I’ve never been a fan of Desperate Housewives, but my mother persuaded me to watch the season premiere with her. For the first time, I could identify with one of the characters. Gabby, the former model, now has two children and a matching frumpy mom-style. Her old frenemy Edie is shocked by her new appearance, leading to this classic exchange: Edie: “So Gabby, I have to ask: What the hell happened to you? Carlos might be blind, but the rest of us aren’t.” Gabby: “I had two children.” Edie: “For what? Breakfast?”
Um…ouch. But I think most moms can relate. Have you ever caught a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and wondered what the hell happened to the old you? The one wearing dry-clean-only clothing with fabulous shoes, carrying a hip designer handbag in one manicured hand and a Blackberry in the other?
Your former glamorous self isn’t gone forever. Even on a budget, there’s beauty after baby. Here are our favorite affordable products for head-to-toe beauty.
While running after your kids counts as exercise in my book, you still need some time to yourself to do things like get a haircut or go to the dentist. If you don’t have one already, you need to find a trustworthy babysitter. Candace and I have both used Sitterycity. You can find the perfect sitter today at Sittercity.com using our exclusive coupon code MNISTA to save 10%!
It can be hard for moms to find the time to get to the salon for a cut and color. Make your color last longer with John Frieda Color Glaze. This product costs less than $10, and it helps boost your color in between salon visits. After my first use, my hair was more shiny and looked a deeper, richer brown.
If you have long hair, it is tempting to pull it into a ponytail daily. I’m guilty of that. But my FHI Heat Platform Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Styling Iron is like a magic wand– transforming bla-boring hair into smooth, shiny and bouncy hair. It’s no surprise that its won tons of beauty awards. (Full review here.) After shopping around, I was able to find the Styling Iron for $119 at Drugstore.com. Normally it sells for close to $200.
But if the Styling Iron is out of your price range, you could try the FHI Heat Professional Brush Series ($19.99). Each brush has the same Nano-Fusion technology (tourmaline and nano-silver) as the styling iron, which means you can condition your hair while blow-drying. (Available online at www.fhiheat.com.)
You probably don’t have the time or the extra cash to splurge on a spa facial right now. But you can still have glowing skin.
I’ve tried plenty of expensive products on my sensitive skin, but nothing works better than Aveeno Positively Radiant Cleansing Pads ($7.49). These dual-textured cleansing pads are smooth on one side to remove makeup and textured on the other for gentle exfoliation. Many exfoliating products are too rough for sensitive skin, and many cleansing products dry your skin. But the natural soy in the Aveeno Cleansing Pads leaves your skin smooth and clean without drying or irritation.
Pregnancy can mess with even the most perfect complexion. But the Salicylic acid found in most over-the-counter acne washes may cause birth defects, so many doctors recommend using an acne-wash with an alpha-hydroxy acid instead. Candace and I both used pregnancy safe anti-acne wash. Our fav was the Belli Acne Clearing Facial Wash ($18). (Full review here.)
At $60, the Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Skin Care Starter Kit is the most cost-effective way to try the Origins Plantidote Mega-Mushroom skincare products. You’ll get to try the Plantidote Mega-Mushroom Face Cream, Face Cleanser and (my favorite) Face Serum in the kit– an $82 value. These natural products help reduce fine lines and wrinkles while gently moisturizing sensitive skin.
You may not be getting much sleep, but you don’t need to look sleep-deprived. I use Prescriptives Site Unseen Brightening Concealer (SPF 15) to cover dark undereye circles. This product won an InStyle Best Beauty Buy Award for its ability to reduce fine lines and improve the overall appearance of undereye skin. (Full review here.)
You’ll feel prettier with polished nails. We’ve found pregnancy-safe nail polish that’s Toluene, Formaldehyde and DBP (aka phylate) free. (Full review here.) While I’m a fan of the Rescue Beauty Lounge Nail Polish, I recently tried Peacekeeper Paint Me Grateful. It’s also toluene, formaldehyde and DBP free. And at $10, it’s much cheaper than the Rescue Polish. Plus, all after-tax profits go to charity.
You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile:
Origins Smileage Plus Liptint ($11) softens your lips and has a hint of flattering color for all day wearability. This 95% organic lip tint is formulated with Organic Beeswax, Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Cocoa Butter and Organic Aloe Vera, plus an organic essential oil blend of Tangerine and Lime. No wonder it feels so great!
Go Smile AM and PM Toothpaste Kit ($30) tastes great and polishes away stains (like tea and coffee) to keep your smile white.
Look Like a Hottie:
Mama Mio’s Boob Tube ($38): Celebs like Jessica Alba used Mama Mio’s award-winning bust cream during their pregnancies to keep things perky. Like a push-up bra in a cream, Boob Tube is rich in anti-oxidants and Omegas and helps your skin stay firm and elastic. $1 per Boob Tube sold during the month of October will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Enjoy free standard shipping with coupon code “freeship”.
Don’t have time to do a million situps? Fake a toned tummy with the Yummie Tummie Hip Length Shapewear Tank, one of Oprah’s Favorite Things. You can find the Yummie Tummie at BareNecessities.com ($62-76).
The shapewear at figleaves.com will help you hide those last five pounds of baby weight. Figleaves isn’t selling Bridget Jones-esque grandma panties. The Spanx “Hide & Sleek Slip” (pictured here) slims without looking dowdy. It sells for $72 and is worth every penny. No wonder stars like Katie Holmes and Sienna Miller are also Spanx fans.
Want a chance to win the FHI Heat Platform SE (ARV: $195), which was voted the favorite flat iron in July 2008 by American Salon Magazine readers in the second annual Professional Choice Awards?
To enter, leave a comment on this post by 11:59pm EST on November 30, 2008 letting us know your favorite beauty tip. If you want an additional entry, subscribe to Mamanista’s daily newsletter or monthly newsletter by November 30, 2008 (if you are already subscribed, you are set). (Open to U.S. residents only.)