I received many skincare products mentioned as beauty samples (and others I purchased), but all opinions are my own.
As a new parent, I’m still adjusting to not having much “me time,” and this has manifested into a more mindful beauty regimen overall. However, I rather skip out on sleep before I sacrifice my skincare routine.
Taking very good care of my skin with targeted products is honestly what helps me to cover up the fact that I’m not getting enough rest each night. (Still working on sleep training… and cry it out isn’t my style.)
I find that even when I’m counting the minutes until my son wakes up, or he runs around the corner to catch me in the bathroom, spending my time wisely on a skincare routine that is tailored specifically for my needs is one of my secrets to “managing” it all.
When it comes to the skincare products I use on a daily basis, I try to reach for those that address my main concerns: hyperpigmentation/dark spots and elasticity (the skin’s natural ability to stretch then bounce back). While I do dabble with formulations that are more natural and contain organic ingredients, I just can’t say no to acids. Instead, I try my best to incorporate gentler alternatives, particularly those that are safe for breastfeeding mothers like myself.
Below is my current skincare routine — from morning to evening — and a couple of favorites that I tend to use, whether I’m feeling fancy or frugal.
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Skincare products I currently use in the morning:
Earth Therapeutics Micellar Cleansing Water — If I’m doing the good Lord’s work and washing my face every night before bed, then I don’t need a super deep cleansing when I wake up. So, I like to refresh my face with this product. The bamboo charcoal works to “draw out” any dirt or sweat from my pores, while the tea tree “purifies” and soothes skin. It’s seriously one of the most gentle micellar waters I’ve used yet.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Darker Skin Tones Foam Cleanser — I met THE Dr. Sturm a couple of years ago during a press event for beauty editors. I had heard about the skincare line she created in collaboration with Angela Bassett, and I wanted in on whatever the legendary actress was smoothing onto her seemingly flawless face. Just two pumps of this foam cleanser packs enough power to take my morning face washing beyond micellar water. I love how hydrated to the touch my skin feels right after I’ve rinsed with lukewarm water.
Bolden Skin Brightening Toner — I have none other than my sister-in-beauty Felicia Walker Benson aka ThisThatBeauty to thank for introducing me to Bolden. The black-owned beauty brand, which is available at TARGET, boasts clean, minimal packaging that I can appreciate. And the fact that this toner really works at removing any leftover dirt or lingering makeup is just *chef’s kiss.
Environ Vita Botanical Mela-Fade Serum System — I’ve been truly blessed to live a life that’s mostly acne-free. But pregnancy and postpartum hormones have humbled me with a few sporadic breakouts that sometimes leave behind dark spots. Taking the advice of Rescue Spa Philadelphia esthetician Jillian, I’ve added this two-step treatment for hyperpigmentation (focusing on my chin and lower face area) to my a.m. routine and saw a drastic improvement in just one week.
Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème — The way my genetics are setup, I should have deep, sunken, under-eye bags. But because of prayer and this amazing eye cream, I’ve managed to maintain a “bright eye” look.
Drunk Elephant C-Firma Vitamin C Day Serum — This mama’s skin just doesn’t snapback like it used to, and yes, I’m talking about the skin on my face. The potent combo of l-ascorbic acid and vitamin C is what I refer to as the 1-2 punch I need to firm things up. The immediate results I get once I slather this onto my face, neck and decollete is enough to keep hope alive that I’ll regain the elasticity I once had before spending my evenings hunched over looking at a baby monitor.
Paula’s Choice Youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 50 — I was pretty loyal to one particular sunscreen (more on that below) for quite some time now. But when a sample of this landed on my desk and I applied the silky SPF, I was shook. It went onto my dark complexion without leaving behind any ashy or grayish streaks, and I find it to be a stellar primer for makeup, too.
Skincare products I currently use in the evening:
Bolden Skin Clarifying Cleanser — Listen, when I tell you this cleanser gets the gunk out of my skin, I’m not telling a lie. I like to use this in the shower, massage it onto my face, let it sit for at least 60 seconds and then wash it off. The result? Super clean, but not stripped skin.
