Photography: Emma Palmer
Ask almost any parent and a lot of them will say that having a baby turns your life upside down and your time is no longer your own. Spending more than five minutes on your beauty routine feels like a rare luxury. No one is more aware of this than Women’s Health UK beauty editor Perdita Nouril.
“In the beginning I felt so knackered all the time that my first thought when waking up (after wondering whether I could sell my baby on eBay) was usually ‘I really can’t be arsed with makeup today’,” says Perdita. “For those first few weeks at home, it was all about simple skincare and beauty rituals that put a spring in my step, like a relaxing bath or painting my nails.”
Two years later with a toddler and a full-time job, Perdita has adapted her routine to ensure it’s time-saving, but just as hard-working. “Once I got into the swing of motherhood and navigating work life, I started to seek out products that boosted my mood but also minimised my routine,” she says. So, which products made the cut and what are her tips for time-pressed parents?
Firstly, Ignore The Mum Guilt
Try to ignore the mum guilt and comparison culture that comes with social media, and just have faith in yourself that you’re doing an incredible job. The rough patches, like the sleep deprivation, teething, sore boobs and endless piles of damp washing don’t last forever. So just keep reminding yourself of that when the going gets tough.
Keep Your Morning Routine Short & Sweet
Mornings can be stressful enough, so I try to keep my skincare routine simple. I use Tata Harper’s gentle Clarifying Cleanser, followed by my eye cream, Allies of Skin Triple Hyaluronic Antioxidant Hydration Serum and then Caudalie Anti-Wrinkle Face Suncare SPF50. Every other day, I’ll use Sunday Riley Good Genes to help keep my skin clear and bright. If I’ve got any hormonal spots I zap them with Kate Somerville’s Eradikate Blemish Treatment. It works wonders.
If You Do Have Time Though, Gua Sha
Being in lockdown has meant that I’m not rushing to leave the house, so I’ve gotten into Gua Sha in a big way, it really helps to de-puff my face first thing and I find it relaxing. I try to do it three times a week and use a Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil to help the Gua Sha tool slide over my face.
Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Makeup
I worship at the altar of makeup. I love peacocking my way through the week, wearing different lipsticks and kaleidoscopic eyeshadows. It’s not about masquerading, or putting on a facade, rather it’s about trying different looks that celebrate exactly who you are at that moment in time.
Makeup is often canned as frolicsome, a sort of ‘pissing in the wind’ narcissism, but there is enormous joy to be found in vivid lipstick, or in the ritual of applying skincare. So, if it makes you feel good and puts a smile on your face, I’m all over it.
Look For Long-Lasting, Hard-Working Formulas
Laura Mercier lipsticks are a game changer, the nib of lipstick is super slim so I can trace the outline of my lips and then fill in. They’ve rendered my lip liners useless. I also love Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector, which has light reflecting pigments that detract from my tired peepers, while a quick dusting of NARS Bronzing Powders warms up my skin.
CC Creams Are A Time-Saver
I’ve found a base product which is a real multi-tasker. Erborian CC Creme SPF 25 is perfect for days when you don’t want to wear a full face of makeup, but still want to protect skin and even it out. Brimming with skincare wizardry, it contains mineral SPF and antioxidants and also cleverly houses black, red and orange pigments that dissolve onto the skin when applied. This means they’re not vulnerable to the oxidation process, remain brighter in colour and can adapt perfectly to your skin shade. It literally melts onto skin and is completely undetectable. When wearing it, I’ve been complimented again and again on how great my skin looks with no make-up. But little do they know…
Out-Source Makeup Maintenance Where Possible
I’ve had my brows microbladed (by the brilliant Sian Dellar) which means I don’t have to bother applying an army of brow products. I usually just swipe through a clear gel to give them a bit of oomph and to hold them in place. I also find applying mascara a bit of a chore, so every now and again I get the LVL Lash Lift Treatment, which allows me to go mascara free for about 10 weeks.
Dry Shampoo Has Many Uses
If I’m leaving the house, one of the last things I do is tip my head upside down and blast Living Proof PhD Dry Shampoo through my hair. I have hair that is able to grow to Rapunzel lengths but is on the thin side so lacks bounce. This is where Living Proof’s particular formula becomes a god send. It revives oily roots that stick to your scalp and gives it bona fide volume and swish.
A Note On Product Storage…
My bathroom cabinet is a teeny tiny, so I keep my cleansers and make-up remover in there and that’s about it. Also, my bathroom tends to steam up quickly, so I avoid keeping skincare with active ingredients in there in case the heat breaks down the formulas.