Standing on the hospital steps, clutching her newborn son, the Duchess of Cambridge looked radiant. Of course, Kate is fortunate to have a privileged lifestyle. But back in the real world, there are plenty of handy products out there to help create a Kate-like glow when new and expecting mums need it.
During pregnancy, whilst some women breeze through it, others are faced with a different set of skincare and beauty concerns. One of the top worries can be stretch marks, affecting more than 50 per cent of pregnant women. Caused by hormonal changes and stretching skin, these can appear as red lines across the abdomen, thighs and back, although the colour can depend on skin type and appear as a bluish purple fading to white.
Stretch marks can fade over time but sometimes don’t disappear completely. And although some women may believe they just have to live with them, there are ways to minimise, or try to prevent them. Taking the time and massaging suitable creams like those rich in Shea Butter can help. If this is something that worries you, then it can be worth starting at the initial stages of pregnancy right through to postnatal.
There are plenty of safe and suitable products, including Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula For Stretch Marks (£5.39) and Bio-Oil, (from £8.99). And in addition to tackling stretch marks, Mama Mio Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Butter (£23) can also help skin elasticity and encourages skin to shrink post-partum.
Pigmentation can also be a by-product of pregnancy. Melasma, also known as the mask of pregnancy is a skin discolouration. It tends to appear on the upper cheeks, forehead, nose and upper lip. Always use a high factor of sunscreen to help prevent this and other irreversible pigmentation.
Products such as Dr Murad’s Intensive-C Radiance Peel (£49.50) contain Vitamin C to help pigmentation. But for those bothered by this, a visit to a skincare expert could help hone a beauty regime specific to your pregnant needs.
Mums-to-be can also find skin more spotty and prone to breakouts. Aim to thoroughly cleanse and moisturise skin morning and night. Avoid spot treatment products that contain high levels of salicylic acid. And if you find your skin to be itchy or dry, avoid hot showers or baths as these could cause further irritation.
Post baby and your pregnancy glow may have vanished thanks to a decrease in hormones. And whilst your little cherub may be a treasure, babies can be exhausting, giving mums tired and dull looking skin.
But there are ways to fake a glow. And this summer, I’ve been a fan of Tom Ford Skin Illuminator (£46), perfect for this very job. It may be expensive, but it will last and last. Use just a small amount on top of foundation, dotting along the cheek bones or where skin catches sunlight. Or, alternatively, mix in a small amount with your base product.
Hide the signs of sleepless nights and new baby fatigue with radiance-boosting products. Next month, Bobbi Brown is launching a new foundation – Luminous Moisturizing Treatment Foundation (£32). It’s specifically designed for dry skin, giving long-lasting added moisturise and has built-in light reflecting technology to give skin a radiant glow. I’m also a fan of Benefit’s Ultra Radiance Facial ReHydrating Mist (£20.50). Spray onto skin, or my preferred method is on top of make-up, to give skin an instant and visible pick-me-up. It also soothes and calms stressed-out skin.
Time saving can also be crucial to busy mums. So opt to use products which do more than one thing such as tinted moisturisers. And reduce the time it takes to dry hair with Paul Mitchell’s Express Style Fast Form cream (£16.50). Some women also find hair thins post-pregnancy. Using a thickening shampoo and conditioner can help.
But above all, with all products whether skincare or makeup, always check they are suitable to use whilst pregnant or breastfeeding. And the advice here is not a medical referral. If in any doubt, consult your midwife or health professional.