Author and journalist, Grace Timothy, explains how her beauty regime made her feel herself again after becoming a mother for the first time.
Post-baby beauty advice can be a bit depressing, can’t it? “Zap those stretch marks!” “Thicken up that hair!” “Come on, Mum, it’s time to cover up those dark circles and look wide awake!” All this when you’re trying to keep a newborn alive with no handbook and probably very little sleep. When I had my daughter, it was the first time in my life that I genuinely didn’t care what I looked like. But when all of the initial energy and attention that a new baby requires began to ebb away, leaving me more time to myself, it was my make-up bag that helped me feel like my old self.
Since becoming a mother my body had changed beyond recognition. My routine was forever altered as I took a break from work and instead ‘mummed’ through every day and night. I didn’t sleep for months, and self doubt hung over every decision I had to make. The social circle who had previously helped me define myself were all gone. I felt a bit lost. But then there were the familiar friends on my dressing table that reminded me of the joyful club kid, the career woman, the girlfriend I had been and could still be.
It was the lipstick that instantly brought colour to my pale, tired face and made me feel excited – like Glo & Ray Cosmetics La Amo Lipstick. A highlighter that aped a fresh-faced, well-rested glow – Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed. A brow product – Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil – that made me feel like I’d got my act together enough for a brow appointment, but in reality only took 10 seconds to whack on.
And rather than worrying about the indelible map of stretch marks, or the fact great chunks of my hair were falling out everyday, I reveled in the alone time a quick shower would offer, with the sweet-smelling, creamy Rituals Sakara Shower Gel, or when the baby slept, I’d wallow in a bath of Elemis Life Elixirs Bath & Shower Oil. Even a simple perfume could help me ‘mum’ with a smile, reminding me I was a sexy, strong, kickass kind of person, especially something romantic like Miller Harris Rose Silence EDP. And it sort of tempers the stench of nappies.
Cleansing became almost ritualistic – a moment to bookend the day when I’d look at myself in the mirror and just breath. I could cool my skin on days where I felt sticky and hot with Perricone Blue Plasma Cleanser, or luxuriate in something rich when I felt overwhelmed, like Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm. I worried less about how a moisturiser would sit beneath my foundation and more about how quickly it melted into my skin, what it smelt like and how it felt between my fingers. L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Cream therefore became a firm favourite. And it’s amazing what a refreshing eye gel like Bareminerals SkinLongevity Vital Power Eye Gel Cream can do for the heaviest, most sleepy of eyes. It won’t banish wrinkles in an instant, but my god it’ll feel nice and for a moment let you forget the run of sleepless nights.
I felt like I was treating myself, even when it was the briefest of moments doing something I wouldn’t have thought twice about before having my baby, something I would probably have taken for granted. I no longer had time for spa days or facials, but without realising it, each little dab of cream had become an act of self care. And still to this day, five years into motherhood, I have a more finely tuned, edited collection of products that I fit into my day, but I relish every single one.