Her Royal Highness Kate emerged from St Mary’s hospital (where, coincindentally, I was born 53 years ago) looking so remarkably refreshed that it was hard to believe she had just been through labor. Perhaps her notorious $37,000 beauty regimen and the wondrous Royal Nectar bee venom mask have paid off. Still, Kate will be facing a whole host of postpartum beauty issues and so inspired this post.
For a start, there are a few things that Kate should ideally try to avoid. For example, the FDA has specifically advised nursing mothers to avoid phenoxyethanol and chlorphenesin. This isn’t easy as these preservatives are fairly ubiquitous and made my selections for a postpartum beauty regimen especially challenging.
Sleep deprivation is the hallmark of early motherhood and Kate will be in need of a good eye cream. The preservative issue can be avoided entirely with Sevani Ageless Eyes Revitalizing Serum ($54 in the shop). This got two thumbs up from pregnant reviewer Kim, who gave this verdict: “There is not a single thing not to like in this serum. And I think it is perfect for women in their 30s. It will absolutely help keep the delicate skin around your eyes nourished and very healthy.” It has evening primrose, an anti-inflammatory, sea buckthorn, which is high in vitamins A and C, pomegranate seed oil, a powerful antioxidant, and argan oil.
Puffy eyes and dark circles respond well to Skinfinite’s LOL eye cream ($45 in the shop), one of our top reader recommendations. As Linda put it: “I cannot live without my LOL... after a month there is such a huge improvement with my dark circles and the lines around my eyes. For anyone who is tired of looking tired, this product is a must!”
One of the more distressing postpartum symptoms is hair loss caused by extreme hormonal change. Between one to five months after delivery, telogen effluvium – the excessive shedding of hair – may occur. Actually this is not uncommon, afflicting 40 percent to 50 percent of new mothers. (Read more on postpartum hair loss.) Generally, postpartum hair loss is short-lived. After delivery, when those aforementioned estrogen levels return to normal, the hair may fall out all at once but then gradually return – this can take from six to 12 months – to the usual cycle of growth, resting and shedding. (Read more on how hair grows.)
I’m ready to send Kate my own solution, Hair Vitality Complex ($49 in the shop). Come to think of it, I'll send an extra bottle for Will! This hair serum uses copper peptides and vitamin B to encourage healthy hair growth. The companion Hair Vitality Shampoo ($35 in the shop) and Hair Vitality Conditioner ($44 in the shop) increase volume and reduce shedding – naturally with no nasties. Watch my video on the Hair Vitality collection.
With her hair back to its former glory, lovely Kate may find that she has that other scourge of mommydom to contend with: stretch marks. Fortunately help is at hand with Osmotics Blue Copper 5 Age Repair Body Lift ($95), with which our reviewer reported a 72% improvement in stretch marks – see her before and after pictures. As well as skin repairing copper peptides and Matrixyl 3000, there’s rutin, an ingredient that helps mend broken veins.
Getting back into shape is greatly assisted by the Bar Method, the most efficient exercise program I have come across for reshaping the body. With a DVD, the exercises can be done at home (no bar needed) without having to make arrangements for a sitter. Check out the Reshape and Repair set – a bundle of two Bar Method DVDs to which we’ve thrown in some anti-cellulite cream. Extra firming and tightening of those stubborn areas is child’s play with regular use of a decent home LED and ultrasound device, such as Ultra Renew Sculpt ($129) with FAR infra-red light and ultrasonic. It is believed that FIR helps with slimming by encouraging mitochondria in cells to produce more energy, in turn increasing metabolism and burning more calories. I haven’t come across a ton of evidence for this, but did find a study that claimed good results on cellulite from infrared combined with radio frequency.
The “pregnancy mask” aka melasma affects 50% of pregnant women and is tricky thing to treat given how controversial so many skin-lightening ingredients are. When in doubt, postpone the big guns until no longer breast feeding and in the meantime use some all-natural skin brighteners and revitalizers such as La Vie Celeste Restorative Exfoliating Gel Mask ($60 in the shop). It is one of my all-time favorite products for refreshing the complexion and, with regular use, will help with mild hyperpigmentation. With a 5% concentration of glycolic in a soothing base of organic aloe, this lovely mask is given a helping hand by exfoliating bamboo grains, licorice and bearberry extract (this is loaded with alpha arbutin, a natural – and safer – hydroquinone). Organically sourced antioxidants include white tea (supposedly better than green tea) and melon. Gentle, but more effective than other 5% glycolic formulations that I have tried. Read the full review.
Snowberry’s cutesy packaging is as cheerful as a nursery and its Bright Defence Face Serum ($69) has a slow-release form of vitamin C known as ascorbic acidg2-glucoside or AA2G™. AA2G is also known to effectively reduce the amount of pre-existing melanin. The formulation also includes Chromabright and ODA White to further reduce discoloration.
With all of this, any postpartum mother will feel like a queen.