undefined — by Thomasin James
I laugh now at the memory of my pre-baby self. The dressing room, lined with shelves upon shelves of beauty products. The long-winded cleansing regime every morning and night, applying endless masks, balms and exfoliants. A daily makeup ritual that included multiple eyeshadows, primers, foundation, blusher, bronzer, highlighter, lipliner (lipliner!) and lipstick. My nails were always gelled, my eyebrows tinted and my lashes professionally extended. I felt stylish. Not super-glam, but I had the appearance of a well-put-together, successful, young career woman. I felt like my finger was on the pulse.
And then I had a baby. Which, of course, is a thing of joy and wonder, but I quickly came to realize that my time being able to indulge myself to such an extent was over. Sob. Not only that, but I felt like I had to completely reconfigure my self-image. The battle against mumsy style encroaching began.
For the first few weeks, you are told it is perfectly acceptable to bum around the house in your pyjamas and generally look like a wreck. Everyone tells you that you are glowing and look so well. I felt tired and fat. Actually, I felt exhausted and enormous.
Eventually, the time comes to venture out and meet new moms, socialize, experience all the much-hyped benefits of maternity leave. As far as I can see, these basically amount to spending a prodigious amount on coffee and cake, but hey ho. In for a penny, in for a pound. And there we all were, in our uniform of Breton stripes, jeans and mom bun. I was losing the fight against mumsy, and I knew it.
3 months after my son’s arrival into the world, it was time to take back control, that much-vaunted expression of our times (thankfully, this is the only thing I have in common with Donald Trump). The cake had to stop. The caffeine had to stop. And most of all, I needed to do something about my oh-so-grey visage.
This started me on a journey of discovery and has made me a hunter like no other when it comes to products that are easy to access (by that, I mean can be ordered online with no delivery charges – beauty counters with a crying baby are so not zen) and actually deliver results when it comes to tricking people into thinking that you have (a) had some sleep; (b) taken some steps in self-care; and (c) not become a big lump of mumsy.
Four years later, here I am. Another baby has arrived, and I am definitely older, as well as juggling childcare of two under-fives, re-training, and my job as a freelance writer. I could have given up on the effort of my beauty addiction by now, and embraced the natural look, but if anything, it is stronger than ever. I didn’t want to be a mumsy mom. I have joined Beauty Pie and lookfantastic, both of which deliver incredible products straight to my door. With Beauty Pie, there is a choice, though I literally want to sample every single amazing new product they have to offer RIGHT NOW, so much do I love their formulas. Lookfantastic is a monthly random selection, which is always fun to experiment with.
All this play aside, I feel like I have found my beauty niche. I look to power products like Beauty Pie’s Superactive Capsules of smoothing serum, Clarins’ facial oils and Decléor’s Phytopeel to fake a good night’s sleep. I have my makeup routine down to just five products now – foundation (MAC every time), eyebrow pencil, blush/cheek stick (years after launch I still adore NARS’ version of this in Orgasm), eye crayon and mascara. Don’t get me wrong, I up the ante when I can, but when I’m on the school run, these little gems pack a punch.
So there you go. I’m still haggard, often hormonal, and sometimes housebound – but I have my regular beauty deliveries to warm my heart every week to get me through those days where I may feel like a horror show, but know I don’t have to look like one. The war against mumsy may not be won – I absolutely have days where my defences are weak – but by redrawing the battle lines, I feel like I’m on the offensive.
undefined — by Thomasin James