At-home half-hour DIY facial for new mamas

The salons are closed in my country. We don’t know when life will get back to normal. That doesn’t mean compromising on beauty treatments, especially when you’re a new mama and need pampering after pregnancy and birth. Here’s my go-to facial. The steps are based on when I lived in China, where the K-beauty routine is basically standard. This facial takes about half an hour and includes plenty of time while treatments are taking effect to go sort out the baby. ūüėČ

First, set the scene. Light some scented candles or get your oil diffuser going. Put on some relaxing music (I love Enya or Clannad, which is probably my Irish half). Get into your comfiest clothes or dressing gown. And let’s dive into the half-hour facial for new mamas.

Part 1: Cleansing

If you’re wearing make-up, sunscreen, fake tan or anything else you’ve already put on your face today, start with an oil-based cleanser. I discovered these when I was in Japan and they’re soooo good! This one is my current favourite.

Next it’s time for exfoliation. The key to keeping skin looking firm, hydrated and toned all starts with a good exfoliation. This can be a physical exfoliator, such as the St Ives apricot scrub, which I’ve reviewed here (although I don’t know if they’ve changed the recipe due to the microplastics ban… I really need to try this again), or a chemical exfoliator, such as the Nip + Fab glycolic fix exfoliating pads. If your skin needs some serious TLC, I really recommend the Nip+Fab glycolic fix exfoliating scrub, which combines the chemical exfoliator glycolic acid and physical exfoliation for a very thorough skin exfoliation.

Part 2: Face mask

The benefits of a good vitamin face mask cannot be overstated. My favourite is the Dermalogica multi-vitamin power recovery mask, which contains nourishing vitamins and the clinically-proven anti-ageing ingredient retinol (so avoid during pregnancy as it will burn your skin, but it’s fine afterwards). It’s a great dupe for Kim Kardashian’s favourite Chantecaille Bio Lifting Mask, and I haven’t yet found anything else that’s even a fraction as good as these two, so for me, the Dermalogica one is worth the splurge because retinol doesn’t just make you look younger, it actually reverses the effects of ageing.

Keep this on for at least 15 minutes and don’t get any on your baby (retinol, duh) e.g. by kissing them or snuggling them. If you can’t last 15 minutes without a cute baby snuggle, you would be much safer using my homemade breastmilk face mask recipe, which is especially good for acne-prone skin. If you’re not breastfeeding, my avocado face mask recipe literally just requires some mashed avocado. You can actually leave any of these on overnight (my last tube of the Dermalogica mask had this idea as a tip from a skincare expert inside the box and it really works). I have a Japanese silicon face cover for using with wet masks.

Part 3: Cleansing (again)

You need to wash off the face mask. If you’ve made my breastmilk soap recipe, this is the perfect time to use it, as it’s super nourishing and a gentle but effective cleanser. Otherwise, another homemade soap or plain water will work fine.

Part 4: Essence and serum

Grab your favourite K-beauty essence (mine is Innisfree soybean essence in light) and cover your face in it. I have mine in a spray bottle so I can use it as a facial mist.

Once this has dried, I add a thicker serum. I love the It’s Skin Q10 effector serum. I use the dropper to get some on my fingers then I pat it into my face, avoiding my eyelids.

Part 5: Moisture

The last thing is a replenishing moisturising cream. I have a bad track record for my favourite creams getting discontinued. It happened with my favourite Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden one, then the Manuka Doctor one, lastly the Innisfree Soybean one which I never even got around to reviewing, so I’m constantly wandering the beauty aisle like a nomad trying to find the next great cream. I still think there’s a lot to like about the Olay Regenerist 3-Point Cream, which contains matrixyl which is fab for under-eye dark blue circles, although for overall skin care, I prefer the Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream, which I reviewed here in 2016 and, in 2020, my skin’s now four years older (33… wow that went fast!) and I think this cream is better for thirtysomethings than people in their twenties as you get the long-term effects as well as the short-term plumping and moisturising effect.

Finished?

If you haven’t put a lash conditioner on your eyelashes, now is the perfect time.

Don’t forget to pop some hydrating lip balm on your lips to keep them soft! I love using a bit of coconut oil as a quick DIY lip balm.

That’s it for my new mama facial. Did you try this? Let me know in the comments if you want more articles on at-home pampering!

Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream Review

So I read an article about 18 months¬†ago about anti-ageing prevention for those of us in our late twenties. The article had some interesting points that got me thinking about the best anti-ageing strategy for people in our late twenties¬†who haven’t really started getting wrinkles yet. I want to discuss that¬†at some point, but the result was that I bought the Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream last year, then never got a chance to try it, so last week I opened it, which is what I’m going to review¬†in this article.

