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!

Discontinued? Sanctuary Spa Active Reverse Peptide Protect Day Cream SPF 20

What do you do when when you think a shop has¬†discontinued one of your favourite face creams? I had finished one full jar of the Sanctuary Spa Active Reverse Peptide Protect Day Cream SPF 20 and I’d actually even gotten all the cream off the sides and bottom of the jar. I don’t normally do that, but it was still good and I hadn’t gotten round to buying a new jar yet. I like to rotate products to get multiple benefits, which means¬†I’ve been using it one or two times¬†a week since about August 2015, so it was time to get a new one. It was an integral part of my skincare routine for just over a year, so even though I got it for ¬£10 on offer, I could justify¬†paying full price of ¬£20 this time.

I went to Boots….

And they didn’t have it. They had replaced their entire Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden range of products with new ones. Only they hadn’t replaced the Peptide Protect Day Cream SPF 20 with anything. I checked Sanctuary’s website and there was no mention of the Sanctuary Spa Active Reverse Peptide Protect Day Cream; it’s been discontinued, clearly. And now it’s selling on Amazon for stupid amounts of money. I’m annoyed it’s been discontinued without warning, and that there’s nothing online telling me what to try instead (and of course, the pre-Christmas party season is such a bad time for this to happen!!!), so I decided to do my own investigating.

Firstly, I’m not going to buy discontinued cream, because while I’m sad it’s been discontinued, it’s not a good enough product to cost that much (it’ll only keep getting more expensive if it’s not being made, and it will expire/go inactive, so there’s no point clinging to the past), especially since I only use it once or twice a week, so I thought it was a good time to try some new things.

I’ve decided it’s time to bite the bullet and go for the retinol creams. After all, some websites suggest you should be starting retinol in your late twenties, and I’ve just turned 30 less than a month ago, so it’s time to try it. I like the look of the ROC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream (that’s for UK Amazon, and holy COW that cream’s cheaper in the US) so I’ve ordered a tube and let’s see how it performs on early expression lines and general skin quality.

A big beauty concern for me is keeping my blue circles under control, and the Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden was one of the ways I did that, because one of the main ingredients in the Sanctuary Spa Active Reverse Peptide Protect Day Cream was Matrixyl, a peptide (Matrixyl is palmitoyl pentapeptide-4), which helps get rid of under-eye circles¬†in combination with allergy remedies, and Matrixyl is also in the Olay Regenerist 3 Point (which I keep meaning to review), so since it’s also a peptide cream, I might switch to that more regularly for my peptide fix; if Olay Regenerist 3 point had an SPF, this would be my everyday day cream, but the reason the Sanctuary one was so good was because it had SPF20.

I’ve said before that wearing a daily SPF is so important for good skincare, not least because it prevents dark¬†circles, which are¬†caused by¬†sun exposure and ageing. I already fight blue circles on a regular basis; I don’t want to be grappling with brown ones, too!¬†Since the ROC retinol cream (a night cream) might make my skin photosensitive, I’ve decided to splurge on the Age Smart by Dermalogica Active Skin Recovery, which is SPF50. I will let you know how it all goes.

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