I’ve always had a passion for great (and reasonably-priced) beauty products that work really, really well. Believe me, they are hard to find. I just can’t justify spending $50 on shampoo. But I want the one I do use to make my hair look like a million bucks. Throw a baby in the mix and what can I say? I’m a tall order (literally and figuratively—I’m 5’11), but not an impossible one. Here are my current favorites that I’m head-over-heels for all over again. I know they will give you heart eyes, too. (Especially since most are $25 or less!)
As a lifelong long-haired lady, painful combing sessions are basically part of my everyday routine. No biggie. (Hairdresser when I was 5: “Does this hurt?” YES. “Are you ok?” NO.) Now, my son has reached the age when yanking and threading my strands through ten sticky little fingers is his favorite game. YEOWWWW! Thankfully, I recently discovered this fantastical potion when my hairdresser used it on me during my last cut and color. I’d been through 3 or 4 different detanglers that did absolutely NOTHING. This does EVERYTHING—gets out the knots, adds shine, acts as a heat protectant—and this version is built for blondes (It’s an 11?!). I almost laughed when I saw how small the 4oz. bottle was. Like, really, I could pretty much use that in one sitting. But you honestly don’t need that much, and TRUST ME, it’s worth it every drop.
It’s a 10! Miracle Leave-In Conditioner For Blondes $18.99 @ Target
2. Mascara & Eyeliner
You know how in the 50s when women wouldn’t leave the house without red lipstick because it meant you gave up on life? That’s sort of how I feel about eye makeup. Don’t get me wrong. I love lipstick. But without my little magic wand I look like a toddler punched me in the face (ohh…wait.). Like the detanglers, I’ve been through more tubes of mascara than I can count and I’m super picky. That is, until I found this window-to-my-soulmate. It has a separate head at each end and both are necessary: one to separate and lengthen, the other to darken, thicken and voluminize. I promise you it is LIFE-CHANGING. And while there will always be a place in my heart for MAC’s classic Kohl pencils (pour one out), their pot of gel eyeliner that you apply with a brush has completely upended the game. It NEVER SMUDGES. Not even when your baby is slapping you in the eyeball and rubbing his drool all over your face like skin serum.
MAC Haute & Naughty Too Black Lash $22.00 @ MAC
MAC Fluidline $16.50 @ MAC
MAC 266 Small Angle Brush $20.00 @ MAC
3. Eye Cream
Holy undereye circles. I never realized how real and dark those became until after having a LO of my very own. This isn’t a cure-all, but it does go a long way to puff up those sallow black holes and make you look human again. I once saw a quote that said: “My kid looks like a Baby Gap model and I look like a Walking Dead extra.” SO ACCURATE. Plus, they say once you turn 30 it all starts going downhill, so imagine this little pump as a miniature counterweight to that impending terribleness (without having to shoot your face up like Kimmy K). The trick to applying is to use a small dollop on your ring fingers and lightly pat it along said zombie-deep sockets both at night and in the morning, every. single. day.
Arbonne RE9 Advanced Corrective Eye Creme $55.00 @ Arbonne
4. BB Cream
BB Cream is the mom of makeup. The ultimate multitasker—tinted moisturizer, concealer, anti-ager—it’s absolutely foolproof to put on. I do it with one hand at 6:30 in the morning while I’m holding the baby on my lap and he entertains himself in my vanity mirror. It gives you light (but “enough”) coverage and is a great base layer for the rest of your makeup palette… if you’re lucky enough to get that far before your little sweetheart starts wailing and dives headlong towards your bronzer.
L’Oreal Studio Secrets Magic Skin Beautifier $10.99 @ Ulta
That hair falling out after pregnancy thing? It’s real. I thought I dodged a bullet when it still hadn’t happened at almost 2 months post-partum. But, nope! My shower drain looked like a manhole for a Wookie in no time. I buy this conditioner in a 2-to-1 ratio. 2 bottles of conditioner to every bottle of shampoo because I literally slather it over my whole head. It’s sulfate and paraben-free (bonus!) and it’s a true steal price-wise at under $5 (#IRL). The airy, mousse-like cream doesn’t weigh my hair down and leaves it noticeably softer and smoother.