Biologique Recherché Lotion P50 PIGM 400 — If you’re a fellow beauty editor/skincare enthusiast, then you’ve likely heard of Biologique Recherché’s cult Lotion P50. When I first got my hands on it, I was working at The Huffington Post and likened it to “Jesus in a bottle” because it was nothing short of a miracle what this powerful exfoliator did for my dull and uneven complexion. But once I became pregnant, I had to put it aside because of the potent antiseptic phenol. Now that I’m breastfeeding, I still can’t use that version. But this one made specifically for hyperpigmentation doesn’t include phenol, is “safer” and does an effective job at clearing up my hormonal skin. It’s worth noting that I will often use this as my toner in both the morning and evening.
Environ Vita Botanical Mela-Fade Serum System — In order to get the best out of this two-step system, I use it in the evenings as well.
Biologique Recherché Creme Contour Des Yeux VIP O2 — I reserve using this luxury eye cream for the p.m. because 1) I’m not rich-rich just fortunate to have access to the finest skincare and 2) I prefer a more richer consistency for the under-eye area at nighttime.
Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream — Retinol is the MVP of a skincare routine, repairing the skin by promoting collagen production, reversing sun damage and reducing signs of aging. I’ve been rocking with this vegan retinol for well over a month now and I like what I see when I look in the mirror.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Darker Skin Tones Face Cream — Even though this facial moisturizer is pretty lightweight, I find that its ample combination of hyaluronic acid, macadamia oil, vitamins B3 and E, squalene and grape seed extract makes it a solid product that leaves my skin feeling and looking more hydrated with every use.
Glow Recipe Watermelon Sleeping Mask — Sarah Lee and Christine Chang, the co-founders behind Glow Recipe, have taken K-beauty to the next level with their line of clean, cruelty-free products. I love that they use common ingredients such as watermelon to help give skin that plump, healthy and hydrated feeling and look. Every single time I apply this face mask before bed, I wake up with the softest skin ever.
Special skincare product shout-outs:
Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels — These eye gels are clutch when I have a shoot or major event and I need to literally mask my eye baggage. I like to wear them while doing my makeup and hair. Then, I peel off and my under-eye area is firmer and well moisturized.
Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30 — The name says it all. Created by and made for black women, this sunscreen is undetectable on melanated mamas like myself. A win-win for me because with a walking/running toddler I’ve got ZERO time to double-check myself for garish sunscreen.
Olay Regenerist Whip Face Moisturizer SPF 25 — Felicia also put me on to this drugstore find. I used it during my pregnancy, and the glow was real thanks to this pillow-soft moisturizer. It also doesn’t hurt that it contains SPF (though I would layer on additional sunscreen).
Dior Capture Youth Serum Collection Plump Filler Age-Delay Plumping Serum — The name is super long but it holds up to it. Trust me. With this extravagant serum, I find that a little goes a long way. I like to gently press it into my skin so that I can savor every single drop.
Natura Bisse Diamond Extreme Mask and Oil — I promise you that I’m not rich-rich, but this skincare duo comes from a brand that Queen Bey herself is rumored to be a fan of. Beyoncé uses Natura Bisse?! Enough said. I add a few drops of oil to the retinol-boosted mask and then massage it onto my face, using long, upward strokes. The next morning, I wake up with the softest, luminous complexion.
m-61 PowerPeel Glow — Another go-to for me, especially when I have a photo shoot or on-air segment, and a breakout is trying to stop my shine. I swipe this exfoliating pad across my face and it works to minimize the appearance of pimples.
Image Skincare Ormedic Balance Conditioning Lip — My handbag aka son’s diaper bag always has about 10 different lip balms bouncing around inside, but nothing compares to this intensely hydrating lip conditioner. Pre- and post-pregnancy, I experienced severely dry lips but this handle that problem ASAP. It’s also highly recommended by my makeup artist/esthetician friend LaKeisha Dale (get into her plush pucker!).
Hey Beauties: Do you have an extensive or edited skincare routine? Are you a mother who has figured out a way to parent and still take pretty good care of your skin? Tell me more in the comments section!