Beauty is in the eye of the tired Mum! Here we road-test the best beauty products for ‘Mombies’ everywhere!
If your face is your ‘calling card’, then mine card reads ‘Neglected Mum’! The sleepless nights of having a child coupled with stresses of returning to work have taken their toll on my body.
So over the past month I’ve been slathering myself in goodness, trying the best beauty products on the market to repair and disguise the signs of fatigue – inside and out.
Here I share with you as a Mum, not a beauty blogger, the results…
ALL ABOUT THE EYES
Clarins, Multi-Active Eyes (15ml) – £35.00
7am is not my greatest hour. I’m rushing around to get ready while dealing with a grumpy toddler. Beauty regimes have to be quick and effective. Thankfully Clarins new ‘Multi-Active Eyes’ is just that. It’s cooling cyro metal tip is an instant reviver, as the gel absorbs quickly to the delicate eye area. It’s a great foundation for concealer, although do use a good mascara as smudges are easily absorbed. On the drive to work I actually had to double-take as I noticed a more illuminated eye area. This is a beauty product perfectly designed for women in their 30s, the marketing, the gorgeous pink packaging – it’s all very human and less clinical than its rivals – it spoke to me! Most significant of all though, this is a product that delivers in a fuss-free easy-to-use way, and is now a staple in my daily routine. ★★★★
For more, visit clarins.co.uk
Dermalogica, Multivitamin Power Serum (22ml) – £61.10
With no time for facials, and even less time to look in the mirror, this multivitamin power was the slap in the pores my face needed! Only the smallest amount of this beauty product is required to make an impact. Its texture is quite extraordinary, transforming from a cream to a matte – almost talcum powder-like, and gets to work straight away. Dark circles and pigmentation from the sun benefitted the most, as I saw them fade after about 10 days. It also provided a solid base for my foundation. Packed with Vitamins A, C and E it’s also said to help aid skin recovery and fight lines, something I started to see small signs of after a number of uses. I was also partial to its unexpected lovely sweet smell. This is quite a wonderful find, but with it being at the higher end of the market (price wise), I used it sparingly and where I needed it most. A great find, one I think you’ll like. ★★★★
DHC, Eye Bright (15g) – £17.50
I tried out this product during a few nights of poor sleep with an ill child when I was in need of some serious revitalisation. It’s cool to-the-touch texture is pleasing to the skin and kind to my sensitive eyes. It’s great to ‘dab’ on in the morning as it perked me right up too.
I’m not one for translating the ‘technical bits’ but it appears that water and cucumber are the key ingredients in this eye reviver, which is possibly why it was a little runny to apply. Just the smallest touch is needed.
I found this to be a good product for a subtle ‘pick-me-up’, but not so much for addressing significant eye repair. Nonetheless, good value and well priced. ★★★
Frezyderm, Eye Balm (15ml) – £15.50
A concoction of caffeine, argran oil and escin (anti-inflammatory properties) might sound like a morning beverage, but these are the key ingredients in this soothing eye balm. If you suffer from dry skin this is a good product for you. Soft and supple to apply, it provides a dewy base for your foundation. As with some of their other products, I found it extremely hydrating – possibly to its determent as it took a while to absorb. This is a small drawback when you’re in a morning rush. However, as a cash-strapped Mum, this is affordably priced for a beauty pick-me-up, and a nice little treat to enjoy. ★★★
Skinfix, Brightening Eye Cream (15ml) – £19.99
I’m up for anything that promises to rid dark circles and was keen to put SkinFix to the test. I was attracted to its natural ingredients, including some unusual treats – alfalfa seed extract, red seaweed extract and macadamia oil. You can tell when applying that it’s a gentle product, and only the smallest amount is needed as it spreads easily. I’ll admit that something about it reminded me of spot cream which put me off a little, but I carried on using it twice daily for a week, and started to see some benefits – notably less puffiness. A great product for sensitive skin, but if you’re eyes scream ‘tired Mum’ – you may need something a little stronger. ★★★
For more, visit: skinfixinc.com
Clarins Men, Anti Fatigue Eye Serum (20ml) – £29.50
Judging all men by my husband (sorry guys!), I know that hard work, late nights and children take their toll on your skin as much as ours. Even as a ‘metrosexual’ my husband is guilty of neglecting his skin, and although he wears it well, the signs of being a Dad show around his eyes.
