Clio Wood is one of those women who has used her experience as a new mum to help other women enjoy it. The &Breathe Postnatal retreats she began in 2015 combine fitness classes, healthy food and pampering treatments with your baby in tow, at the French manoir Clio owns with her husband (and former school friend of mine!). She is now launching the London branch of this genius concept, with mini day-long retreats and workshops closer to home. Here, she shares the products she swears by for her #MUMFACE. GT
“Since becoming a mum I’ve definitely noticed my laughter lines and wrinkles increasing so it’s given me a kick up the bum to take care of my skin. I also make sure to always moisturise my tummy too – all through my pregnancy and ever since. Since it was kind enough to expand with a baby and shrank back down again without complaint, it’s my way of saying thank you to it! My go-to pot of goodness is MOA’s Green Balm – which has a multitude of uses, from lip balm, to stretch mark cream, make up remover, to soothing eczema and sore noses as also for cold sores, small cuts and even baby bottom cream! It’s perfect to just chuck in your bag and take with you wherever you go.
KNACKERED? Yeh, me too. For me, it’s a busy work month combined with going back to pre-school, so late nights and early mornings. In the past it was because I was pregnant and couldn’t sleep, then we had a newborn to feed every hour through every night, then my daughter stopped sleeping again (we’ve experienced ‘sleep regression’ about 8 times) and thrown into the mix there have been countless childhood bugs to interrupt our circadian rhythms.But thankfully I know the tricks of the trade to cheating the system and faking sleep. Here’s the FAST morning routine I fall back on when I’m going to work straight from the school gate…
Foundation is the item I’m most often quizzed over. It’s often the priciest bit of kit you’ll buy but also the one that you wear most often. And if you get it wrong, it’s the worst. But finding the right one depends a bit on your skin and what it’s doing, also what you’re environment is like and what demands you’re placing on this skin perfector. Here’s my cheat sheet to picking the best of what’s out there right now.
HOURGLASS ILLUSION HYALURONIC SKIN TINT – This is a good juicy option, so if your skin is dry to normal, or you’re keen to soften fine lines I recommend this above all else. It is quite a substantial coverage, so it’s possibly not for you if you’re used to tinted moisturiser or BB Cream, but that also means it lasts well.
CHARLOTTE TILBURY MAGIC FOUNDATION – This is a good all-rounder – dewy finish, middling coverage, nice texture to wear. I mix with a little serum if my skin is feeling tight and always pre-soften fine lines with eye cream or serum before applying. I will need a little concealer around the nose and on any blemishes, too. The colour has to be spot-on – get colour matched by someone on counter whose makeup you think is immaculate!
BOURJOIS AIR MATTE – I love Bourgois foundations – Healthy Mix is uncannily similar to a lot of the luxier L’Oreal brands, and performs just as well. When I’m on a budget, it’s my top pick. Air Matte is great if you have an oilier texture. I would still prep the areas that show up dehydration and fine lines – between the eyes, under the eyes, sometimes around the mouth – but it’s got a nice level of coverage without being obvious.
L’OREAL GENIUS MATCH 4-IN-1 FOUNDATION – This is the compact I carry around with me. It truly does adapt to your colour (within reason – you need to be in the right ball park with the shade) and it blends seamlessly to lightly even things out. It takes the edge off my shine in the ‘dewier’ end of the day (aka 3pm) and covers any redness. No need to carry foundation, concealer or powder when you’ve got this on board.
GIORGIO ARMANI FACE FABRIC – I wore this on my wedding day. It is the greatest foundation for that gorgeous glowing summer skin. I didn’t need a primer, powder – just this. It’s not substantial enough for a really bad breakout or the days that follow truly sleep-deprived nights, unless you’re under 30, in my opinion.
I very rarely bother with primers at the moment – I feel if you’re paying a fair whack for your foundation you should expect the best that doesn’t need another level of underpinning, although I know others swear by them – and usually slap foundation on with my fingers for speed’s sake. But I am partial to a blending sponge with all but the Hourglass which is best warmed between clean fingers. At the moment it’s Barely’s Not Your Average Makeup Sponge. The most important part of this whole foundation shebang? The colour. GET COLOUR MATCHED! And by someone who has the right colour on themselves. Or else test it out and walk outside to check it in natural light. Good luck.
Bloody hell. I’ve just recently discovered Wood/Grey and now I need to change everything in my home in order to be happy. Helen Cordy has THE most beautiful taste and brilliant collection of what are now ESSENTIALS in my mind. The cushions! The throws! Also, the gorgeous Herbivore range for bath and body – the Coco Rose Body Polish is enough to send me into a spin. Helen is also a mum, and so here are her top tips on the products that got her through pregnancy and beyond… GT
“My beauty routine has vastly changed in the last few years. I certainly choose my products a lot more carefully, considering the ingredients in a way that I didn’t really do before my pregnancy. Something that’s also changed is the convenience factor; products need to be easy and quick to use as the luxury of time for myself doesn’t really exist anymore between being a mum and running Wood/Grey!