There’s a lot of hype surrounding this cult beauty product and the information from Elemis’s website says this:

“Clinically proven*, the powerful anti-ageing ingredients of Pro-Collagen Marine Cream have been shown to reduce the depth of wrinkles, improve skin firmness, tone and hydration in 15 days.

The unique Mediterranean algae, Padina Pavonica has been shown to dramatically increase the quantity of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) within the skin. By special cell communication, these water-attracting GAGs are responsible for skin moisturisation, improving suppleness, firmness and elasticity. In addition, Ginkgo Biloba providing superior free-radical protection has been blended with precious Rose and Mimosa Absolutes, thus creating the ultimate anti-ageing cream from ELEMIS.

*Independent Clinical Trials”¬†¬†¬†‚ÄĒ Source:¬†http://www.elemis.com/pro-collagen-marine-cream.html

Of course, those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know I am renowned for being very skeptical of the claims of beauty products (amongst other things), but I had to admit everything Elemis said about their cream was making it look like a really good option. It basically works by causing your body to produce more collagen in the area you’ve put the cream, and since loss of collagen is one of the signs of ageing, it¬†looked to me like it would be¬†a good choice if you’re in your mid twenties or late twenties and want to avoid or delete¬†those first anti-ageing signs. Since I’m not going to throw my disbelief out of the window until I have hard evidence, I decided to try the cream for myself.

I bought a small sample size bottle because it was ¬£30 for a sample or ¬£100 for the full sized jar (the price seems to fluctuate between ¬£80-100), and I didn’t know if it was going to work out or whether I would want lots of it. 15ml was a good size for a sample (the same size as a full-sized tube of eye cream, actually) and I’ve been using it for over a week and I don’t think it’s half-empty yet. The bottle looked like this:

Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream 15ml sample.
Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream 15ml sample.

A couple of points I noticed when I first got it; I really liked the scent of the cream, it was very pleasant and that instantly made me think this was going to be a good product. Secondly, I really liked the consistency. There are a lot of anti-ageing creams, even “entry level” ones that are designed for those of us in our late twenties, which are far too thick and that annoys me because thick creams clog pores and cause breakouts. They’re just not made for normal or breakout-prone skin. Now, usually, I have very clear skin but that’s because I’m incredibly careful about what I put on my face and I stop using anything that causes me issues. The fact of the matter is, I’m prone to breakouts which is exactly why¬†I have to be careful. The Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream had a nice, medium consistency that wasn’t too watery or too thick.

Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream 15ml sample.
Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream on the back of my hand.

The cream rubbed into my face easily and the same can be said for my hand. The two indentations in my hand, btw, came from a rabbit bite a few years ago. I don’t normally use hand cream because I hate having damp/greasy hands, so my hands tend to be less taken care of than other people’s. This cream left no greasy residue whatsoever and I didn’t feel the need to compulsively wash my hands after using this.

After I rubbed it into my hand, the skin looked moisturized and plumper than with nothing on my hands, and the rabbit bite scars looked less bad as well. I tried to take a photo of my hands side by side for comparison but had to give up and just photograph this same hand again. I don’t know if I managed to photograph it very well (holy CRAP it’s hard to take a piccie of your hands):

Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream 15ml sample.
The same hand after rubbing the cream in (I didn’t put any on my fingers, thumb or arm).

When I tried it on my face, the effect was much more subtle (I really couldn’t get a good photo that showed any difference at all) but I could tell it was definitely making a difference, even if I was the only one who could notice it. The only thing I didn’t like was seeing my normal face when the cream washed off before bedtime!! This cream made my face feel a lot more moisturized with absolutely no greasiness, pore-clogging or breakouts. I am not 100% convinced on the anti-ageing properties but one of my friends (who is over 30 and when I mentioned I was doing this review, she told me she loves this Elemis cream) said it can take a couple of¬†weeks for the long-term benefits¬†to show up. I only wish this stuff had an SPF so I could use it more regularly as a day cream.

Conclusion:

This is a very subtle cream, for people who want to prevent ageing or want to get rid of the very first signs of ageing. I didn’t feel that this cream really deserved cult beauty status amongst older women but maybe their skin responds to it differently to how mine did. This cream absolutely did wonders for the back of my hands but the effect was less noticeable on my face. I did like this cream but I’m not sure I’d pay the full ¬£80-100 for it given that I’m currently a full-time student supporting myself from writing. Having said that, if I was earning enough from my writing that ¬£80-100 was a reasonable price point, I would definitely get more of this cream because it made my face look and feel¬†very nice. If you want to buy the full-sized jar of cream, you can get¬†Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream on Amazon (US) or click here to buy a smaller sample from UK Amazon (I obviously don’t know where you live, so check if they ship to you).

Tried this for longer than me? Tried this at a different age? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to find out more about the long-term benefits of Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream!