A Mama Less Ordinary: Beauty and the baby

In a series of columns for Grazia, Fashion Director and writer Jade Chilton documents her new life as a mum, minus the mumsy. This week, Jade comes clean about her post-baby beauty fails
A Mama Less Ordinary: Beauty and the baby

Back when I was pregnant four zillion years ago, I was averaging seven baths a week. All my wallowing meant I was taking our DEWA bill up to unseen heights, while I happily blitzed through bottle upon bottle of luxury oil, bath salts and burned all my Neom candles – and honestly, I had never felt so zen.

Pah, how times have changed. My Neal’s Yard arnica-infused bath bubbles and Rituals almond oil have been rapidly replaced with bottles of ‘no-tears’ bubble bath (this should come with disclaimer, there are always tears at bath time), animal bath toys and bunny-shaped flannels. My once precious bathtub has become the new home for a plastic fantastic baby tub and support seat.

One month post-partum and I was a proud owner of a pedicure older than my daughter. My hairline had been invaded by flakes of dry skin, my arms and thighs took on the appearance of a knobbly skinned lizard – small white bumps known as keratosis pilaris – and my face was so thirsty it was absorbing my pot of Crème de la Mer quicker than a Pampers Premium nappy.

In those early days my perfected five-step facial routine was diminished to a sweep of micellar water and, if my skin was lucky, a swish of cleanser. Body moisturiser was a stolen squirt from one of Greta’s paraben-free, organic body milks made from ethically sourced angel tears. And don’t even think about fragrance – my beloved perfume bottles were gathering dust on the top shelf because apparently “you don't want your baby to mistake your natural scent for Chanel Beige parfum.”

Roll on another month and my glossy, bouncy preggo locks were falling out, or rather being tugged out by tiny little fingers, leaving balls of hair around the apartment. Optimistically, my former organised-self had pre-booked a cut and colour two months after Greta’s due date. Ha! Not a chance, mama. It took another month before my mum bum hit the salon seat for hair stylist Maria Dowling to whip my two-inch roots into submission and sympathetically reassure me that the tufts of hair sprouting out of my scalp will be long and lush by the end of the year, but for now I’ll have to make do with a look reminiscent of Cameron Diaz in There’s Something About Mary.

It appears that as you change persona overnight from a glowing mummy-to-be and enter motherhood you shed the old you – and all your hair, moisture and zip to boot. But when the three-month mark hit and Greta could be laid down for longer than five minutes at a time without a crying episode, I decided enough was enough. It was time to hone my beauty regime so I could efficiently look a-ok rather than a dried-up, tired version of my former self.

Since the birth we’ve both powered through so much coconut oil we smell like we should be covered in chocolate, wrapped in blue and white casing and named Bounty. A jar of the tropical organic oil is the ultimate cure-all for mum and baby aliments; it works like a dream on nips, lip, and hips as well as cradle cap and baby acne – yep, this is a ‘thing’, as is a baby menstrual period, but I’ll save that gem for another day.

I’m all about stealing Greta’s bath water after her 6pm soak, I just notch up the temp a few degrees, pluck out any floating broccoli florets or whatever else was served at dinner and luxuriate for five minutes in her Bloom and Blossom lavender-scented bath milk before mummy duties call again.

I think it’s fair to say that Dior’s Capture Youth Plump Filler serum saved my moisture-sapped skin. I’ve diligently applied the hyaluronic acid formula twice daily followed by an equally hard-working moisturiser and my face has been transformed from dull to satisfyingly glowy.

Charlotte Tilbury’s Flawless Filter, meanwhile, has boosted my radiance factor when there’s been no time for foundation, and a generous dab of concealer has disguised many a sleepless night. A few home visits from the Dial A Nail girls have kept my tips and toes trim and painted, and a quick brow groom and lash tint fools most people into thinking I’ve got a grip on this motherhood game.

In reality I’ve cancelled more salon appointments than the ones I’ve actually turned up to, and I ask you not to judge my unkempt brows and messy mum bun when you bump into me in the supermarket aisle searching for Organic Bum Balm. But, like everything else in my former life, my beauty maintenance has become secondary to baby Greta and I wouldn't have it any other way. Except the overgrown roots. They, my darling, will need to come first.

Photo: Jade's own