too tired to remove your make-up? It's a beauty commandment that should never be broken, but we all occasionally break the rule. For quick removal the morning after, DHC Virgin Olive Oil Cotton Swabs (£4.50 for 50) are individually wrapped cotton buds infused with olive oil, great for removing make-up and correcting make-up mistakes on the go. So there's no excuse for waking up with panda eyes. (They're suitable for baby skin too.)
10. Sleeping beauty
It's not like you'll ever need help getting to sleep again, but it's the quality of sleep that makes the difference, claims sleep expert Dr Lisa Shives. To get in the zone, grab 10-15 mins post-feed and relax in a bath. We love Kneipp Stress Free Herbal Bath (£7.95). According to Kneipp' herbalists, the perfect duration for a bath is between ten and 20 minutes (as if!) so the body can absorb the warmth of the water and the bath additives' effects.