First - let me make it very clear.
You've just had a baby and you are beautiful just as you are. I don't believe you need anything to enhance the awesome woman you are having just created and birthed another human being. You rock. Period.
But this post is about how you feel. It is very common for a new mother's feelings to be full of contradictions after birth. You might feel overwhelming happiness one minute and anxiety the next. A simple mistake by someone might make you angry and then a television commercial can send you into sobs. Your feelings are all over the place at one of the most unique moments of your life.
I'll be honest - I did not feel beautiful post partum.
I did not feel like a rockstar in my diaper with my sore c-section wound, leaking nipples and suitcase-sized bags under my eyes.
I did not feel lovely with red eyes and splotchy skin because I was crying over everything and nothing several times a day.
I did not feel picture-worthy during a time when I literally wanted to take a photo every 5 minutes of the beautiful child in my arms.
Those feelings had lasting effects. If you could scan my photos folders on my hard drive of those early days with my new baby - you'll notice someone is missing in most of the images...me.
I was a new mom and totally ill-prepared for how I would feel about myself postpartum but when it came to my second pregnancy, I set out to have a different experience.
There were many things I did but these were 3 easy beauty hacks that helped me feel better about myself in those early days with baby. They helped me feel more in control and added to my confidence so I could show up in photos and not want to instantly hit the 'delete' button.
If you can relate, then I hope these beauty hacks will help you as well.
Hack #1 - Swap Regular Mascara out for a Waterproof One
I cried over everything and nothing in those early weeks. This meant that any makeup attempts were futile and every time a phone was held up for a picture, I winced. This swap made such a big difference.
I usually use regular mascara but it can't stand up to even the lightest tears or watery eyes from allergies. Waterproof mascara is perfect for this issue. In fact, even if waterproof mascara was the only makeup I was wearing, I felt better. When I'd catch a glance of myself in the mirror, I felt like a small part of the "old" me was visible. My eyes were tired but happier with those few wisps of eyelashes. It was empowering and it made me feel beautiful even during the times when everything seemed shadowed.
Tip: To keep the mascara from ending up on your eyelids, brush on some light eye shadow or translucent setting powder before applying. I also used Micellar Water (like this one) for quick, gentle and easy removal at night. (this is not a paid recommendation - just what I used)
Hack #2 - Opt for a Matte Moisturizer or Regular
It's very natural for our hormones to fluctuate after giving birth. While this affects our emotions it can also wreak havoc on our skin. I had a rather minimal approach to skin care before pregnancy but after having my little one, my skin felt very dry.
Since I wasn't wearing makeup regularly, I often just wore moisturizer which helped my dry skin but also made it look oily at times. When I finally tried a matte moisturizer, I felt like I'd hit the jackpot.
Unlike heavy creams, mattifying moisturizers are lightweight, don't cause breakouts, and won't make it look like I spent all day sweating on the beach. They also control excess oil production and simultaneously hydrate as they cut down on shine. I also like that so many of them already come with sun protection (SPF) so you are protecting your skin without having to add additional sunscreen.
Tip: I like this one by Origins (not a paid recommendation - just my opinion) because it is free of parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, formaldehyde, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), mineral oil, petrolatum, paraffin, diethanolamine (DEA), polyethylene beads & animal ingredients (except cruelty-free honey & beeswax).
Hack #3 - Enjoying Epsom Salt Baths
You might not think of this as a beauty hack but stick with me. Epsom salt is a chemical compound of magnesium, sulfate and oxygen and while it is referred to as salt - it is not the same as the shaker on your table. Magnesium is an important mineral that many people are lacking. According to many health advocates, when Epsom salt is dissolved in water, it has therapeutic properties and helps return some magnesium to your body.
Let's start with the benefits of Epsom Salt Baths...
- It can soothe and soften rough, dry skin and aid with exfoliation.
- It reduces muscle soreness, pain, swelling and stiffness.
- It helps to lower stress and promote natural melatonin levels (the sleep inducing hormone)
Now, I offer full disclosure that I am not a health professional and there are those who believe that there is no evidence of any of these benefits. (my source of all detailed info is healthline.com) If you have any questions - check with your doctor first.
But...that being said - epsom salt baths helped me.
- It helped my mental state that I could take some quiet time to myself and enjoy a bath.
- It helped my muscles recover after a very long labor and the ache in my arms and back that can occur when breastfeeding.
- It helped with soreness in my breasts and the heat helped stimulate milk production. It also helped when I was concerned about clogged ducts.
- It helped me relax and get more solid sleep (even if it was a midday nap).
- It gave me a few quiet moments to myself when I needed them most.
All of these benefits helped me feel more like myself, gave me rest when I was exhausted, renewed my confidence that I was a capable mother and made me feel beautiful. Scientific or not - these were all very tangible results for me.
Tip: A bath does not have to be long to be beneficial however, it would be ideal to reserve at least 30 minutes to yourself. Making your mental and physical health a priority is crucial to being the happy mom you deserve to be.
Again these are 3 beauty hacks I used to feel more beautiful after having my babies. You might find different ones that work better for you. That's okay! Do whatever you need to do to keep yourself healthy. I sincerely want you to feel like the beautiful, glowing mom that you are. You are amazing!