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. 😉

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!

Manuka Doctor Api Nourish Night Cream

So I completely put off writing this review for 3 months. Sometimes when I get a product that I was really looking forward to, I can’t wait to review it. This time, however, I was so disappointed and I felt like I wanted to make sure this cream had the fairest hearing it possibly could before I reviewed it.

On that note, I’m going to keep this fairly short and sweet.
1. It didn’t moisturize. For a night cream that’s pretty fatal.
2. It didn’t improve my skin. It was supposed to tighten and tone skin but I found it did nothing. Bee venom usually tingles on the skin; this did nothing.
3. It didn’t have a great texture. It was just too thick, it was more like a near-solidified jelly and it sat on my face like a layer of tile grout or spackle.

Given those three points I decided to stop using it in favor of some of the other creams I’ve been trying on my face lately, such as the Olay Regenerist 3 Point Cream, the Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream, the Manuka Doctor Replenishing Facial Oil, and I’ve even had better results with the bog-standard Aloe Vera Gel from the pharmacy (I can’t remember if I’ve said but this stuff is like plant botox). If I had to rank the Manuka Doctor Api-Nourish Night Cream (with purified bee venom) against all those other creams, it would be at the bottom of the list. I’m not even going to Amazon link it because (and I don’t think I’ve ever said this about a product in the 2 years I’ve had a beauty blog) it was a complete waste of money and didn’t do what they said it would do. Maybe I got a dud, but when cream is £29.99 for a jar, they shouldn’t be making duds.

 

Manuka Doctor Replenishing Facial Oil First Impressions + Review

This is a first impressions and review of the Manuka Doctor Replenishing Facial Oil.
Basically, it’s an oil blend that you rub on your face and it’s supposed to improve the condition of your skin.

Manuka Doctor Replenishing Facial Oil
Manuka Doctor Replenishing Facial Oil

I bought it because my skin suddenly took a turn for the worse about 2 weeks ago and no matter what I do, it just looks dull and unhealthy. I thought I’d try the Manuka Doctor Replenishing Facial Oil to see if it could help my skin perk up a bit. Here’s what it looks like in the packaging:

Manuka Doctor Replenishing Facial Oil

Manuka Doctor are famous for their bee venom products, their logo is a bee with a first aid symbol on its body. Because it’s Dr. Bee, which is freakin’ adorable. Anyway, the Replenishing Facial Oil has no bee venom in, but it does contain oil from the Manuka tree (which of course is where Manuka honey comes from, and Manuka honey is apparently really good for you).

Ingredients:
Hazel seed oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, grape seed oil, wheatgerm oil, rosehip oil, perfume, manuka oil, evening primrose oil, cranberry seed oil, sunflower seed oil, argan oil, borage seed oil, plum seed oil, peach kernel oil, blackcurrant seed oil, raspberry seed oil, tocopheryl acetate, beta-carotene, carrot root extract, carrot seed oil, ascorbyl palmitate, citronellol, coumarin, hydroxyisohexyl-3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde, butylphenyl methylpropional, limonene, linalool, alpha-isomethyl ionone.

As you can see, it’s packed full of goodness.

The scent was sort of flowery but not in-your-face-floral; I quite liked it. The bottle had a nice dropper to make application easy, and it was nice to see how much I was using.

I have normal skin that’s very slightly sensitive, sometimes oily and sometimes dry depending on a range of factors.

On my skin, it spread easily and absorbed after about 10 minutes, leaving my face feeling nice even though I couldn’t see any magical improvements to my skin. Maybe something’s happening at a microscopic level, because after a couple of hours I had to concede that my forehead was looking less washed-out and so were my cheeks. I’m going to try it for a few weeks to see what the longer term benefits are, but overall I’m fairly happy that this oil will replace the macadamia face oil I was previously using (which ran out this week), and if it does a better job than the macadamia oil, I’ll let you all know.

Costs: £16.92 from Amazon UK. That’s how much I paid for it and that’s where I got it from. It’s not available on American Amazon.com but you can get it at Skinstore.com.

Have you tried any Manuka Doctor products? I want to try the night cream with bee venom but I don’t know if I’m brave enough!