Some friends gave me a lovely care package when I was expecting and that’s how I discovered Bloom and Blossom Indulgence Bath Oil £18. It’s a blend of natural essential oils including Sweet Almond, Ylang Ylang Flower and Lavender and several others. I became totally addicted, it made a huge difference to my skin, with the oil continuing to be absorbed into the skin after the bath.
My make up routine is pretty minimal these days; mascara, loose powder, a little blush/bronzer if needed and the most important one, concealer. I suffer from what must be a pretty common mum problem, dark circles under my eyes! T
he most effective one I’ve found is Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer £22.50. I definitely couldn’t be without this little saviour.
I often end up letting my hair dry naturally as I always run out of time, so my go to hair product is Herbivore Botanicals’ Sea Mist Salt Spray in Coconut £18. It helps create those elusive beach waves and smells truly amazing. All Herbivore products contain only natural ingredients with no fillers of any kind. I’m a real convert.”
In my latest video I reveal the contents of my carry-around-with-me makeup bag – the little pouch I had in the changing bag and now have tucked in my handbag for touch-ups. A very edited version of what I took around with me pre-baby, but who has the upper arm strength for that shit when you’ve also got another human to carry and potentially a buggy/toys/water/ton of nappies. Nowadays it’s the essentials only, thank you very much.
And for me that includes a miniature scent, preferably roll-on. With all the sweat, sick and other unfortunate STANK that comes with being a mum, I like to freshen up with a handy-sized scent now and again. It’s an easy way to lift your mood a wee bit and waft nicely around people, and you can do it one-handedly. Hurrah.
My favourite is Francis Kurkdijan Extrait Apom pour Femme, which at £95 for a set of 4 5ml vials might seem a bit pricy but those little things have lasted me 5 years at last count. A roll on scent tends to last longer than something you’d spritz, and who wants to douse your surroundings (or god forbid, baby) in your precious scent?! I also love the roll-oils from Lola’s Apothecary – as pictured above. Slightly less spendy at £25 for 3x 10ml bottles, you can switch it up depending on your mood, from the relaxing lavender to the downright sexy rose. Or next time you’re stocking up on your signature scent, ask if they do roll-ons. Chanel does, Estee Lauder does, L’Occitane does, even Diptyque does. I’m telling you – it’s all about the roll-on.
I have NAILED it – sorry – and discovered the perfect manicure for mums. If you don’t have time to squeeze in the brilliantly long-lasting CND Shellac treatment, how about a spot of glitter?! I’ll tell you why HERE but rest assured, there are many highly convincing reasons.
I recently chatted to Style’s Sarah Jossel about my own cheat sheet for covering up the fact I’ve had bugger all sleep, something that’s been the standard since I got pregnant 4 and a half years ago. And she put some of my tips into today’s Back to Beauty School segment! So for anyone who’s come this way thanks to her, here’s the link to my WIDE AWAKE EYES video and here’s the MUMFACE IN 10 video too, which also has some wow-I-look-fresher-than-my-baby / I-had-18-hours-sleep cheats. G’MORNING!
In other news, my JUNE LAUNCHES video went live yesterday, where I review the very best products launching next month, featuring some mega brow pencils which I also swear by for looking a bit more perky of a morning.
Nicola Eyre is the inimitably cool powerhouse behind the family concept store, Cissy Wears – from two stores in South East London and the drool-worthy website, and as of Thursday night, a mum-of-four! She also gives me serious tattoo-envy, and is hilarious. While she was still pregnant, Nicola – a savvy beauty aficionado – agreed to review the new offering from MILK Beauty, an at-home pampering service in London. Perfect for MUMFACE – a therapist turns up at your door so you don’t need a babysitter / pregnant-waddle into town. I’m dying for them to set up shop in Sussex. She went for a Shellac Manicure and Pedicure (£80), and THIS is what happened… GT
“Oh the joys of those early days with a new baby. When you’re so tired your bags have bags, your hair is unwashed for a week, and you haven’t showered in days, half the time your skin is dehydrated and the rest of the time you’re soaked in constant hormonal sweat, and that lovely pre-birth manicure your treated yourself to on maternity leave is now ragged, half chewed, and peeling off. Just another thing that makes you feel bad about yourself. Coupled with the fact your hands take such a bashing from the repeated washing and can end up sore and dry, you just can’t keep up with nice nails. But how do you even get out for a manicure now the baby is here?
When I was told about MILK Beauty it sounded perfect. Relaxing beauty treatments in the comfort of your own home. Exactly what I need as a working mother of three (and very soon to be four). My lovely therapist turned up promptly at 7.30pm. I’d wrestled the youngest into bed early with success – hmm, might try that every night – and bribed the other two with Netflix on the iPad upstairs (“Mummy is doing some very important work downstairs so don’t come down and don’t start squabbling”).
