There’s this fear in young moms that suddenly we’ll lose our youthful glow and age into soccer moms overnight. But I think any mom, of any age, deserves to feel beautiful without wasting her money on miracle creams and overpriced makeup. Because trust me when I say I’ve tried it all (it used to be my job to do so), and I know what works and what doesn’t.
The most important thing any mom can do is eat healthy, drink water, exercise and sleep. (And use sunscreen.) Period. That’s the miracle equation. And since most moms aren’t sleeping as much as they should, carrots won’t cover up our under-eye circles. Water alone won’t clean our faces. So for moms who want to feel more beautiful, here’s where I think you should splurge and where I think you should save:
These splurges obviously aren’t necessities, but rather special little details that can make a big difference.
- I’ve been on a serious lip color kick lately. I always felt too made up with lipstick or gloss, but for some reason I started digging out all of my old abandoned colors and stashing them in my bag along with Noah’s favorite toys. We all need our pick-me-ups, right? (Maybe it was turning 25 that suddenly made me feel adult. Very in need of lip color.) My favorite lipsticks are from Bobbi Brown (smooth, light, pretty colors) and I can’t ignore the power of MAC lipglass. Yes, they’re stickier than the rest, but those pigments! Those unmatched pigments! I like to take a tinted balm or matte lipstick and gently pat lipglass in the center of my lips. It’s not as heavy, but still gives that same great color and shine. Whether you spend a lot or a little, finding the perfect lip color can seriously enhance your mood.
- You really can’t skimp when it comes to face makeup. I still haven’t found my perfect concealer (I stick to the drugstore brands for that), but my all-time favorite tinted moisturizer is from Kiss My Face. It’s light and transparent while still giving even, smooth coverage. It’s not terribly expensive (between $10 and $15), but it landed in my “splurge” category because I’d spend $30 on it. It’s that good.
- The illuminators (from Nars and Benefit) landed in my “splurge” category because you just don’t want a cheap-looking illuminator — which can often lean toward sparkly, disco-looking silver. The face brightening, pink-toned illuminator from Nars and the Eye Bright pencil from Benefit are two of my all-time favorite products. If I had to pick which one is the best, I’d say the Eye Bright pencil, only because it really brightens up your eyes when blended into the inner corners. I even dab it over my under-eye concealer to make my eyes look more awake. It’s a little pricey at $20, but it lasts for so long.
- OPI nailpolish. Unmatched.
When it comes to the basics, I’m a fan of the drugstore.
- Ah, mascara. Let me start by saying that I’ve tried pretty much every mascara out there, and if they were all free than I’d go with Chanel. BUT mascara is certainly not free, and I haven’t seen a dramatic enough change to warrant the staggering price difference. In my opinion, Maybelline has fantastic drugstore mascara. And it’s something you’ll go through so often — why spend more?
- Another beauty product that I’ve tested extensively is face wash. From organic washes to chemical-filled promise-makers, I always went back to Clean + Clear. Again, it’s just not worth the price difference.
- I very much believe in using a moisturizer with an SPF, but that doesn’t mean I need a heavy $75-bottle of miracle cream. I tend to stick to drugstore brands like Aveeno and Olay (whatever is on sale), but if you’re willing to spend a little more on broad-spectrum sun coverage, I highly recommend this one. (And yes, I use an SPF moisturizer and then a tinted moisturizer. I do.)
- When it comes to body lotion, does anyone actually slather on lotion from head to toe? And as long as we have a cabinet full of baby products, why not use them ourselves? My absolute favorite is the calendula lotion from California Baby. Not only did the EWG stamp this product as one of the safest lotions for baby, but it’s also known to drastically improve eczema or extra dry skin. (Hi, ashy elbows.) And I happen to think the calendula has a clean, light smell — so much better than heavily perfumed lotions.
- Bronzer can be tricky, but I always go back to the Physician’s Formula bronzer that I’ve been getting at CVS since high school.
- If you’re looking for the perfect pencil eyeliner, my #1 favorite is Revlon’s Luxurious Color. It goes on smooth (no tugging) without any major smudging. A must-have in my opinion, and available at any drugstore.
P.S.: I’m actually wearing Maybelline Eyestudio Gel Eyeliner (in eggplant) in this picture. I didn’t include it in the round-up because it’s my first time wearing it, and I’m still testing it out. My lipgloss is Bobbi Brown Nectar with a little MAC Pink Poodle on top. (I think it’s Pink Poodle. The name has completely rubbed off by now, but it’s a light pink color.)