We’ve all heard about sea legs, but little is said about mommy legs. No, not cankles or stretch marks or some of the other less glamorous side effects of pregnancy – I’m talking about those crazy hazy days of adjusting to life with a new baby. When I was still developing my mommy legs, I spent 23 out of every 24 hours cuddling with Lola. I never put her down. This made self maintenance dubious, at best. In those first few weeks, on the rare day that I left the house and put on makeup, I would find myself in bed later, a sleeping baby on my chest, makeup still on. Fortunately, I quickly discovered that the baby wipes I always kept close at hand doubled as makeup remover wipes. Since then, I’ve managed to reclaim a little bit of my personal time, but not much. I may no longer have a baby in my arms, but I’m busier than ever, and so I learned, long ago, that the 17-step skincare routine I had indulged in pre-kids was no longer going to be an option. I needed products that would do the job, and do it quickly.
Fortunately, I’ve discovered plenty of shortcuts in my effort to streamline my skincare routine. Hopefully one of them will work for you!
Step 1: Cleanser/Makeup Remover
Dramatic evening makeup requires a good makeup remover, and my lifelong favorite is still Lancome Effacil and Bifacil, but for everyday makeup, a good gentle cleanser does the trick. It removes all of your makeup without unnecessary wear and tear on the skin. If your makeup is resistant, a microfiber wash cloth will remove any remaining traces.
Step 2: Skin Treatment
When I interviewed famous dermatologist and skincare entrepreneur Dr. Dennis Gross for my book, he told me two things which really stuck with me. Your skin should never be naked; there should always be a product on it that contains active beneficial ingredients. And the other thing is to find a multipurpose skincare product, whether it’s to treat acne or aging, so that you minimize the number of steps and the amount of preservatives you put on your skin. Now, I follow this advice as much out of necessity as anything else. I use an anti-aging product with sunscreen during the day and another one, without sunscreen, for evening. I even use these creams around my eyes (don’t try this with acne products, though), although I do sometimes take the time to apply an additional eye cream.
Step 3: The Rest of You
Most of my pampering happens in the tub or shower. I take a bath in the evening, right after I put my girls to bed, and immediately apply my skincare products. I also use that time to do any other pampering I have time for. I shave. I apply an eye mask. I use a bath oil. Whatever I can do, I do then, and then I’m set for the night. Post-bath, and after I’ve applied my skincare products, I use an all over body firming lotion. Occasionally, I will even take the extra minute to apply bust cream or tummy cream, but most of the time, I skip them. I also have beauty products stashed around the house – a basket next to my bed and another downstairs – so that I can squeeze in a little pampering whenever I have an extra moment. These baskets contain assorted body oils (Fresh, Decleor, Darphin), a lip balm (Darphin, Kiehl’s, EOS), a hand cream (several, but Kanebo Sensai is my favorite), cuticle cream (Dior Creme Abricot), a neutral polish, eye cream, extra face creams, body spray, and whatever else I can think of. (My time may be diminished, but the product obsession remains). This way, I can apply a few last minute pampering products without ever having to get out of bed. (See? Lazy).
Many of your products can do double duty, so think outside the jar. (Or bottle. Or tube.) A sunscreen can double as a hand cream during the day. I use a body lotion on my hands and feet, most of the time, rather than using a separate cream. A beautifully scented body oil can take the place of fragrance. And an unwanted face cream can be put to work as a hand, chest or body cream. What is your favorite way to multitask with your skincare products?