I’m well into my second trimester now – 26 weeks to be precise…so actually it would be more accurate to say I’m approaching my third trimester (I’m screaming inwardly) – and on the whole, this pregnancy is going rather well. As long as you don’t include SPD or depression. One thing I am having a problem with, and have been since I first got pregnant, actually since I first got pregnant with The Baby to be precise, is the effect that tiredness and hormones are having on my skin. During my first trimester I was spottier than a glue-sniffing fourteen-year-old. Now, although the spots have cleared a little, thanks to the inability to sleep longer than about three hours at a time, my skin looks grey and dull and I have to sweep the under-eye bags to one side to brush my teeth in a morning. All in all, I look haggard. I tend to take much comfort from the fact that lots of mums look this way, I spit and growl at the ones that don’t, and I actively avoid the magazines I used to devour on a weekly basis as they leave me looking a rather hideous shade of green. But what can I do? Time is tight and energy even tighter.
Luckily, I have managed to source some skincare top tips for tired and busy mums from Rachael Cahalin, a successful make-up artist. She’s also my sister, which means that in actual fact, my skin should be glowing and beautiful as I have access to all her knowledge and products. I’ve clearly missed an opportunity here.
Anyway, Rachael reckons that the first thing to do is to brighten the skin. The two best ways of achieving this are by getting plenty of sleep (hahahaha!) and drinking at least eight glasses of water a day. The second is by far the easiest to accomplish, but still quite a task. A third, and much easier option, is to use a moisturiser containing skin illuminating properties, such as Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, The Sanctuary Illuminating Moisturiser SPF15, and Soap & Glory Bright Here Bright Now Instant Radiance Energy Balm.
Once moisturised, the next thing to do is to cover uneven skin tone, and brighten and de-grey the skin. The best way of doing this is by using a tinted moisturiser, which looks less ‘cakey’ than foundation and takes less time to blend. Some good tinted moisturisers include No 7, Benefit and MAC. Something that I’ve been using recently (thanks to a tip-off from Rache) is BB cream. It’s like a tinted moisturiser, but gives a little more coverage, contains light-reflecting properties and is more hydrating than the original tinted moisturisers. I’m currently using a Garnier one which I’m really pleased with, but apparently lots of companies have their own versions.
The product that I absolutely could not live without since becoming a mum is concealer. Not just because of the aforementioned oversized tote bags that occupy the space below my eyes, but because lack of sleep, forgetting to drink enough, forgetting to eat meals and eating far too many biscuits, not to mention all the hormones that are currently racing around my body, all combine to give me a Very Bad Complexion. Concealer is my life saver when it comes to looking something akin to human. Rachael recommends Clinique Airbrush Concealer for under the eyes, and Benefit Erase Paste for blemishes.
The best way to open and brighten eyes is to apply mascara – waterproof is ideal especially when taking your children swimming or, come summer, a day at the beach or in the garden splashing about in a paddling pool. Or, if like me, you’re pregnant and hormonal and prone to crying at the slightest thing (like the In The Night Garden theme tune. Don’t judge me.)
Some products that Rachael recommends as essential time-savers are:
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour cream – this balm is amazing. I first used it about 12 years ago and I’ve never been without it since. It’s a fabulous lip balm, it can be used to tame unruly eyebrows, used as a sheen on the eyes, and it also rehydrates very dry skin. This is one product I would be truly lost without.
Dry shampoo – this was definitely my best friend just after The Baby was born. It got me through three or four days without having to worry about hair-washing, plus it adds a little bit of volume, which for limp-haired ladies like me, is always a bonus.
Fake tan – I used to be an avid applier of fake tan, but I have to say since having The Baby I’ve just not found the time for the whole shower/exfoliate/moisturise/tan/allow-to-dry regime. It’s just too time consuming, and I feel it’s too self-indulgent. However, moisturisers that contain self-tan are a fab time saving product, and they also tend to give more of a healthy glow, rather than a full-on just-been-in-the-Med-for-a-fortnight look.
So, if you’re feeling in need of a pick-me-up, take ten minutes after showering to apply gradual self-tan moisturiser, some skin brightening BB cream, a little mascara, and cover those dark circles, et voila! You’ll look like a woman who hasn’t missed a night’s sleep in years, even if you can’t actually remember the last time you weren’t up from midnight until 2am and again at 4, and again at 6….
Rachael Cahalin is a freelance make-up artist and nail technician, serving the west midlands and Cheshire. She trained at the School of Make-up in Manchester, and has experience of working in film and theatre, as well as weddings, photo-shoots, and providing make-up lessons. For more information and pictures ‘Like’ and visit Rachael’s Facebook page, or for information regarding appointments and prices, email her on email@example.com.