We got to work enlisting the help of Clarins Mens beauty range, specifically targeting the eye area. The gel is light and refreshing, but it can be a little slippery and the pump fiddly. However, these are just small niggles.
Because, after about a week of using it we saw real improvement. True to its claims, the gel lived up to its de-puffing and rejuvenating qualities. The eye area looked brighter and bags were noticeably reduced. I didn’t notice any change in his laughter lines, which is no bad thing as I love them so! His favourite part – the pampering process, obvs! ★★★
For more, visit: clarins.co.uk
Clinique, Repairwear Sculpting Night Cream – £58.00
If there was ever a product designed for time-strapped Mums, this is it. Simply apply to the face, neck and chest before bedtime, and let it work overnight. I also applied just to my face in the morning too.
One of it’s claims is that it can help improve ‘jaw definition’ – I had no idea what this meant until a few weeks on, when dare I say, my face appeared more chiseled! Yes really. I also saw an improvement in the tone of my skin which looked visibly clearer.
The best results however were on my much-neglected décolletage area, which felt taut and revived after just one use. But the best feedback came from a work colleague who commented ‘I don’t know what you’ve done different, but I like it’. And so do I. Enough said! ★★★★
Charlotte Tilbury – Magic Foundation £29.50
As one of the few Mums in my office, I often feel judged by my tired appearance, so this foundation had its work cut out! But, after just one application, my skin lit up and the redness was dialled down. My face looked dewy not tired, illuminated not dehydrated. My skin looked the best version of itself. Maybe I wouldn’t need a facelift after all!
There’s 15 shades to choose from, wherein the magic lies. Find your perfect beauty tone to compliment your natural features, but with a subtle uplift. And while I’m yet to witness any “anti-ageing” benefits (loaded with vitamin c, mushroom extract and collagen boosting properties), I expect its SPF15 is a high contributor. Wrinkles actually looked less deep and the luminosity of my skin can only be compared to a post-holiday glow, with flawless all-day coverage. I have fallen head over wrinkles for this foundation, it’s my new favourite product! ★★★★★
For more visit: charlottetilbury.com
Dermalogica, Daily Superfoliant (57g) – £55.00
I was excited to try one of Dermalogica’s latest must-have products, especially as it targets damage caused by environmental triggers. I work in the city and am always outdoors with my toddler, so polluted air, filthy trains and low-emissions affect me.
The product is served in an industrial size pot, containing mysterious silver granules – somewhere between dust and sand. The instructions ask you to dispense into a spoon then rub on very wet hands. Failing to do this on my first attempt I put it straight on my hands and absolutely loads came out, inhaling unknown quantities of cleansing powder! Don’t make that mistake – this is expensive stuff, even if it’s very generously sized.
Forming a grey scrub-come-liquid, it lathers on to your face for a quick beauty scrub. Results weren’t dramatic, but my skin did feel and look thoroughly cleansed and healthier. It was also a nice prelude to Dermalogica’s multivitamin power serum (see above). The only drawback as a Mum, is that there’s a bit of effort involved if you’re pushed for time.★★★
For more, visit: dermalogica.co.uk
DHC, Beauty Lift Essence (50ml) – £35.00
It’s time to believe the hype about this cult Japanese product. The silky smooth face cream/serum glosses on effortlessly with instant results. I can only describe it as feeling and looking airbrushed! It had me from the get-go.
Also a great base before applying foundation, it helps keep your make-up on all day, with a subtle fresh glow. Even on the nights where I had such terrible sleep and had been bashed about by my toddler, this helped nourish my skin and lift its appearance.
