Having your hands full with a new baby often means your beauty routine takes a back seat. Between diaper changes, bottle-feeding or breastfeeding, and the desperate need for sleep, you don't have tons of time to invest in a skin-care and makeup regimen anymore, which means it's easy to slip up and make some common beauty mistakes.
Rather than letting your skin pay the price, get back on track with these simple fixes and shortcuts that can streamline your routine -- and help you look more rested than you really are!
You pass out before removing your makeup. We get it -- you're exhausted. But sleeping with your makeup on can clog pores and worsen breakouts. The solution: You need just two minutes and an inexpensive, gentle cleanser to get the job done, according to Ranella Hirsch, M.D., a Boston-based dermatologist, former president of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery, and mom of three. If you truly can't be bothered, use makeup-removing wipes instead.
You're not taking advantage of multitasking products. Even if you don't have time anymore to perfect a smoky eye or lounge around while a face mask does its thing (as if!), you can take care of your skin and look put-together with little effort. The key: Choose beauty products that work double- or even triple-time. "I'm a big believer in multitasking products," says Dr. Hirsch. "It's an easy way to look great when you only have three minutes to get ready in the morning." Dr. Hirsch recommends using a BB cream with an SPF because it hides flaws, delivers moisture and anti-aging ingredients such as peptides to reduce fine lines, and provides sun protection -- all in one product. Follow it up with an eyelash curler to make your eyes pop (mascara optional) and a lip-and-cheek stain for a touch of color, and you're good to go.
You don't have shimmer in your makeup arsenal. Sleep deprivation can leave your skin looking dull and peaked. Counter it by adding a drop or two of a light-reflecting cream -- Dr. Hirsch likes Nars Illuminator in Copacabana -- to your foundation or BB cream for a healthy glow. It will make you look like you got eight hours of uninterrupted shut-eye.
You're slacking off on sunscreen. You wouldn't head out of your house without slathering some sunscreen on your little one, so why would you skimp on sun protection for yourself? Doing so not only shields your skin from the sun's damaging rays, but it also helps prevent hyperpigmentation, including melasma, from getting worse. "Never neglect sun protection," says Dr. Hirsch, who recommends wearing sunblock every day. If you're in a big rush, throw on a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.
You're using retinols too soon. It's great that you want to jump back into your wrinkle-fighting routine with a prescription retinol -- the gold standard anti-aging ingredient -- but you should check with your pediatrician until you're done breastfeeding. "If you're lactating, you want to stay away from vitamin A or its derivatives," says Dr. Hirsch. That's because it's not yet known whether the topical drug is excreted in breast milk. In the meantime, use an antioxidant serum, which Dr. Hirsch notes bolsters sunscreen's effectiveness and helps reduce pigmentation and fine lines, followed by a moisturizer with peptides.
You neglect your nails. Hopping out for an hour-long mani-pedi isn't doable for most new moms, but that doesn't mean you have to forgo nice-looking nails. For a quick fix, Dr. Hirsch recommends a DIY, at-home manicure using Nailtiques Nail Protein strengthening polish. "It's a thickening treatment and gloss that dries super fast and makes you look 'done' even when you're not," she says.