Becoming a mother will change your life. Time is suddenly not your own and your whole world becomes about keeping another human being well fed, well slept, well burped and well mannered (read: alive).
Trips to the spa, hairdressers, and waxing salon become few and far between—and you can forget about that all important me-time. So, how do you keep that balance between childcare and self-care? What role does beauty have when your life is about someone else? From models Alessandra Ambrosio and Chanel Iman, and superstar entrepreneurs Jessica Alba and Victoria Beckham, to tennis champion Serena Williams and designer Rejina Pyo, we spoke to 19 mothers about how their relationship with beauty and self-care changed since having children.
1 / 19
Actor and founder of Honest Beauty
“I still try to practise self-care as much as possible, but now it’s about improvising, getting it in when and where I can, and doing more at-home treatments (which can be just as luxurious). I try to create a spa-like environment in my bathroom and I’ve recently started making my own body scrubs.
“My girls, Honor and Haven, are old enough to join me in beauty treatments. For them, it’s not about the treatment per se, but about the fun activity that they can do with Mom. We love to do masks together for mother-daughter bonding time. Since we use Honest Beauty, I don’t worry about the ingredients because I know they’re clean and I trust the formulas for my family.”
2 / 19
“I have always been really into taking care of my skin—my mother taught us that at a young age. But I like to keep it simple. [My daughter] Olympia loves to join me during my skincare routine. That’s our thing. She recently started painting her nails—we use a non-toxic peel-off polish so it’s safe for her.
“Lately, I’ve been mindful of how the food I eat can affect my skin. Olympia and I have been spending a lot more time in the kitchen during quarantine. We’ve been making food, but we’ve also been playing around with different beauty remedies using natural ingredients.”
3 / 19
Designer and founder of Victoria Beckham Beauty
“I definitely used to have more time to spend on beauty and self-care in general. Now, four children later, I need products and routines that I can rely on — they have to perform because I don’t have the same luxury of time to play around with. My interest in clean ingredients really started after having children. I would never want to use anything harmful on them, so I started researching the ingredients. That’s why it was so important to formulate all Victoria Beckham Beauty products to the highest standards of clean [beauty].
“I have always taught my children to be kind to themselves and explore what makes them feel their best. For Harper, that’s ‘mummy and me’ spa days — she loves a good face mask.”
4 / 19
Model and founder of KORA Organics
“Self-care is something that’s always been a priority for me, but I definitely have less time now with three kids. I used to be able to spend more time on makeup, hair, beauty treatments, skincare routines—however now, it’s all about getting the best results out of the limited time I have available.
“I hope to teach my children that there is beauty in everything and everyone. I hope to teach them to focus on the beauty inside yourself and others, [rather] than what’s on the outside. I hope to teach them that being healthy is beautiful.”
5 / 19
“Before I had children I had nothing but time, and then I had no time so I couldn’t take care of myself in the same way as I was used to. My kids are my priority now. [But] I now have a nanny, so I can work out, do cardio. It’s difficult because I still have to maintain a nice figure for what I do. I try to find the time to get myself together. Once a week, I’ll [do] my hair and make sure I have a little makeup on so [my husband and I] can go on a date.”
6 / 19
“Self-care was always important to me, not only because it was my job to look good, but for me to reward myself for working hard and for my overall wellbeing. [Since having kids] the time I have for myself is few and far between, but it’s still important as a mother to feel good. Being a mum is not a glamorous job, but it is fulfilling, so I find that time when necessary.
“I love a sheet mask, but I have to do them when my kids are sleeping or they try to pull them off and play with them. There is a stage in motherhood—more like a couple of years—when you feel guilty for taking time for yourself. It’s just a natural feeling when they are so young and dependent I guess. So I do my beauty rituals at night after they go to bed.”
7 / 19
“Becoming a mother changes everything. Beauty and self-care go out the window sometimes. But as my two daughters have gotten older, I’ve realised that they copy a lot of what I do and my habits, and it’s important for me to make sure they’re copying good ones. I let them experiment with my makeup, masks and creams, as many kids do, but I try to teach them to love the skin they’re in and eat healthily for their bodies and to also practise positive mental wellness through meditation.”
