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8 Beauty Products I Swear by as a New Mom (and Recommend to All My Sleep-Deprived Friends)

They make me look awake and alive again (even when I definitely am not).
By Sara Gaynes Levy
March 17, 2021
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Four months ago, I had my second baby. In a pandemic. In the wintertime. 

I probably don't need to say that I am tired, which is good, because there really aren't enough words for how exhausted I am. Plus, I recently went back to work writing, making me even more drained. It's not pleasant to feel tired, of course, but in my opinion it's a big bummer to look as tired as you feel. While I thankfully don't have to look presentable logging on to any Zooms with coworkers, I still look at myself in the mirror every day, and it's nice to see a reflection that at least appears to have it together—especially since my postpartum hormones are causing night sweats and hair loss that wreak additional havoc on my appearance (good riddance). Throw it all together with a lack of sleep and I have a recipe for some seriously haggard-looking mornings. 

But still, I'm a big believer in the "fake it til you make it" mentality. And while a great eye cream won't necessarily help anyone in my family sleep through the night, on my second go-around as a new mom, I've figured out a couple of tricks to at least pretend like I feel well-rested. And although I'm no sleep expert, I swear it's true: When you look a little less tired, you feel a little less tired. Below, some of the products that have become necessities in my mom routine (aside from diaper bags and baby carriers, that is).

beauty-products-for-mom-Naturally Serious Zero Baggage Anti-Dark Circle Eye Cream

1
Naturally Serious Zero Baggage Anti-Dark Circle Eye Cream

$24, sephora.com

In the first selfie I posted after coming home from the hospital, the first DM I got was “how do you look so awake!?” The answer: this eye cream. It achieves magical anti-dark circle fighting powers by using actual caffeine, and unlike cold brew, it won’t upset your baby’s tummy if you’re nursing. 

beauty-products-for-mom-Offtesty Headbands

2
Offtesty Headbands

$13, amazon.com

Postpartum hair loss—a common side-effect during the postpartum period where the strands your body held onto during pregnancy begin to shed en masse—may not make you look tired exactly, but it does contribute to an overall, shall we say, disheveled look. I love super-stretchy headbands—with hair loss you want to avoid any hairstyles that are too tight as it can exacerbate the damage—to cover up patchy spots and make me look put together in a snap, no time-intensive hairstyling required.

beauty-products-for-mom-Kristen Ess Style Reviving Dry Shampoo

3
Kristen Ess Style Reviving Dry Shampoo

$14, target.com

Another helpful way to deal with postpartum hair loss is to try to cut back on hair-washing. (Not to mention finding time to wash my hair can be tough anyway.) I revive my unwashed hair with this dry shampoo, which I think has a less cloying smell than others I’ve used, while still retaining that powdery feel that means your dry shampoo is actually working.

beauty-products-for-mom-Milk + Honey Regular Strength Aluminum-Free Deodorant

4
Milk + Honey Regular Strength Aluminum-Free Deodorant

$16, amazon.com

Using clean beauty products postpartum is really important to me, especially since my babe is snuggled up against my body so often. I wanted to switch to an aluminum-free deodorant, but postpartum sweats are intense (sorry, TMI), so whatever I chose really had to be up to the task. Milk + Honey’s aluminum-free deodorant actually makes me feel fresh and clean, and I can rest assured knowing it's free of harmful chemicals. Note: If you’re used to using antiperspirant, that works better. But a trade-off for a more natural formula is one that I’m willing to live with.

beauty-products-for-mom-Winky Lux White Tea Tinted Veil Moisturizer, SPF 30

5
Winky Lux White Tea Tinted Veil Moisturizer SPF 30

$28, amazon.com

I stopped wearing makeup at the beginning of the pandemic, but just because I’m not wearing makeup doesn’t mean I can skip my daily SPF. I am obsessed with this formula: The tinted sheen gives me a fresh, dewy, wake-up glow, smells super fresh, and protects my skin on those rare occasions when I do go outside. 

beauty-products-for-mom-Molton Brown Re-Charge Black Pepper Body Wash

6
Molton Brown Re-Charge Black Pepper Body Wash

$28, amazon.com

“Recharge” is right there in the name— the bright, peppery scent of this body wash does truly give a wakeup kick. Bonus: the fragrance is pretty unisex, so if a tired dad accidentally grabs it he won’t smell like a flower field.

beauty-products-for-mom-Slip Pillowcase

7
Slip Pillowcase

$89, sephora.com

Silk pillowcases are said to help prevent wrinkles, not to mention they feel absolutely heavenly. And since my time in bed is so, so precious these days, feeling luxurious when I lie down sometimes has to sub in for sleeping well. 

beauty-products-for-mom-Honest Beauty Tinted Lip Balm in Summer Melon

8
Honest Beauty Tinted Lip Balm in Summer Melon

$8.99, amazon.com

Not only is this lip balm great for hydrating chapped lips, it also gives my lips juuuust a hint of pink. The pop of color—not too much (which would make me look like I got dressed up to hang out at home in a spit-up stained sweatshirt)—wakes up my whole face in seconds.