Not Your Mother’s Way To Grow Long & Strong Conditioner $4.79 @ Target
In the wintertime, my skin becomes transparent. Beyond the fairest fair shade of most traditional foundations (Who’s the fairest of them all? ME). I also have dry skin, so anything more than a tinted moisturizer or BB cream makes me look like a french mime. That’s why I about died when I finally found something that is closer to airbrushed perfection than it is makeup. You apply this foundation by drip-dropping a few dots onto a special fluffy brush and moving it in light circles all over your face, blending as you go. The result is a lush, even, dewy glowy-ness that makes you feel more like a goddess and less like you haven’t shaved your legs in 6 weeks. It’s so easy…but just enough work to save it for a date night out or dinner with the girls.
bareMINERALS bareSKIN Pure Brightening Serum Foundation with Broad Spectrum SPF 20 $18.00 @ Sephora
bareMinerals bareSKin Perfecting Face Brush $28.00 @ Sephora
Other than wine, the one thing I can’t seem to get enough of after having a baby is moisture. I’m talking all dry errthing. (See #s 4, 5, 6… all of it). This legit TUB of face lotion is a one-stop shop and you cannot even put enough on.
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream $12.99 @ Drugstore.com
I HATE my hair up. I’m just one of those girls who looks OK with it down, but when I put it up in a ponytail, it just doesn’t work. A braid? maybe. A bun? FOR-GET IT. I even wore my hair down for Prom and my wedding. However, remember all that hair yanking I told you about in #1? Yeah, about that. I keep a couple of these stretchy guys on my wrist at all times so when I pick up the baby, am feeding him, whatever, I throw my wild mane back in a little (albeit unattractive) chignon, and save myself from early baldness at the hands of a feisty 6-month old.
Emi Jay Hair Ties $18.99 @ Nordstrom
The struggle is real when you have to decide between covering the baby’s car seat while you’re carrying it outside in a rainstorm or protecting your blow-out. This little sent-from-heaven spray makes you not have to throw your frizzed out mess up into one of the gadgets from #8. Plus, it smells INCRED. Seriously, I would use it as a perfume.
Living Proof No Frizz Humidity Shield $22.00 @ Sephora
I remember the exact moment cupid Snapchatted an arrow straight at me and I was all “makeup wipes 4L.” It was while I was lying in my hospital bed after giving birth, and I was too sore from my C-section to get up and wash my face. Swipe. Swipe. Done. They also remove (with ease) all of the other stuff I told you to put on your face above. Buy them in the mega box at BJs. Just do it.
Neutrogena Makeup Wipes $9.98 @ BJs
I’m not a body wash user. I’m bar soap all the way. However, after I had my baby, a friend of mine brought over this collection as a “new mom” gift and it is DE-LI-CIOUS. I forgot Bath & Body Works even existed but, lo and behold, they still cater to the girls who used to live on Cucumber Melon back in the day. Thankfully, baby boy is sleeping like a dream right now (please don’t jinx it. Please don’t jinx it), but this relaxing tonic continues to help me unwind in a hot shower right before bed. Ahhhh.
Sleep Lavender Vanilla Lather & Lotion Gift Set $20.00 @ Bath & Body Works
After I used this one day, my mom complimented my makeup. She said I looked really fresh-faced and awake. NEED I SAY MORE PEOPLE!? Gives you a nice rosy cheek like you just went to yoga…even if it was just baby yoga.
NARS Illuminator $30.00 @ Sephora
Because I have zero time for facials. Barely enough time to write this post. AMIRIGHT?
Clarisonic Mia 3/Aria $199.00 @ Clarisonic
Use #1: baby’s butt. Use #2: Soothing Mommy’s chapped hands from endless baths and baby-bottle washings, cracked aching feet, parched lips and rough elbows so they feel like a baby’s butt.
Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Skin Protectant $13.49 @ Diapers.com
What are your long-term loves?
P.S. I’m still ISO an absolutely incredible undereye concealer to add to this list. Who can help?