8 / 19
“I loved experimenting with makeup when I was a teenager, but in my twenties, when I was working all the time, I kind of lost interest as I had my makeup done every day at work. My priorities have changed, and if I had to choose between having my roots touched up and hanging out with my son, I’d always choose him. Although now that he’s bigger and back at school, there is a lot more opportunity for self-care.”
9 / 19
“Before having children, my days were less structured and my beauty routine was slightly more ad hoc. I have definitely become more aware of my body and skin since having children. I have two boys and they love watching me put on makeup in the evening. They watch with wonder and love, touching all of the brushes.”
10 / 19
“At the beginning, when I was at home with a very young baby, I didn’t really care about beauty, and self-care went out the window. Washing my face and moisturising was the height of my skincare regime. As my son got a bit older and I stopped breastfeeding, I did feel a shift — I wanted to look after my skin and body.
“Having a child makes your brain so much busier as you are constantly thinking about every aspect of their wellbeing, on top of your own work and life. [But] I also feel like I can learn a lot about self-care from spending time with my toddler, as he is naturally present in the moment, and learning how to play like a child again can be so joyful.”
11 / 19
“It’s important to know that you don’t have to lose your glamour when you become a mother. Instead you become more enhanced, your body is more beautiful, you get to know your body more and you feel stronger. Before, I used to dress up all the time and then there was not only one of me, there was another one, my daughter, who I could play with.”
12 / 19
“I’ve always tried to keep my beauty routine as simple as possible and that didn’t change when I had my kids. What I’ve focused on since having kids is creating time to take care of myself. Even if it’s just 15 minutes in the morning for meditation, stretching or yoga — it helps me get centred and ready to conquer whatever the day is bringing my way.
“Additionally, I make sure that I teach my kids the importance of taking care of themselves, so every morning we make delicious juices together and try to do some kind of outdoor activity.”
13 / 19
“I didn’t think that I focused on beauty that much before having my son, but I’ve realised that wasn’t true, as now I can’t do most things because I don’t have time and I need to make everything quick and efficient.
“On the other hand, it also helped me to focus on the important stuff and anything that I have tried and didn’t feel like I’m cutting out. I definitely care less about how I look, but that’s also the good part. You don’t have the time to obsess or even sometimes to look in the mirror.”
14 / 19
“I come from a world of modelling; I’ve always cared about what I look like. I love a product. With kids, it’s not that I cared less, it’s that I got quicker. Now I just have a simple uniform. My kids see me taking care of my skin and exercising, just like how I used to watch my mother doing Jane Fonda exercises.”
15 / 19
Designer and founder of Shrimps
“Before having my son, I definitely had more time. I would often have facials either at Pfeffer Sal or Vaishaly, and I had a lot more time for treatments such as acupuncture and reflexology. I would say that, even more so now, I only want to use natural and cruelty-free products. Self-care wise, I have a lot less time, but I’m hoping once my son gets a little older—he is only six weeks old—I can start having treatments again.”
16 / 19
Founder of Beautystack
“I had no real relationship with self-care prior to my son. When I was younger, my work and my private life were all blurred into one, there was no downtime. Self-care and restoring my energy became important to me because I wanted to be an active mum.
“It’s proven that people can cope with high levels of stress provided they have recovery time. When Roman was a small baby, I would sleep whenever he slept, eat cleanly and not drink alcohol because I wanted to be at my best, most energetic self for him.”
17 / 19
“Growing up, I always kept it really simple when it came to beauty and self-care. Since becoming a mother, I’ve learned to keep it even more simple. In the mornings, I focus on my skin and will put on light makeup if I’m heading out. Also, a few times a week, I’ll take 10 minutes out of my day to relax and do a quick face mask. It’s all about making an effort to find a balance between time with your kids and family as well as time with yourself.”
18 / 19
Natural hair expert
“I’ve always tried to keep up my self-care regime as I feel that it’s important you have structure in your life. Taking care of our physical, mental and spiritual health is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. I recall that for a short time [after having children], I didn’t prioritise my routine and what that brought was chaos and everyone suffered.”
19 / 19
“Before you have children, there’s all the time in the world for yourself. Since I had my daughter, time has become so precious. Now I have to pick between meditation and a workout, but I always have to remind myself that being the best version of myself is the most important thing [for both of us].”