Quick and easy to apply, I love everything about Beauty Lift Essence. Minimal fuss, maximum results – this is what midwives should be dishing out before you leave the hospital with a baby! I will never stop using this. ★★★★★
For more, visit: dhcuck.co.uk
Dermalogica, Sheer Tint (40ml) – £34.80
Since becoming a parent I spend more time outdoors than ever before, which has made me extremely conscious of UV damage. It’s therefore a prerequisite for my ‘foundation’ to include sun protection, such as this sheer tint which has SPF 20.
Somewhere between sun cream and a foundation, this product has ‘it all’, and is one of those rare finds that you know you will keep on using forever.
The product is easy to apply with a light but slightly oily texture. Note that if you apply powder blusher or products after, they show up even more dramatically.
I opted for the light tone, which I think could apply to a wide range of pale complexations as it offers just the mere hint of colour. It instantly evened out my skin tone and softened my dull complexation with its light tint. A really quick and efficient way to perk up your skin and an ideal daily fix for outdoor Mums. ★★★★
For more, visit: Dermalogicia.co.uk
Lancome, Advanced Genifique – Youth Activating Concentrate (30ml) – £59.00
If like me, you yearn for blemish and crinkle free skin like your baby, then a dose of Lancome’s No.1 serum could be the answer. I was hugely impressed with this luxurious product, that delivers on many of its promises. Beautifully presented in a stylish glass pot (with a satisfying click when locked), it comes with a pipet allowing you to measure only what you need – one or two droplets will suffice.
This powerhouse of a product gets to work immediately. You can literally feel your skin tightening and lifting, offering a healthy, beautiful and radiant appearance within minutes. I love the texture too. Having trialled lots of products lately, I can honestly say serums are my favourite – the right side of hydrating, without being greasy or thick. It is best used after cleansing and before moisturising.
While this may command a high price tag, it offers many skin solutions. After about a week of using it night and day, my skin was softer and my crows feet appeared less obvious. But best of all – the elasticity of my skin had really improved.
It is no surprise that this powerful little potion has received over 150 awards worldwide, it’s as close as you can get to a facelift without surgery! ★★★★★
For more, visit: Lancome.co.uk
Frezyderm, Moisturing Plus (50ml) – £19.50 and Frezyderm, Revitalizing Serum (30ml) – £24.50
You may be forgiven for not knowing Frezyderm. It has been a huge hit in its home of Greece for the past 30 years, and is now making its way to the UK. Presented in chunky test tubes with pumps that are tricky to use, it sadly detracts from what is a considered product. First up – the moisturising cream may look and feel like milk, but it gives a reassuring ‘sting’ when applied. And gosh does your skin feel seriously moisturised as soon as it goes on. In my case it was a little too rich and greasy, so I’d recommend this for very dry skin types. ★★
The Revitalizing Serum however, was right up my street. Just one squirt was enough to instantly invigorate and hydrate my skin, leaving it feel tighter and brighter within minutes. It also makes a great base for concealer, offering a confident glow under your foundation. It wasn’t until I found myself in the unforgiving toilets at work that I saw the uplift it gave. My son might have aged me years, but this serum has counteracted some of it. ★★★★
For more, visit: Frezyderm.com
Bumble and Bumble, Repair Blow Dry Balm, (60ml) – £12.00
My frizzball excuse of hair is in dire need of revival from months of neglect. I was hoping this could be the product to bring some beauty back to my lacklustre locks. It’s said to banish dry hair and split ends – but this must take time, as I didn’t see results instantly.
However, I did notices straight away how much smoother my hair felt and looked – there is something to be said for its ‘defrizzing’ properties. But what I liked most about this product is that it doesn’t take much effort, which is important when you have a busy life. Simply gloss on and let your hairdryer get to work as it’s heat activated. This is a good value product for busy Mum’s with not enough time on their hands in need of a hair revival. ★★★
For more, visit: bumbleandbumble.co.uk
KMS, California FreeShape Quick Blow Dry (200ml) – £14.00
As a parent, you can’t put a price on time, so anything that claims to save it, is something I need to have!
