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Make-Overs for Moms (and Other Busy People): Make-Up and Hair

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Woman in Red Bodice and Her Child by Mary CassattLet’s face it. When it comes to prioritizing all the things we need to get done during a busy day, taking care of our physical appearances is often the first to go. But over time, neglecting ourselves can damage our sense of self-worth, our reputations, our marriages, and our overall well-being. That’s why, as part of my month of self-care, I gave myself a make-over. And, more importantly, I found a beauty routine that fits into my routine and makes the right statement about who I am.

Today’s post is about make-up and hair. Look for Friday’s post about clothes. The advice is aimed at moms, but it applies for any woman who wants to look good without spending too much of her precious time in front of a mirror.


Make-Up for Moms

Whether or not we admit it, women use make-up to send a statement about who they are and what they want. We know heavy eyeliner usually says, “I’m hip, young, and sexy.” Red lipstick says, “I’m classic and alluring.” Sometimes no make-up means, “I’m naturally beautiful and I don’t need any help.” But unfortunately, no make-up most often says, “I’m busy and I can’t be bothered.”

Comic via Alexandra Dal

Comic via Alexandra Dal

My face is the first thing most people notice, so I want to send a warm, welcoming message. As a married mother, I don’t want to attract or seduce anyone. Instead, I want my make-up to say, “I am proud of who I am and happy about my life.” And, to my husband, I want my make-up to say, “I still know I’m a woman and I still care how you think about the way I look.”

I’ve spent some time over the past few weeks researching mommy make-up looks. Here’s the best I’ve found.

  1. Lightly dab tinted moisturizer on your face. In addition to being time consuming, heavy cream foundations are often over-formal or too much for day-to-day wear. Many tinted moisturizers come with some built-in sun protection.
  2. Outline your eyelids in dark, but not necessarily black, eyeliner. The definition will make you look more attentive and awake. Keep the liner thin for an everyday look.
  3. Brush a hint of color over your eyelids. Current fashion dictates that eye shadow should reach only to the brow bone, where the solid part of your skull begins between your eyelid and your eyebrows. Light browns and pale pinks are nice, understated colors. I avoid companies like Mac because their pigments in all colors are just too bright for me.
  4. Use color to add depth to your brows, making your face more expressive and open. Clinique sells an eyebrow shaper powder that I much prefer over traditional eyebrow pencils. This step is probably not necessary for women with darker hair or lighter skin.
  5. Pat powder over your face. Again, keep things fast and simple by avoiding too much color. Use a big brush to pat on just enough powder to keep a sheen off your T-zone and nose.
  6. Finish your lips with tinted lip gloss or chapstick.

Hair for Moms

Hairstyles for moms seem to fall into two camps. We can either cut all our hair off a la a soccer mom hairstyle. Or we can attempt one of the elaborate braided up ‘dos we optimistically pin on Pinterest.

Here are a few alternatives for women in a hurry who want their hair out of their faces, but who want to keep their options open when hair-pulling, messy kids have gone to bed.


The Ballet Bun

  1. Gather your hair into a ponytail half-way up the back of the head or higher. (Any lower and you risk making yourself look older than you are.) Secure the ponytail with a hair elastic.
  2. Tightly twist the hair until it begins to fold into a circle. Continue twisting the ponytail and looping it around itself into a large circle.
  3. Secure the bun. For most women, secure a bun with hairpins or bobby pins. Be sure to pass through the bun into the hair against your scalp to keep the bun secured to your head. Use combs or clips to keep stray hair in place.
  4. If your hair is too thin for a satisfying bun, consider the sock bun, a voluminous bun filled out with a clean, toe-less sock.

The French Twist

  1. Gather your hair into a ponytail at the base of your head. Do not secure the ponytail with a hair elastic.
  2. Loosely twist the hair and fold upwards toward the top of your head. Don’t allow the hair to curl around itself. If your hair is long enough, allow the ends of your hair to fold at the top of your head and follow the ponytail back down your head.
  3. Secure the twist bun with hairpins or bobby pins. Unlike a bun, a French twist has no structure of its own. It will fall apart if you don’t pass through the twist into the hair against your scalp to keep the ‘do secured to your head. You may need to use a lot of pins to keep this one in place, but once you get it up, it will stay all day.

The “Old-Fashioned”

  1. Gather your hair into a ponytail about a third of the way up the back of your head. Secure tightly with a hair elastic. Pull the hair outside of the elastic to tighten.
  2. Gently pull the hair on your scalp closest to the elastic away from your head. Slowly push the hair from the ponytail into the “pocket” you have created in your hair.
  3. Use your hand or a comb to smooth back the hair on top of your head.
  4. Secure the style with combs or hairpins.

What are your go-to make-up looks and hair-styles? Let us know in the comments.

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