Who doesn’t love a mani-pedi every now and then, or maybe even a facial or massage? Once you become a mom, though, expensive spa sessions often become a distant memory. Who has time for “me” time when what you really need is to catch up on sleep! And even if you’re one of the few, enviably well-rested mamas out there, you might not have so much disposable income to spend on these kinds of indulgences, what with diapers, baby food and college savings account contributions draining your funds.
But you do need to make a little time for yourself to avoid burnout, not just for you but for your whole family…as the saying goes, “Happy Mama, Happy Baby.” And the good news is you don’t have to invest in spa treatments or even leave the house. Here are four easy ways to pamper yourself during your baby’s naptime.
1. Who is that masked woman?
Lack of sleep, falling asleep without removing your make up or applying your usual facial regimen with excess oil and blemishes from post-partum and breastfeeding-related hormonal changes can leave you with a less-than-peaches-and-cream complexion. Relax, dissolve dull surface cells and remove impurities by applying a facial mask like Alba Botanica’s Hawaiian Papaya Enzyme Facial Mask. While baby is napping, take a warm, relaxing bath and apply the mask, then gently remove. The refreshing, blue-green gel smells like a tropical vacation. Don’t be surprised if people assume the baby started sleeping through the night when they see you afterwards!
2. Mani-pedi, party for one!
I’ll admit it. I’ve seen tiny babies in nail salons, snoozing away in their carseats while their moms get prettied up—but I’ve never attempted a mommy-and-me salon outing myself. With my luck, I’d end up nursing a baby while the aesthetician fussed over my toes. And Murphy’s Law aside, some moms might hesitate before taking an infant into a room filled with toxic fumes. The path of least resistance is to go the DIY route. First gently remove any polish with a gentle, acetone-free product like Honeybee Gardens Nail Polish Remover, then soak hands or feet in warm water infused with a few drops of your favorite essential oils. Next, file, buff and trim as usual, and apply a cuticle oil. Tackle calluses salon-style with Woodward Labs Mycocide (the kit includes a file), then cleanse with a gentle, natural hand soap, such as Jason Pure Natural Hand Soap in Invigorating Rosewater. Next, moisturize with a decadently creamy hand lotion like Weleda Skin Food. Finally, it’s time to have fun! Choose your favorite nail polish color or if you’re feeling really crafty, give yourself a French manicure using Barielle’s 3-piece kit.
3. Happy hair
Oh, how beautiful I would feel today if I still had the voluminous, wavy hair I had when I was pregnant! Alas, once baby arrives, the shine, glory and fullness of pregnancy hair usually gives way to frail, damaged strands—and often postpartum hair loss. And once baby masters that pincher grasp, he’ll likely pull on locks of your hair to keep you close, further adding to the breakage. Give your hair some TLC by using high-quality products, like Avalon Organic Thickening Conditioner with Biotin B-Complex Therapy. If your hair is really in bad, frayed shape, check out Giovannie Nutrafix Hair Reconstructor or use the Andalou Naturals Thinning Hair System, which has argan fruit stem cells. Once a week, you might want to treat your tresses to an algae conditioning mask, such as Aubrey Organics protein-infused mask, which contains amino acids as well as algae and organic shea butter.
4. Eye relief
Alas, you probably don’t need an iPhone filled with baby photos to tell the world you’re a new mom—those dark circles under your eyes reveal the full story. Keep your fatigue a secret by using CSI Vivid Eyes Cucumber Cream. I always have a container of it in my refrigerator so I can apply it cold first thing in the morning, and between that and strong coffee, you’d never know how sleep-deprived I actually am!
Jorie Mark is the Creative Director of Vitacost.com and mother to three children, ages 2 to 10.