KMS ‘FreeShape’ claims to speed up hair drying time by 50% with this innovative spritz, so I had to put it to the test. After washing hair you just simply towel dry, then shake the bottle and spray on. The sweet scent instantly hits you, but doesn’t linger.
The spritz is light and fragrent and gave my hair a lovely shine – something that is not very easy with my wavy locks. While I can say that it did speed up drying time somewhat, I also noticed that it dried my hair out too, although I am prone to dry hair.
That all said, I like the concept – KMS are on to something here.★★
For more, visit: Kmscalifornia.com
FROM THE INSIDE OUT
Neal’s Yard Remedies, Eat Beautiful – £16.99
As any parent will tell you, when children come along your own welfare takes a backseat. But months of living off haribo and my son’s leftovers are starting to show. And while make-up goes a long way to hide a magnitude of Motherly sins, if there’s a way of prolonging the elixir of youth from my diet, I’d like to try it.
Just launched, Neal’s Yard’s latest book ‘Eat Beautiful’ couldn’t have landed on my doorstep at a better time.
The first half of the book is a fascinating and enlightening read, showing the relationship between body and food. Chow down on chai seeds for stretch marks, eat Watermelon to tackle fine lines and get on the Chamomile tea for greasy hair, are all things I discovered. There’s also some great sections on the right foods to eat for your age, as well as superfoods to tackle different ailments, making this a suitable read for any age.
For its second-course, the latter end of the book serves up a hearty delight of inspiring recipes for beauty. Some are quick to rustle up, others take planning – but none lack in taste, with delicious treats including ‘Hot Nuts’ and ‘Sweet Green Ice Cream’.
Eat Beautiful is a great book for anyone looking to recover their diet, and introduce super foods to boost you from the inside out. It made me think differently about how I treat myself, and the importance of thinking about ‘beauty’ long-term, and as something I can influence. A really inspiring read. ★★★★★
Neal’s Yard Remedies, ‘Eat Beautiful’ is published by DK and available in all good stores on 1 March, visit dk.com
BetterYou, Boost B12 Vitamin Spray – £11.95
I couldn’t write this feature without considering products that can boost you from the inside out. Since becoming a Mum, I take daily supplements and probiotics, and am converted to their benefits. But ‘BetterYou’ promise even more from vitamin sprays, which have been scientifically proven to absorb faster, proving superior to tablets and capsules.
It’s quick to use – four fruity sprays in the inside of your mouth is all the effort you need to reap the benefits of B12. These include combating many of the ‘side affects’ of being a parent – tiredness and fatigue and aiding concentration.
I have always taken vitamins, but I much prefer the option to spray than to swallow. I was also stunned, when my husband and son came down with a cold, that somehow I never got – that must be a first! Whether it has anything to do with this added boost, I don’t know, but I’m sure it helped.
As someone who can’t take iron supplements, I was thrilled to find an alternative vitamin, and one that worked. Best of all, I liked the convenience and ease of spraying, so much that I’ll be ditching the pill forms for these from now on. ★★★★
For more, visit: betteryou.com also available at Holland and Barrett.
Well there you have it. The best books, beauty products, creams, sprays and serums to get you through the journey of parenthood. There are some excellent products on the market with innovations in technology improving cosmetics every day. But it also made me consider how you treat your body reflects in your appearance. Eating junk, late nights and one too many Friday night proseco’s have been unkind on my skin. I hope you’ve found this useful, I’d love to know your feedback and any suggestions on products I could test for you next…
Milk Drunk Diary is an editorial blogzine based in the UK. We buy, borrow and receive products to test and review. Our opinions are always honest and our own.
If you like what you see and want to buy as a coffee, sure go ahead – mwah!