By the time I’d got downstairs from my popcorn and warm milk bribery she had set up everything on the lounge floor in front of my sofa. All I had to do was sit back and relax.
First child appears at the door.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m doing a review for a blog”
“No you’re not, you’re getting your nails done”
“Go away, I’m supposed to be relaxing”
Back to concentrating on relaxing and not accidentally kicking my therapist in the face.
Second child appears at the door to have a nosy at what is going on and promptly bursts into tears.
“I want my nails dooooonnneee!”
I manage to stem the flow by letting her pick the colour (or rather just showing her a colour I think she’ll like) and promising that I will do her nails tomorrow.
Back to concentrating on relaxing.
First child appears at the door again. The argument over what to watch cannot be resolved. He throws himself down on the sofa and switches the TV on. Try to concentrate on relaxing over “Night At The Museum 3”.
Husband finally gets home from work. Feel guilty for sitting there having my nails done. Sigh.
All over, my therapist packs away promptly and leaves everything sparkling clean, and me with glossy fingers and toes. She even gives me a removal kit with special acetone nail varnish remover, which I wasn’t expecting, and will be perfect for when I need to remove the Shellac in a few weeks. And let’s be honest, when am I ever going to get the chance to go for a mani/pedi outside of my own home any time soon?”
Shellac Manicure and Pedicure £80 MILK Beauty 020 8525 8991 – for those in the London area only.
Steph is one of those brilliant women who wants to make motherhood – and indeed, womanhood – a nicer hood in which to find yourself. Rather than the wilting flowers that give you one more job to fit into the nappy-feed-rock-clean-soothe cycle of the newborn days, Steph suggests you send your most loved new mothers a kit of things she’ll actually LOVE – magazines, sweet treats, Cook vouchers and beauty products galore. Since launching focused on gifts for new mums, they’ve organically grown for other occasions – thank you, birthday, anytime someone needs a bit of a pick up.Have a browse atDon’t Buy Her Flowers. I’ve already bought several of these boxes and the general response is a tearful ‘ohmygodireallyneededthat-sob-sob-sob’. But yesterday she launched my new fav – the Time Out Box (£91-£201, for London residents only) is for new mums but really, anyone you think deserves or needs a treat, including a voucher for a MILK Beauty treatment. A review for their manicure will be up soon, courtesy of pregnant lady, Nicola of Cissy Wears – suffice it to say, this is something a mum is sure to love. Someone comes to you AT HOME to pamper you in the comfort of your own home, while you feed / eat / snore.
Steph is also a bloody nice woman. If I ever have another kid, I’d like someone to send her round, please. With one of each of her mega boxes. So now, here’s what the woman who is curating the best post-birth gifts uses on that smashing MUMFACE of hers. GT
Seche Vite £11 – I am TERRIBLE at painting my nails. It’s not so much the actual painting, but having the time or patience to dry them properly. I inevitably do them before bed and then fall asleep and they get all smeary. Then Clemmie Hooper told me about Seche Vite. Chuck it on after you’ve painted and they dry super quickly, it smoothes the finish and the colour lasts longer. You can even fix chips with a top up of polish and this. I don’t want to say life-changing, but…
Clarins Instant Concealer £22 – When you have baby-induced eye bags, you need the good shit, and it turns out YSL Touche Eclat is actually a highlighter, so I read about this in Glamour and haven’t looked back.
If I had to choose one favourite treatment, it would have to be a pedicure. I just can’t replicate what they can do in a salon and a bright toe massively lifts big, dry mum feet!
Just as my aim is to redefine the term ‘Mumface’ into the fabulous thing it really is, Zoe de Pass is showing us that ‘dressing like a mum’ should be something to love and embrace, not avoid. She’s all about wearing your most loved pieces on a daily basis and not accepting that you should change your taste in clothes just because you’ve given birth – in her case, to two gorgeous kids. Zoe’s Instagram feed is a smorgasbord of bright colours, sequins, sexy ass jeans and breastfeeding-friendly dungas. She’s inspiring mums to enjoy clothes once more. She also likes a bright lip, and I was dying to hear what she uses…. GT
Since becoming a mother of two I have noticed my skin and face look tired, especially in the early days. I remember looking in the mirror and thinking I looked like a grey alien! So I try to take more care looking after my skin these days. I recently had a facial peel with Dr Mayoni – a mother I met through Mothers Meetings – which helped perk my skin up a lot and since then I have introduced Vitamin C to my routine which has helped with the greyness! I also use Liz Earle Eyebright™ Soothing Eye Lotion as my eyes are now permanently tired. Putting this on in the morning or after I’ve cleansed cools and de-puffs them.
I like Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet lipstick as it’s really easy and quick to put on and it lasts. I’m not very good/neat when I put on lipstick so this is great – its like lipstick for beginners! I heard a bright lip detracts from a tired eye, so I have been wearing lipstick ever since.